Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Physical Therapy: Chapter 3

The good news out of this morning's physical therapy appointment with Cathy: my sacro-iliac joint once again stayed in place on its own for a full week, and my long-forgotten transverse abdominus muscle, after a week of me attempting to reacquaint my brain with it, appears to be more in play when I lift my legs while lying down.

So....I have graduated to some harder exercises (though I do have to continue with last week's as well). The new exercises include:

1. Sitting Alternating Leg Raises on the Swiss Ball
Cathy, in demonstrating this, sat right down on the ball, knees bent and back ramrod straight, and lifted each bent knee in turn without any sideways movement or any slumping at all. Me? I sat down and could not get ONE foot, or even a heel alone, off the ground without leaning to the side. So while that deep ab muscle is waking up, it's still pretty sleepy and not ready to do its job. I asked Cathy why I can do a two-minute plank but not this. She said most abs programs emphasize the "high-load" muscles but entirely ignore these deeper muscles and the subtle movements they require.

I'd be really curious to hear from those of you who have a ball at home and can try this. I'm betting most of you will wonder what the big deal is, but there may be some of you who (like me) find this hard. Cathy told me she once treated a professional triathlete with back pain who was so frustrated at not being able to do this that she said, rudely, to Cathy: "YOU can do this. Why can't I?" Cathy apparently is a horsewoman and keeping her abs very strong and stable matters a lot. Tough for even a fit Boulder triathlete (with a weak transverse) to compete with that!

2. Rowing on the Swiss Ball with a "Theraband"--arms bent and then arms straight
3. Biceps curls on the Swiss Ball with a "Theraband"
Again, the emphasis is on straight posture, not slumping, keeping those abs engaged (and therefore my angry back relaxed).

4. Standing Leg Swings
This one is for the glutes. Stand on one leg, holding either a pole or a counter for support, and do leg swings to the side with the opposite leg. On the left side, I could not do this without leaning left. The object is to get to where I can stand and do the lifts with my body straight and tall, feeling it in, as Cathy says in her Australian accent, my "bum."

After she showed me these exercises, I got back on the table for some more needling (the QL and piriformis, along with the sacrum, are still sore, though much better than last week). She got right into the worst part of my back this time, and it already feels better. Tomorrow I have another massage with Kate. And I'm still in the belt. Wearing the belt has eliminated my hamstring pain, and it makes all of my pants feel artificially tight, which is helping me rein in the eating (seriously!). However, I'll be glad when I can start going without it for periods of time, because I also have a permanent wedgie whenever it's on.

Tomorrow is my "on" day with my friend the recumbent bike. I'd really like to go longer than 30 minutes for these sessions, but I'm going to stick to that limit for another week before, depending on how my back is after another week of TLC, asking next week for either more frequent outings or longer sessions on it. Or both. Wouldn't both be awesome?

Thanks to the intervals I've been doing (and some good tunes on my iPod), I'm finding the bike much less boring than I did at first. I do a lot of visualization there. During the fast intervals, I like to pretend I'm Desiree Davila hanging on in the Boston Marathon, picking off Kenyons (hey, a girl can dream!). I also like to picture the Boston finish line, which I know many of you will be crossing very soon (luckies!). But I also just imagine myself running, not particularly fast or particularly slow, just running with the wind in my hair, no pain in my back, no pain at all in fact but instead the pleasure of forward motion, freedom, suppleness of limb, the best kind of solitude, good health and a quiet mind.

It *will* happen for me.

22 comments:

  1. BostonboundbrunetteMarch 20, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I am glad that you have some good news to report.  I am also keeping myself busy with the iPod and the same thoughts. Yes, it will happen for you!!  You are helping me get through this too.  Thank You!

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  2. Cathy sounds like a wizard!!! Slowly, slowly, little monkey!!!

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  3. Yes, it will happen!  Never doubt it for a moment.

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  4. imagine yourself crossing the finish line with a BQ time on your garmin because it is going to happen soon!!!!

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  5. All this hard work IS going to pay off!! My husband was just telling me how he thinks that planks aren't that great of an exercise. I guess he's right- we all need to do a variety. 

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  6. Ok, so I just tried the ball thing and it was much harder than it sounded! I could do it (at least, I don't think I was leaning), but I couldn't get my left leg up much.

    I'm glad to hear you're seeing progress! :) And your visualizations are MUCH more productive than mine on the bike. Well, I guess looking at the odometer in desperation and making wild bargains with myself to keep pedaling might not qualify as visualization. If anything, I'm picturing myself collapsing and dying. Maybe I should try it your way... :)

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  7. Sorry you have to do all this but that running obsession got you here. What's that saying "moderation"in all things." But do know this is what makes you tick.

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  8. Yes, it will happen for you!  You are doing a great job tackling this head on instead of letting things get worse.  Although I still think I'm afraid of needling.  Yeesh.

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  9. It will happen for you! Yes it will and so happy to see the progress!

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  10. This makes me want to go get a ball to see how I'd do. It sounds like you are really making good progress though which is reassuring I'm sure.

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  11. Sounds like you have an awesome PT.  I love that story about the triathlete that was annoyed that Cathy could do something she couldn't do. 

    That's typical Boulder - where people are competitive about everything.  I have a (former) friend that is uber competitive - I once found out that she was upset after every mtn bike ride that I was always able to get to the whatever restaurant we chose for food/drinks before she did.   Funny thing is - I never knew we were "racing to the restaurant".   I ended up distancing myself from her because it was always - 'who could ride the faster' 'who could eat the most' 'who had the dirtest toenails', etc. 

    You sound like you are in good spirits and have a great PT to get you to run pain free.   Sounds like progress...and the days are ticking by!!!

    enjoy your ON day tomorrow.  :)

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  12. oh btw - a 'permanent wedgie" doesn't sound like fun - hopefully you'll be done with that thing SOON!

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  13. Hey, sounds like progress is being made!!!  Keeping that SI joint in for over a week is HUGE girl!  I am now doing my old PT exercises and glute work daily again (I had fallen off the wagon) and am no longer wearing that stupid belt for running.  Yay!  It will happen for you Terzah (or shall I say Desiree?), just hang in there.  

    P.S. - My daughter is going back to Missouri next week during spring break and is taunting me that she will get to eat Shakespeares pizza.  GRRRR.  

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  14. So glad you're making progress!  Now I'm really curious about those moves on the ball... like you, I can handle a 2 min plank but I have no idea if I engage the deeper muscles.  I'll have to try them.  Cathy sounds awesome!

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  15. You are doing very well with all this physical therapy.  Great job!

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  16. Congrats on graduating to the harder exercises!  I'm glad the bike intervals have made the bike less boring too!  Hopefully next week you get cleared for even more!

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  17. Graduation means progress! 

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  18. not one doubt
    it WILL happen
    for sure
    you will see
    I repeat: take a look on the right side,..gal running with black hat and SMILING that is YOU. look at that perfect landing also..never noticed that before...:)!

    I am a fan of Cathy!!! and you of course!

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  19.  Okay, so I can kind of do the leg raise, but I'm not entirely sure I'm doing it correctly.  There isn't any chance you'll do a vlog on these exercises, is there? :)

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  20. Sounds like things are going in the right direction w/ PT! I love your visualizations you describe. That's the perfect thing to do when the bike (or even TM or running path) starts feeling mundane. Good work. :-)

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  21. Happy Graduation!!  :)  Progress is a good thing, despite how slow it must feel sometimes.  Hang in there girl...you are right, it WILL happen!

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  22. You will run very soon and I cannot wait for reading a post about it.
    I am very happy for your progress.

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