Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Just Call Me Gumby
Yesterday I went for my first real PT treatment. After discovering that my copay is $20 (Gasp), I was met by "Noonan" or whatever the heck PT guy's name is. Seriously, it's something like that, and I should be able to remember it, but of course I don't. So I'll just call him PT Guy for now. PT Guy and I headed into the PT treatment room which is about the size of the trunk of a Cadillac. The room is large enough to hold lots of bags of groceries, but barely big enough to hold me and PT Guy. OK, I'm lying, but it was a small room. So PT Guy has me lay down on my back on the PT table, which is 6 feet long, and I'm 6 feet 2 inches tall. So I laid (lie?) there with my heels hanging over the edge of the table, and he tells me to get comfortable, which meant put the two ridiculously thin pillows under my head, and lie there with my heels still hanging over the edge of the table. He then proceeds to tell me the treatment plan. First, ultrasound heat around my groin area, followed by massaging of the groin area, followed by stretching. Now I'm freaking out because I'm not looking forward to PT Guy massaging my groin area. No explanation required. He then instructs me to unbuckle my belt and unfasten my pants so he can put this cold gel on me before he does the ultrasound treatment. He covers my groin area with a towel, and proceeds to use the ultrasound treatment to...well let's let ehow.com explain how it works: Use Ultrasound Therapy to Relieve Pain
Step 1: Recognize the benefits of ultrasound therapy. Increased circulation and decreased inflammation are two healthy advantages of this method of physical therapy.
Step 2: Treat injured tissue with high frequency sound waves. Sound waves are used to penetrate specific muscle areas, causing internal warming to the area. As a result, tight muscles become relaxed, providing relief from pain.
Step 3: Understand that the use of ultrasound increases the blood flow to the affected area thus allowing the proteins in the blood to repair themselves. This is ideal for soft tissue injuries.
Sounds great, huh? Well, apart from the weird pulsating sensation that I felt, and the warmth, it was indeed great. Great until PT Guy performed the next step: The deep kneading of the groin area. (Please note I'm saying the groin AREA, not the groin) OMG, it was torture. After about 5 minutes, I had enough, and thankfully he was finished. I felt some pain, but it was good pain. He followed that with what I will call the "Gumby" moves. The Gumby moves involved stretching my legs in every conceivable direction while asking me if I felt any pain. It was pretty much one extreme or the other, depending on which way he gumby'd me. It made me realize that I still have a long way to go to gain better flexibility. Before leaving, PT Guy showed me two simple stretches I can do at home. Since they're not too difficult or painful, I know I'll be doing them as instructed. I didn't bother to ask him whether I'll be able to run in the NY City Half Marathon on March 21st. Right now I'm taking it slowly and easy, one session at a time. I'm trying to be patient and look at the big picture, where I'm a more flexible and stronger runner. At least that's what I'm telling myself right now to ease the pain of not being able to run.