Got your attention? Not what you’re thinking, though I’m all for asking for what you like in the bedroom, as well.
It’s about asking for physical therapy. I’ve been chatting on Facebook with the amazing Emma Lai, who has struggled for years with back pain and joint pain, and finally got referred to a physical therapist, where she learned there is actually something she can do that will be effective. Watch for an upcoming blog from her in these pages, and read her interesting journey thus far in this Interview from last April.
Chatting with Emma got me thinking: How did I learn I had to ask for physical therapy?
It shouldn’t have to happen. Doctors, after all, study anatomy, including all those tendons, muscle groups, and how they’re linked up to each other and to our skeletons. Doctors ought to know. Somehow, though, the links get trained out of them, and they’re taught to think in terms of surgery or drugs.
Here’s the scenario, about fifteen years ago. At that time, hubs and I lived on forty acres of tamarack woods in northern Minnesota, not far from the Boundary waters. There’s a LOT of winter in those lands, and if you want to stay active, you have to be outdoors in it. As soon as the snow was deep enough, we’d follow the deer trails on our snowshoes and tramp out a couple miles of trail for our cross country skis. (in case you’re wondering, yes, humans are much taller than deer, and we worked each summer on keeping the branches trimmed so we could navigate). That way we could ski from mid November till sometime in March or maybe even April, some years.
This probably happened as the weather was beginning to enter the cycle of melt and freeze in late winter. I slipped and slid on my ski, tried too hard not to fall, and pulled a hamstring. F.Y.I., a pulled hamstring is serious enough to take an Olympic athlete out of competition. Just saying. It hurt like the blazes. Hubs helped me hobble back to the house, where I grabbed the crutches left over from a son’s knee injury and managed to get around the first floor okay for a day or two.
It didn’t get any better, so I went to the doctor. I have a vivid memory of standing in front of her as she looked up from whatever it was she’d been doing to examine me. Her diagnosis? “Yup, you’ve pulled something.” She went on to suggest pain control medications, rest, and avoiding stairs. In a two story house.
Tried that for two or three days, with no improvement. Then I remembered the very useful physical therapy hubs had benefited from when he twisted his knee downhill skiing, so I called the clinic back and asked for a referral to PT, which they granted.
Like Emma, I learned what to do to strengthen the muscle groups around the hamstring, and what exercises to avoid, at least until it healed. It took a long time. I still carried a special seat cushion as long as two years after the injury, but have no after effects now.
The best consequence of this saga? A very valuable lesson: If physical therapy isn’t offered, ask for it. Even if the referral isn’t given, there’s a lot of information on line. In the last year, I’ve successfully rehabbed a strained knee joint, based on what hubs and I had already learned from his knee therapy and what I was able to find on line. I can go dancing again with the best of them.
I’m not one to sit around and just accept the fate that’s handed me, if I have any options. Sometimes there’s nothing we can control, but if we can, I want to find it and tackle it with my best effort. If it’s not offered to you, ask for it.
Meanwhile, have fun, and Stay Sexy.