In spite of the title, I want to start by saying I love my physical therapy team. I hate to think where I’d be without them.
My doctor first recommended PT two years ago to help build core muscle strength and improve my posture, hoping to alleviate what was becoming chronic, rather severe back pain without resorting to surgery.
I won’t say my back is pain-free, or even as strong as Baxter’s, but 12 weeks of PT helped to the extent that back pain is not currently a regular issue, and judicious use of Icy-Hot patches when it does flare up have been sufficient. Fingers crossed.
Considering my level of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, it’s been important for me to continue with stretching exercises and walking to keep my back (and other parts) from once again becoming a debilitating issue. So far, so good, although my at-home exercise assistants are sort of hit or miss in their effectiveness.
Ronni, for example, is SUCH a big help with my floor stretches and simple “senior yoga” routines 😉. You can see how helpful she is, right?
The dachshunds work as a tag team when it comes to making sure I get sufficient exercise during the summer months – but I noticed a distinct lack of enthusiasm on both ends of the leash once winter set in. In cold weather, we ALL prefer snuggling with a warm blanket. 😉
But we were talking about physical therapy …
My walking regimen became seriously derailed last spring when a combo of planter fasciitis in both feet and painful arthritis in my right knee flared up to near biblical proportions (well, maybe not that bad …).
This didn’t stop me from participating in my favorite dog sports, but I’ll admit, it took some of the fun out of them and certainly slowed my roll.
After a six month battle, including excruciating cortisone shots and yes, more physical therapy (this time to strengthen my foot and ankle muscles/tendons/ligaments and improve my balance), my feet are finally relatively pain free.
The knee, however, is another story. X-rays don’t lie. It isn’t going to respond to anything short of surgery. 😢
Which is why my physical therapy team recently added exercises to help me build more strength in the leg muscles that will be needed during my upcoming recovery from knee replacement surgery. My left leg is going to be working extra hard for a while – we need to do what we can to make sure it’s up for the task.
So every day I find myself doing such things as marching up and down my hallway, knees high (relatively speaking), pausing with each step to balance on one foot before proceeding.
When I get tired of that, I can walk the same path while attempting back-kicks (envision trying to kick yourself in the butt with each stride forward), or pretend I’m on a narrow balance-beam as I suck in my gut, throw back my shoulders and walk heel to toe, pausing each step to rise on tippy-toes and balancing there. 🧚🏻
Sometimes I stand, enjoying the view out my bedroom window while balancing up on the balls of my feet to a count of 15, then slowly lowering to flat feet before repeating – over and over. Actually, I’ve gotten pretty good at this exercise, since it’s one I can also practice while working at my drum carder.
Of course, these exercises seem much easier at home, where I can get away with occasionally cheating – and where I don’t have 2 lb. weights strapped around my ankles. Groan!
As my December and January calendars fill with a myriad of pre and post-surgery tests, scans and other assorted appointments, I find myself becoming more anxious and wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.
Surgery is scheduled for January 17th. I’m counting on my trusted physical therapy team at Select PT in Wasilla to get me OUT of this mess in one fully functional piece – eventually. Hopefully in plenty of time for late spring nose work and barn hunt trials.
My spring and summer plans will hopefully keep me motivated to push through recovery and rehab. 🦮🚎🥏🧘🏼
In the meantime, I’m still trying to cultivate a calm and joyful Christmas spirit. Minimal decorations this year, but I set out our Christmas stockings, some shelf and window decor, my little blown-glass Christmas tree, and my old nativity scene.
Well, and the bird-feeder tree. It’s enough.