Today was my appointment with my newest Physical Therapist, remember the guy I talked about in a previous entry, Back on the Bandwagon?
After evaluating all the usual stuff - strength, flexibility, range-of-motion, and stability - he told me that I have 3 out of the 4 licked already. As we already knew, my flexibility and range of motion are above average. What's missing is is stability, particularly in my pelvis and SI. (Go figure.) The simplest explanation is usually the best one and I like the way he made it sound. Logical. And it explains why I'm so frustrated: I'm 75% there but trying to achieve that last 25% is killing me!
Now, this may not sound any different from the previous diagnosis from the last *new* physical therapist and, in many ways, it's not. But there is a difference to me and it's subtle. The previous PT addressed my issues as a disability that I have to live with and mind. New Guy addressed my issues as a problem with a solution and an action plan to return to fitness. It probably comes as no surprise to you if you know anything about me, that this approach suits me much better.
This doesn't mean that I'm off to train with Olympians next week or anything. Far from it. In fact, New Guy is actually approaching my problems even more conservatively than the previous PT, to begin with. To move forward I am actually going to move back. Waaaaay back.
Up until now, my PT exercises consisted of core and trunk stability on an exercise ball. All the right prescription in essence but New Guy reckons that part of the problem is that, if we're on a 10 step program, she started me off on step #2 or #3. On New Guy's plan there is no ball and no balancing for me, not even sitting or kneeling or even really coming up off the floor. All my exercises are floor exercises with minimal range of motion and 90% of my body in contact with the floor at all times.
So it seems the reason why I was only feeling a 30% benefit from the old plan was because I had actually started to run before I could walk, or more aptly for my current situation, stand before I could kneel. I was kinda doing the right things but my body wasn't really ready for them yet, resulting in me fighting with my instability and having continued flare-ups each time I tried to step-up the routine.
While we're working on stabilizing my hyper-flexible pelvic girdle, I have to wear an SI belt almost 24/7. He has one on order so I'm not exactly sure what it's going to be like but I did a quick Google search and found this: http://www.amazon.com/Breg-BOA-Sacro-Illiac-Belt/dp/B001JJRFUY. So I'm guessing it's going to be something similar - SEXY! In the meantime, he showed me how to use my yoga strap to achieve something approximating the same thing.
We also addressed the fact that I have a 20lbs (almost) 14 month old. This is a problem. Picking up Missy and doing all those mommy-type things is my biggest stressor and, he thinks, one of the biggest reasons why I'm not getting better faster. Whenever possible, I have to avoid picking her up. (Can I get a "Yeah, right!" from all the mothers out there?) When I do pick her up I have to do it in a certain way, with multiple steps and a conscious set of movements and contractions. He knows this isn't always practical and that I'm going to slip up. The realistic goal is to lessen the amount of stressing actions.
Obviously, this also counts out 90% of housework right now. No vacuuming, no making the bed, picking things up off the floor is now a 5-step process (and so tidying up is an ordeal that will take 10x as long as normal). There is also no walking any more than ten minutes at a time, no yoga, no other physical activities other than the exercises he has provided.
Yikes, I know, it's a lot of limitations. BUT he said that he expects me to do well, to progress and to be able to return to an active lifestyle IF I follow his directions diligently (which I plan to do.)
Long term prognosis: Walking will be a YES; Strength training will be a YES; Hiking will be a YES; Biking will be a YES; Swimming will be a YES. Yoga, unfortunately, will be a maybe. Best case scenario, it will be the last thing we add back into my routine because of the stretching and the twisting and the balancing. Many people who have SI joint issues are tight and/or stuck, so yoga can be just the thing for helping them regain mobility in the joint. However my problem is the complete opposite, so yoga only exacerbates it. Finally, running is a no-no forever. Not that I ever was a fan of running to begin with. I'm sure I'll be able to chase Daisy around recreationally but jumping on a treadmill or deciding to add jogging into my fitness routine are off the cards, which is ok with me; just as long as I can avoid being hit by a car if I need to make it to the other side of the street in a hurry.
In the short term, I'm going to have to ask for and accept help. Hubby has to help more around the house and with Daisy, not that he doesn't already but the "It's ok, I've got it" comment needs to leave my vocabulary for now and I'll just have to accept that certain things won't get done (not like they really are right now anyway) because there are only 24 hours a day and Hubby works ten of them already. Bottom line, I want this to work. I want to get better. If that means some short-term limitations, then so be it.
On a somewhat separate note: Have you noticed that the #1 post topic on the right there is "pain"? That's pretty sad. Hopefully, in a few months from now, something more positive will take its place. I vote for: PROGRESS.