Today was the day I started physical therapy. All I gotta say is that right now, OUCH!
It wasn’t really too intense, since it was the initial eval session. But man I’m hurting now. My knee is wicked bad at the moment. So much so that I’m dragging my leg around like a dead weight. And it sucks. But it’ll get me that MRI that I need for my “official” diagnosis.
Until then, after working me over today and doing my eval, her working theory at the moment is that the knee pain is a symptom of a sciatic nerve issue. Going over my medical history with me, she’s leaning heavily on that idea given that the knee issue came on suddenly without a trigger or accident. I literally woke up one morning, went to get out of bed, and couldn’t walk. I do have a rather long history of back pain which we currently attribute to starting during my middle school years. Since age 12, I’ve had lower back problems. Sudden spasms that leave me bent over and unable to straighten back out until it’s over. Sometimes locking up my back completely to where I have to use heat + some form of massage to get it to unlock and allow me to straighten back up. That, too, came on suddenly without any triggering injury. However, at that age I was in middle school. My teachers required us to carry all of our books to and from school. The only breaks we had to go to our locker were before classes, lunch time, and right before going home. If you were fast enough to get to your locker, then get all the way across the school to the bus loading area that is. So I carried on average 20-50 pounds on my back 5 days a week for 180-ish days a year for three years. In addition to having a bottom locker for 2 of those 3 years. By the time I reached high school, the damage was done and symptoms already firmly established. Because of my back issues, though, I was able to get a top locker… the years I was able to get a locker at any rate. And with a block schedule as opposed to a 7 class day like in middle school, the load I carried was on average 20-30 pounds a day instead of the upwards of 50. So that was at least some sort of relief.
So, that coupled with the 3 years of college having to drag my stuff around from class to class (I attended a community college that did not have dorms. And the parking lots were so far from actual class buildings that by the time I reached my car to swap out my stuff, I’d be late for my classes regularly. Not to mention the art classes I took which required I bring a crap ton of supplies with me to every single class twice a week averaging about 30-50 pounds any given class session.) my physio therapist is surprised no doctor I’ve spoken to prior to now even bothered to take a look at my back.
She was kinda pissed when I told her that I’d been trying to get doctors to listen to me since I was 12 about it, but all the way till I was 18 they kept saying it was “growing pains” (this is different doctors mind you. Across 2 states, 3 hospitals, and approximately 15 different offices). By the time I was in college, I’d just started popping ibuprofen and Tylenol, told myself it must just be early arthritis since there’s a family history of it, and went about my day. I became so used to being in pain that I don’t even realize it anymore when my back is spasming until it hits a pain level of around 8-10, and pretty much makes me completely immobile.
She’s not even confident that she’ll be able to do much but help me manage the pain at this point. But she’s more than willing to try anything and everything she can with me to do our best to get it sorted as much as possible through physio. I want to manage it as best as I can without having to have surgery. I hate going under the knife, and it scares me all to hell since the very first time I ever did, I ended up nearly dying so…. there’s that.
As for why I’m having so much trouble NOW of all times? That’s a simple answer. Last year I fell down the stairs leading to our bedroom 3 times. The first time I hit every single stair on the way down. All 14 of them. Damaged my tailbone. The next time, a few weeks later, I fell down them again. This time hitting two thirds of the stairs. I slid, mostly, but hit my tailbone on the bottom few stairs. And the third time was a few days after that, I fell down half the stairs. This time bouncing off my tailbone again on all the ones I hit.
Up until that point, I wasn’t having back issues anymore since having the baby. At least, I wasn’t feeling any going on anyway. I wasn’t working so there was no undue stress on my back. But ever since I injured my tailbone, it’s been hell. And now, just about 2 months ago my knee kicks in after my feet start going all to hell.
So yeah, this isn’t fun. And I hurt like hell. Thankfully, my doctor this time did me the blessing of prescribing me medication to help deal with the pain. Especially after he saw my x-ray showing my cartilage in my knee is pretty much disintegrating. And after watching me nearly fall flat on my face when he had me walking to the x-ray room. He saw my lower leg try to go in a direction that, let’s just say, isn’t normal for a lower leg to be going when the rest of the leg is going in another direction entirely. And it’s all down to a fucked knee.
Yeah, you know your body is breaking down when the first things your physical therapist says after checking your back and legs is “How can you even walk? How can you even get out of bed in the morning?”
Short answer? A handful of Tylenol, because I got shit to do and a kid to take care of.