Tag Archives: Physical Therapist

From Massage Spa Therapist to Physical Therapist


Life usually knows what a person needs.  I find myself forgetting sometimes that life is my greatest teacher.  And even though I really do want to believe in coincidences, I don’t.

Just a week prior to my first session with my pelvic physical therapist, my aunt gave me a gift for a 90-minute massage to the spa therapist.  So, even though my aunt was coming with me to the spa, I couldn’t help my anxiety levels because this was my first time and the idea of a stranger touching my body intimately was a bit nerve-wracking.

All these normal tiny question-based fears crept up like a cold draft in a haunted apartment like:  Will my naked body look okay?  What about that little bit of cellulite in my inner thighs?  Will they notice and are they going to feel it when they massage me?  Am I going to perspire like a madwoman because of my revved up anxiety levels and stink the whole place up like a skunk?

Ah, so with all the dread, it finally came time to strip down to my bra and panties at the locker room which brought back memories of never wanting to get undress in gym class at junior high and how other girls would make fun of me because I prefer privacy over publicity.  But I managed to get into the lovely plush robe despite the fact that some eyes were peering my way.  I confidently shook it off and strolled nervously into the massage room.

It was beautiful!  Dim lighting, meditative music, candle atmosphere.  Then it was time to undo my bra.  My panty I could leave on!  And I managed to get through it.  But because I went through this experience, I was able to not completely freak or walk out the door when I had to strip my pants and panty at the physical therapist place.

The first real session (not the initial evaluation) with my pelvic physical therapist was surprising but expected since I’ve done my research.  Still, I was freaking out internally.  The dim lights, classical music, and earthly décor put me at ease to an extent, but the rest of the time I’m sporting a deadpan expression with brewing spades and acid in the pit of my stomach.

For me, there’s nothing comfortable being half naked and having this talkative nice lady massage and stretch my stomach, pelvis, inner thighs, sit bones, hips, glutes and lower back.  Nothing.  As if nothing could top that, she brought out the vagina dilators, gloves and lube.  And I reassured myself, “This doesn’t make you gay.  This is medical procedure.  This appears sexual but isn’t sexual at all.  Relax.”

This was when I had to channel my anxiety and awkward levels to asking her a million questions about her life and her career and everything else in between, so I wouldn’t die too much in the present moment of vagina dilators.  All I could think is, if I can handle a 90-minute plus massage with wraps, hot oil and hot stones, I can handle someone sticking dilators inside me, regardless if they’re the same gender.

*pats back*

-Pennington

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Everything


Now that I have my dumbbells and E-Z Bar put off to the corner of the apartment, I’ve been focusing on other things like cardio (biking), twerking, walking with nature, flexibility and mobility work.  My physical therapist has even whispered restorative yoga and has recommended some DVD’s specifically for pelvic floor dysfunction that involves yoga.  So, you know where that’s taking me.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of cardio, but I’m a fan of being healthy enough.  To make biking for miles fun at the apartment, I blast tunes on my S1-Pro Bose!  The music gives me goosebumps and sometimes I can feel the bass deep in my heart as I drown out everyone else’s music in the building.  Sometimes I like multiple sessions spreading them from morning, afternoon or night.  And when I’m in a carefree mood, I’ll ride the bike without undies because that’s something I could never do at the gym!

Some people underestimate the work it takes to twerk.  It’s a hell of a workout!  Plus, it’s something that gets my heart racing quicker than I can shake my ass, probably.  I’m not supposed to squat, lunge or do crunches, according to my physical therapist, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, even though it may hurt me.  The main move of the twerk is a squat!  Still though, there are so many damn drills from standing, to bending over, to squatting on your toes, to performing movements on the wall or floor.  It’s great!

I remember when I first started twerking my body didn’t have the best muscle memory.  It felt like the first time I tried to dumbbell chest press; massively awkward and almost impossible.  I remember being self-conscious trying to chest press, more so than twerking.  Now, my ass has graduated!  It has a mind of its own and moves on its own freewill.  The only thing I need is a nickname for my twerking persona.

So, it took me a long time to be more flexible, but I got somewhere.  I stretched more of my lower body than I do my upper body because one day I want to be able to do the split.  Flexibility always reminds me of mobility work, so I do them both.  I used to think warmups, flexibility and mobility stuff were a waste of time, but that’s only because 1.  I can be kind of idiotic and 2.  because I was young and could get away without doing those things, so I thought.  I’m older now and my body is not having that shit anymore.  I must warm up and get all my juices flowing before I can dive into any kind of training just like foreplay before the climax.

