A while ago, I went to see a contortionist - that would have been the doctor who first examined me about my back. She had send, bend this way, bend that way, touch your toes, tell me when it hurts (that would be a lot and frequently). Yesterday, I went for my physical therapy consult. The PT, another contortionist, was very nice and very through and very impressed with the fact that I came in with a list of all my other ailments and previous medical (mis)adventures as well as a list of medications (with dosages) and medical allergies. (This list is WAY TOO LONG these days.) Anyway, for a hour she worked with me and pressed on my back in different places and had me bend and stretch and tell her when it hurts (often and frequently).
Finally at the end, I got this information:
1. I have two degenerating disks which cause some pain. But one of them is also bulging on the right which causes the most pain (and I needed a bunch of tests to tell me that was the source of the most pain?)
2. I have gotten weak and lazy over the past three plus years because I keep having surgery and now I have had abdominal surgery twice which messes up the muscles in your abdomen. (More rocket science - when they cut your muscles, they may not grow back the same way.) Also, these pesky operations keep interfering with my workout schedule.
3. In addition to my back issues that are causing me pain, the bulging disk is contributing to the sciatica like symptoms of tingling down my left leg which have been undiagnosable for the past two years (actually, after I had a clean EMG two years ago, the whole issue was put on the back burner while I was in treatment). So PT will include my back on the right side and my left leg.
4. I am out of alignment in my lower back - she didn't want to sound like a chiropractor - but there are some alignment issues going on as well.
5. I should be careful in what I do for the next few weeks as we see how PT helps. This means only certain machines at the gym, no yoga (even though I bought a new mat so I could go to classes), and no skiing (in case of falls or injuries). I didn't ask about anything else because I didn't want to be told about more things I can't do - if I don't ask, they can't tell me no and if it doesn't hurt why not. Of course she did say I should continue my daily walk (every one always tells me that - its kind of like the dentist telling you to floss all the time).
6. Finally, (this kind of surprised me but not really) she asked specifically when I am going back to see my hematologist/oncologist and suggested strongly that I bring up all my back issues to him to make sure that there are no cancer things going on. I am going to see him a week from Monday and will be sure to bring it up. In the meantime, now I have something new to stress about.
After my visit with her making me bend and pushing on different parts of my back, my back hurt for most of the rest of the day (funny!) I start PT next week and will go for four or five weeks, twice a week, and then we will reevaluate how I am doing. One note was she did ask about how much lifting and carrying I do around the house. I was happy to tell her that other than lifting up our delicate, little (16 lb lard butt) cat, I have successfully delegated most lifting and carrying to Walter and have successfully convinced him I am incapable of shoveling snow. She gave him lots of brownie points for that.
Today, I have another overscheduled day - walk, work from home, hair cut (yes, its getting too long), and go to work - and I might have to work until 9 pm. I think I also have to fold laundry.