Tag Archives: physical therapy

Posture

Sarah called me the other day and one of the things she had to say was that she felt my height was not what it used to be. I’ve been interpreting that as a posture issue but she made it clear that she was worried that I might be headed down the same road as Dad.

Medical terms confuse me so I never can remember if kiphosis is the correct term for his condition or if it’s just osteoporosis. Many people have osteoporosis, I think, and don’t exhibit his symptoms. He has lost at least a foot in height in the last ten years or so. He’s badly bent over now.

Anyway, Sarah said that she thought I’ve lost some height in the last year and wanted to encourage me to do what ever I could to prevent the same thing happening to me as happened to Dad. There is some thought in the family that he had the opportunity to take action and didn’t

I haven’t had good posture for a long time, but I felt that there were a number of reasons for that. One is that I’ve never felt comfortable talking to people from a height. Since I’m taller than most other people, I find that I stoop to try to get to the eye level of whoever I’m talking to. Another is self confidence. Perhaps these are related. I think I often try to be inconspicuous. Put down here in writing it sounds really dumb – a 6′ 2″, 200 lb guy trying to be inconspicuous – get real!

One of the things I always liked while being with Zach was not having the excuse of stooping to talk to him. He didn’t stoop to me and I had to stand up straight to talk at him.

I had to admit to Sarah that I hadn’t been doing the exercises I had started with my physical therapy last year. I promised to get going on them again. Self confidence doesn’t come from a magic pill, so I will just continue to try to get good sleep and keep my work load low so I don’t feel beaten down.

Physical therapy & exercise

I had to look it up: I started physical therapy on June 3rd, not even a month ago. Why was I in PT? I had noticed for some months how my right foot was dragging a little more than it had before. I was concerned because that was the leg that had the numbness stemming from the herniated discs. More to the point, it was my right big toe that had no feeling. Kind of important for walking, I think. I mentioned it to my regular doctor who sent me to PT. She didn’t feel there was any need for MRIs or the like to check the discs.

OK, whatever. PT was one of the first things suggested (by a different doctor) back in those dark days of 2011. I dutifully went to several sessions but never felt it was doing much good. Of course I was in quite a bit of pain at that time, to the extent that I was off work for two months.

In the end, massive doses of ibuprofen smoothed things out & ever since, ibuprofen has been my drug of choice for back pain. I’ve mentioned my ibuprofen use to every doctor I’ve seen since then and they all said the amounts I am taking are no problem. (I’m not taking anywhere close to the maximum any more.)

So what do I do in physical therapy? The sessions at the clinic are mostly review. I have simple exercises to do at home every day that take about 5 minutes. A couple of stretches, some leg lifts; that’s it. Oh, I’m supposed to do some simple stretches throughout my day if I think of it.

Why is this all newsworthy? Because for some reason I have needed much less ibuprofen in the last two weeks than any two week period since 2011. I don’t imagine it’s a miracle cure; I have to keep up with the exercises, I’m sure, and no one is saying my herniated discs will go away.

But it’s heartening. My relationship with exercise has been interesting over the years. As a teen and young adult, I was very active riding my bike and playing sports. I never felt the need to do exercise for exercise sake.

As work became more time consuming and I got married and started a family, biking and playing baseball fell away from my common activities. I remember at one point rationalizing that I got enough exercise on the job so I didn’t have to do it any other time. In the last 15 or 20 years it’s just been habit.

I think Zach was still at OSU when he told me he was doing yoga. He was never judgmental, but I thought I would try it and bought a starter kit. It’s still in its box. One of these days . . .