Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two pillows and a phone book

Yesterday I moved my computer set-up back to my desk.

I have one of those Ikea arm chairs in my office that I have been working from recently, using a little mobile laptop table but, as great as it is, it doesn't give me room to spread out work papers or really be productive. Plus the loungy-type position, while lovely for a while, starts to make me feel lethargic after too long. Then there is the fact that getting up and out of the seat is a little taxing sometimes too, so it discourages me from getting up more often. (Which, as we all know by now, is bad, bad, bad.)

In short, I needed to re-evaluate, especially since work is really busy and I need to put the zing back in my work day.

However, a full day at my desk sent me into the stratosphere with pain. I felt it coming on throughout the day but I was so busy that I pushed it to the back of my mind and ignored it - this is something I have a tendency to do and yes, I know I need to stop; it's not helping me.

My desk is too high off the ground (although it is a standard height) and to get my chair at the right height for me to be in the proper position for my computer, my feet end up off the ground, which puts pressure on my IT band. If I move the chair back down, then my upper back starts to hurt. The chair itself - which is not a cheap chair - just doesn't seem to fit me because no matter how I adjust it, my back feels like it's working too hard to keep me upright. After 20 minutes in it, I find myself in some kind of unhealthy spine position.

Yet, I was waaaay more productive yesterday and had way more energy throughout the day, than I've had in a long time.

By the end of the day I was feeling discouraged. I either was incredibly productive at work (which I so need right now) and in pain, or I was somewhat unproductive at work and relatively out of pain. (I say relatively because I would still sit for too long in the old chair.)

I've tried looking online for some desks that sit lower or are at least adjustable in height but they are priced way out of my league - $1,300++ - and that's just for the table. On my existing desk I have a hutch, two drawers, a filing cabinet, and a 2-shelf cupboard, all of which I would have to buy something else for. Then there is the chair itself - good chairs for people with back pain run at around $800+. Financially, it's not feasible. Ok, well maybe I could swing it, but there are like 1,000 other things I would rather spend $2k on - and not all of them are frivolous.

This morning I had my second physical therapy appointment with Kyle, my new PT and so I decided to address this with him along with the problems I'm having sitting on the floor with Daisy to play and read to her. Between my desk/working position and my play time with my daughter, I've been able to determine that these are the two biggest stressors on my back - stressors that are unavoidable and non-negotiable to an extent because I need to work (to pay for all the PT sessions!) and I need to spend time with my daughter.

Kyle was awesome. He asked a ton of questions about my work station set-up and mocked it up in an office at his facility. Then he had me sit down and show him what I was currently doing. After reviewing my less-than-stellar sitch, he went off and grabbed two pillows and a phone book. He put one pillow behind my back and one under my elbows, then he placed the phone book under my feet. Hey presto! It felt good!

So now I'm sitting at my desk writing this, with bed pillows placed in various locations and foot stool under my feet. I don't think I've got it exactly right yet - some small adjustments still need to be made - but it already feels better. (And a ton cheaper than new office furniture.)

He also addressed the floor-sitting thing with Daisy and gave me some fixes, again with some bed pillows and a wall. So, if you see me running around the house with a bed pillow attached to me, you'll know why. Bed pillows are my newest BFFs.

Outside of this, my PT session went great. Kyle was impressed that the exercises he gave me had not made me sore (and I didn't miss a day of doing them - not one) and thought I was doing them well. He thought I showed good progress and good strength and expected me to be able to progress faster than his original estimations. Woot!

So, this week we got to add some REAL exercises to the mix - some rows using a band, some sumo squats, and some crunches.


Sorry, I was so excited when he said "squat" that I nearly fell over onto the mat. I almost said "Are you sure I should be doing this?" because everyone before Kyle has pretty much kept me on an exercise regimen fit for a 90 year old total hip replacement patient and had led me to believe that trying to achieve anything more was nothing more than me being in denial. So, I wanted to kiss him.

I also get to up my walking time to 25 minutes at a time AND, if I do well with the new, more aggressive exercises this week, I could even add in... GET THIS: strength training machines at the gym!

OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG. Strength training. At the gym! I can go to the gym!?

Yes, I know, calm down; I might pull something. Gotta get through this next week first.

The thing I really like about Kyle is that he's finickity for the details. He's constantly watching the finer points of my alignment and checking me. So, although he's proving to be more aggressive than previous PTs, he's also more precise. And that's what I need because, as I am beginning to realize more and more, the smallest change in posture or positioning can be the difference between getting better or inducing a flare-up. I need to learn that finickity-ness too.

So, for the first time I am adding "progress" as a label to my blog post today. How awesome is that!?

I am actually beginning to feel hope for getting better. I'm trying to keep the elation in check because I"m sure there will be slip-ups and bad days, but just to feel more positive feels good.

1 comment:

e said...




My god, this is too awesome. Keep posting DAILY updates, several times a day, about this new pt is working.

PS the word verification is bloggem

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