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PT makes things worse for me

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Old 01-31-2005, 04:14 PM   #1
Mr. Biswas
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Mr. Biswas HB User
PT makes things worse for me

After weeks of neglecting physical therapy due to pain, I started up on my own again. Two days worth and I woke up this morning stiffer and in more pain than I'd had in a quite a while.

My regimen consists of stretching (chiefly of the hamstring) and then the following (I don't know of any terms to describe these):

--trunk lifts (laying flat on my stomach on the ground, I lift up my torso as much as possible, with the lift completely generated by my torso; hands at side); three sets of 15
--laying flat on my stomach on the ground, I lift my left arm and right leg up at the same time, and then vice versa (three sets of 20)
--ab work (pain-free by using an exercise ball)

The ab stuff doesn't bother me, but the other things do.

I've gone back and forth with this--is there a time when a stronger trunk can do no more good? There must be limits, right?

Anyway, can some of you share what PT exercises you've instructed to do? (My condition is a bulging disc at L4-L5.)

Thanks a lot.

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Old 01-31-2005, 04:23 PM   #2
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fibrolady HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Hello - I can totally relate. My injuries are both cervical (neck) and lower back and I have tried PT several different times. Usually, at the request of a new doctor. Although I could do a few of the exercises pain-free, most of the time I ended up in worse pain after the PT sessions. So I would quit. I've suffered since 1993 and I now feel comfortable in telling the doctor I've tried PT on many different ocassions and have not benefited by it. I think it's the Fibromyalgia that keeps me from benefiting from PT. If PT is suggested now, I just say no thanks.

Old 01-31-2005, 04:34 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Hull, East Yorkshire, England
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alm721 HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Hi there, not sure about the exercises you're doing but it seems like they're too much for you at the minute. If they're causing you pain then don't do them!
I've had fusion at l4/5 after having that disc out due to prolapse. I've also recently had a discetomy at L5/s1. A no time have I been told to do exercises similar to your's.
I've found the Mackenzie back exercises to be good they are quite gentle and put less strain on the back.
Walking when you feel up to it will help but I would be careful with the sit up type exercises.
I was refered to PT before my 1st surgery, I also saw a chiropracter and an oseteopath. None of these helped and often I felt significantly worse afterwards. (Not the usual soreness you get for a day or two).
I was later told that the disc was completely out and was sticking on my spinal cord, which was why PT often made it worse as it was just aggrevating it all the time.
I'm not saying that this is your problem as I was almost on my knees by this point, but just trying to point out the PT is not always the best thing to do and if it is causing you a lot of pain I would stop and go back to your doctor for advice.
Kind regards

Old 01-31-2005, 09:13 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Losy HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

I have become a big fan of hydro therapy - exercising in water. I hav always been told if it hurts dont do it andn clearly your exercises are aggrevating your back. In a book i recently read the exercises you are describing were in the advanced or intermediate section. I would explore less strenuos exercises with the view to building up to the ones you r referring to

good luck


Old 02-01-2005, 02:32 PM   #5
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songer99 HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Here are some PT exercises I was instructed to do:
1) Walking on treadmill, eventually to light jogging, gradually faster. At first I had to hold onto the handles for support. This was to help me lose weight. I think I started with 15 minutes walking and now I'm up to 30 minutes of jogging.
2) sit-ups. first started with basically just lifting the neck and flexing stomach muscles, then as I got stronger I did more traditional "crunches". The "ab" machine at most gyms helps focus the exercise to your abs and take pressure off your back.
3) pelvic rocking - on hands and knees; rounding and straightening back. don't remember sets and reps.
4) same left arm/right leg alternating thing
5) hamstring stretches, by lying on ground and lifting leg up with a band
6) "praying" stretch - on knees, sit butt down to your feet, bend down forward forehead to the ground and reach forward as far as you feel comfortable. For some reason this one really helped me, and I still do this when my back gets tight.
7) Lying on stomach and pressing torso up with my arms, to arch my back. Hold for 10-15 seconds at a time. This one actually tightened up my back muscles, and I didn't feel comfortable pushing up too high, so I did this one less often.
8) Lower back, hamstring, "side of leg" massage. ALWAYS felt better after this.
9) Ice and heat therapy (At PT appointments, they used that deep-heat instrument, I forget what it's called now)

I agree with previous posts of not doing anything that worsens your symptoms. And I don't know which of these, if any, helped my symptoms the most. You also may want to run these by your doctor before doing them. If I think of more exercises I'll post them.

Also wanted to mention that I was always had back stiffness when I woke up in the morning. I still feel back stiffness when I wake up, but it is MUCH better after getting a good mattress. You may want to explore that too if you haven't already. I ponied up the money and got a high-quality harder mattress (but not too hard) with a pillow top, and it has been better.

Good luck.

Old 02-01-2005, 11:24 PM   #6
lori j
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lori j HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Tried to answer you last nite, but board was acting up. I have found that some pt exercises that help one area, also irritate another area of my back. I did the McKenzie press-ups for a lumbar disc & it helped 100%, but the pressups irritated my SI joint. When we have multiple areas of the back involved, it's really hard for PT to help if exercises for one area, irritate another. That is my catch 22!!!

Old 02-04-2005, 07:27 PM   #7
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Jillians HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Don't feel bad. I did several different physical therapies after my surgery. They would help initially, but then put me in a world of pain. The physical therapists pushed me too hard and would not believe that I could not perform certain exercises because I knew they would irritate my back. Most physical therapists do not know enough about back injuries (believe it or not) to really do what they are doing. Ok maybe sports of muscle injuries, but not patients who have had back surgery. My surgeon made me aware of this because he does not reccommend physical therapy at all. He wants his patients to walk daily and take it easy. You know your body. Do not do exercises or stretches you are sure will aggravate your back. I cannot even take a walk without being in pain and if I try to stretch it is a whole world of hurt for me. Knowing your limits is key here and standing up for yourself when someone wants to push you too hard, they can and will harm you...hence the word disability...JILL

Old 02-04-2005, 08:50 PM   #8
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beachgirl01 HB User
Re: PT makes things worse for me

Hi there,
I have a couple exercises on top of the ones that have already been mentioned.
Lay on your back lift your left knee up, take your right hand and push it into your knee. The important thing to remember is to not bring your knee as close to you as possible, it has to be a stretch, you should really be able to feel it in your tummy.
Calf raises
Grab a belt - Lay on your back, place the belt in both hands and wrap it under your foot. Then raise your leg in the air as high as you can.
Hope that helps. My therapist usually gives me more to do on a regular basis so when I get more I will share with you. Good luck. Kristy.

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