Monday, August 24, 2015

Back Update: My Physical Therapy Evaluation

I finally had my first physical therapy appointment today!  I was really excited to go and the appointment went really well.  I didn't exactly get great news about my back, but I am very hopeful that my physical therapist will be able to give me positive results.  I am seeing Sue McClain, who brands herself as a both a physical therapist and a mobility coach.  She also coaches CrossFit, so I really feel like she is a great fit for me.  She came highly recommended by a bunch of people at my gym.

So apparently, when I bend over my spine isn't curling like it's supposed to, it's just hinging at one point which is where I'm experiencing all the pain.  My hips and IT bands are extremely tight too, which isn't really helping anything.  I also need to further refine some of my lifting techniques.

I haven't gone to the gym in almost 3 weeks and I'm not allowed to for another week.  My homework is to do 10-15 push aways every two hours.  A "push away" is when you lay on your stomach, place your hands on the ground in front of your shoulders, and push your upper body up towards the ceiling.  I can do more if my back hurts.  If it doesn't feel good, I'll do less.  I'm not allowed to bend over.  No slouching.  The average person bends their body forward, bringing their shoulders closer to their knees, around 4,000 times per day.  Yikes.  I will be listening to my body, taking notice of my pain and how it changes throughout the day.

If I do my homework diligently, it will help Sue to determine the best treatment plan for me.  It will also potentially speed up the process.  First we're going to make sure my spine is actually ok by letting it heal, then we will work on mobilizing my lower back, and last we will focus on correcting some of my technical issues.  I'm sure we'll be working on opening up my hips on the way too.

I'm slightly scared of how much I'm going to pay for this thanks to my high deductible health insurance plan, but I know it will be worth it.  I turn 29 on Monday, I'm too young to suffer from chronic back pain.  I've been dealing with this on and off for over 5 years and I'm so happy to actually work on correcting the issue!

Have you ever done PT before?  What was your experience?


  1. PT for my wrists sucked. It started after shoveling one too many snowstorms away this past winter. First was just waiting for my wrists to heal enough to start building strength. During that time, I lost strength and so lots more activities hurt or were difficult than they used to. Eventually, I stopped seeing that therapist because she said she couldn't do anything more for me, that we just had to find a way to build strength without me hurting myself. I do wrist curls at home and my wrists are almost back to normal, but can get set back easily.

    Now I'm doing PT for my shoulders, because somewhere along the way, I messed those up. The new PT says that my rotator cuffs are loose. I like this PT a lot better than the person I saw for my wrists. The exercises are noticeably helping, though I'm still having a lot of tightness on the right side of my neck. We're slowing down my visits now (it's been about a month) and I'm hoping my shoulders will be better than ever very soon. I did a pilates workout at home yesterday though and my right shoulder kept clunking into place and now it hurts :(

    1. Wow, sounds rough! I definitely think you have very different PT experiences depending on your therapist. Glad you had a better experience the second time. I hope your shoulder feels better soon.

  2. Good luck with your PT!! I had visited one once, but it wasn't really serious. Best of luck :)

  3. I've been to PT twice, once for my bum hamstring and again when I messed my neck up last winter falling asleep in a rocking chair holding a baby one too many times. The best part for me was finding out how my body actually works and why it wasn't working right. For my hamstring, I always thought it was due to an old high school injury that never healed. Nope, it was basically caused by sitting at an office job 12 hours a day then like an idiot jumping up and training for half marathons with tight hips and quads with no warm-up, stretch, or cool down. Once I started stretching and doing strength training the pain went away, and they also showed me some handy massage techniques, too.

    It sounds like you have a good like-minded therapist. Hope it all goes well for you!


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