Pain Management Program day 22

A big day.

Today was a really full day for me. My schedule was completely full plus I still had to get my exercises done. My walk is up to 26 minutes and I’m up to 5 flights of stairs. Both twice a day. Then I also have 20 minutes on the bike. By the end of the day I was beat. I came back to my room and basically collapsed. This is the type of day I don’t want to have in the next few weeks so I’ll plan so that I’ll only do the activities that will also give adequate time to do exercise and relaxation.

I had a session with my PT today. It amazes me how she starts the evaluation with very soft touch at the top of the head, on the shoulders and down the sides of the chest. It’s as if she was hardly touching me. For the life of me I don’t get how she can tell anything. But I know she can. I can tell by the way my body has responded in the last 3 weeks. I have flexibility in the hips and lower back and my shoulders slide back and forth easily. I am still having problems with raising my arms over my head. She says it’s due to chronic stiffness around my sternum and ribs. She has given me more stretches to specifically work that area but indicated that these may be areas that will always be tough for me to get moving.

Later in the day we had a lesson on exercising at home. We discussed the different types of people that are available to help us with exercise, their expertise/certification and what some of the deficiencies there may be in their knowledge or experience. Especially around the area of chronic pain and activity pacing. It is far more likely that medical doctors are trained to use intervening methods such as medicines or surgery. Personal trainers may know muscles and how to work them or they can teach us how to use the equipment. Both of these professions have their place but people with chronic pain need different types of support. The thing we need to focus on is that we now have the tools to make our life better. First we look at exercising for flexibility, then endurance, coordination and finally strength. The elasticity and length of our muscles is the first best defense against our pain. Then follows the rest. We will be our own best advocate, we can get input from our physical therapist and others who are in our life but in the end it will be our responsibility.

At the start of the four weeks we completed a video tape session that took us through a series of activities including walking around a mat, sitting in a chair, standing on one leg and stretching exercises. I know from the graduation of the last class that this video is compared to one at the end of the program to show and make a record of our progress. So we finished our day today with our discharge video. One of the things I laughed at myself on today was the standing on one leg. Over the last three weeks I’ve actually become very bad at it. I think with all my joints getting loosened up, my body doesn’t quite know how to handle it.

So there’s three more days to go. I’ve really enjoyed this but I’m ready to go.

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