Who knows what made the difference between Monday and Wednesday? Who knows if it was anything I changed that recently or just accumulative effects of everything I've been doing over the last two weeks.
All I can tell you is what changed:
- On Monday, at my doctor's appointment, he did some osteopathic manipulation on me, cracking my lumbar and hip areas. Not as much as the previous time and I didn't feel any immediate relief, but who knows?
- Doc also gave me a different anti-inflammatory. I was taking plain-ole Ibuprofen in prescription strength (600mg) before and I have been taking that, in one dose or another, for many years for headaches, aches, and pains. Instead I'm now taking an NSAID that is typically prescribed for arthritis patients, Meloxicam.
- I started sitting less at my chair in my office and just less overall. What I discovered was that standing wasn't a whole lot better, either. My back got really tired really fast and I felt as though I was going out of alignment big-time; I would end up standing with all my weight on my good leg and then that hip would start to hurt. Walking around and sitting or laying down periodically seemed to help overall. Basically, not doing anything for too long seems to be the key.
- I've also been cutting back on caffeine and sugar. I've gone down to only one sugar in my coffee and am trying to only have one cup of coffee in the morning. When I was pregnant I only drank one cup in the morning and, in the first 6-7 months of my pregnancy, my hip symptoms all-but went away. I have no idea if this has anything to do with anything, although I do know that sugar and caffeine can be inflammatory.
Any one of these things could be the difference... or not. It's so hard to tell, especially when I am personally not feeling any improvement from the pain and tightness side. In fact, I would say that, without the ability to stretch things out or get massage, I have felt tighter and more pain overall. Not that my pain is a 7 out of 10 or anything but the things I could previously alleviate with self treatment, I can no longer affect, so they persist.
I have been keeping a pain journal but it has only served to confuse me more about what may be making a difference and what may not because the same thing on two different days can produce different results. Plus, my pain is often diffuse, varies throughout the day, and can present differently - as burning, as tweaking, as stabbing/acute, as sticking/popping/clicking, or as aching - in different areas, at different times. There are some constants, of course, but I can't say I've felt any positive improvements in any of them; as I said, I'm actually feeling a bit worse.
I'll spare you the details but my PT has an educated explanation for everything that is happening to me (including the wild fluctuations in case/effect and pain) and so I still have confidence that I am getting the best possible care. So, the journey continues. I'm doing as I'm told: doing the exercises, doing the icing, doing the resting, doing the journaling, doing the change in body mechanics, doing the NSAIDs... I just have to keep in mind that I'm trying to undo possibly 4.5 years of misdiagnosis, wrong treatments, and bad behaviors.
As I said to a friend recently however, hope without proof or progress is hard. At least this little budge in my inflammation is a positive sign we may be on the right track.