Well, I’m new to restorative yoga.  I hope to practice it to the point where I turn into an airplane and levitate above the masses and hope to write about the journey of my new elevation.  So far, it’s weird to me.  At least, the process of being gentle as well as the process of consciously relaxing.  It’s eye-opening.  For the longest time, I lifted aggressively at the gym.  And to my amazement, I’ve never considered myself to be aggressive, even when others pointed and RAWR at me.  But by doing restorative yoga, I can see now how hostile, and often, how destructive I was.  Shit!  I have the injuries as proof.

Learning how to relax is something I needed in my life but didn’t know I needed in my life.  Isn’t that how it often is?  You never know what you need because you’re usually fixated on wanting something else that it overshadows what you actually NEED!  Anyhow, it’s taken me a long time to come around and relax for my overall well-being.  To be honest, the idea of being gentle to myself is/was pretty darn foreign, but I’m less guarded to being tender now with newfound appreciation.  This sums up everything!

Here’s an article to the introduction of restorative yoga if you’re curious.

Try it sometime.

Pennington

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction


I knew something was strange every time I laughed or tried to do a sumo deadlift and tinkled myself.  I knew something was strange when I felt like I had to urinate faithfully around the clock.  I knew something was strange when I suddenly started to experience pain during intercourse.  In the morning upon waking, there’s a dull pain in the center of my stomach that stretches deep into my pelvis.  It plants itself there like a kentia palm.  At the same time, the mid-lower back pain stretches out to the side wrapping itself around my lat, not to mention the top of my buttocks and hips.

It took years to understand what the hell was going on with me.  Why I felt completely exhausted after sleeping 8 hours?  Why my moods were shifting quicker than I could say bipolarism?  Why its been so easy to abandon my fitness goals and sessions?  Why did I feel like I was trying to walk through brain farts daily?  Why all this pain?

Thankfully a visit to the handsomest urologist gave me his recommendation to see his friend who’s also a urologist but deals with women’s sexual health.  It was there where I was greeted by a real life perky sitcom character Karen Walker.  She checked out my vulva, took my urine through a catheter on the spot (with my permission of course) and complimented me on my Kegel.  Then she said, “You have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.  Don’t worry.  It’s fixable!”  I was prescribed a physical therapist who specializes in PFD.  Also, testosterone gel, which is made by a chemist (therefore making it extra tailored and super expensive) for my vulva.

Coupled this PFD along with my growing fibroids (which I was told to ignore if they don’t grow) and it’s no wonder why I’ve been wanting to pull my hair out of my goddamn head for so long.  My fibroids have grown to the point where they have taken my uterus out of its place and is now sitting behind my bellybutton.  The clusters of fibroids have enlarged my uterus making my stomach protrude.  On my medical record it states that my fibroids are well into 14-16-week pregnancy.  So, I’ll see a surgeon next month.  God willing.

Well, for the longest time, I thought I was secretly dying.  Turns out, at least for the moment, I’ve been on a tumultuous ride with hormones.  Keeping a positive outlook has been extremely challenging.  I can’t tell you how long I felt hopeless and completely isolated from the rest of the world.  Of course, I kept praying for answers, for guidance and for the right doctors to come in my path, so I can get the ball rolling.  My prayers have been answered.  Things are rolling.  I’m finally not holding my breath anymore.

I’m moving forward with new breath within me.

-Pennington

Pain Therapy


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I’m slow just like an elderly person crossing the street, like any home turtle in the fish tank and basically similar to a suicidal giving up on life. Except, I enter the physical therapy office with an open mind and clear objective — to make gains, to obtain lasting results, to prosper and to walk on two feet correctly (again). I have a lot of work ahead of me, but that’s okay because I like work — and because what is life without work? Or sweat? Or tears? Or blood? Or pain?

And speaking of pain: I’m pretty aware that if they called it Pain Therapy rather than Physical Therapy — the majority of people wouldn’t show up. Related: This has been the most painful PT session (the 6th one so far) yet. I inhale and exhale like a pregnant woman giving birth wildly, but, with control. I shut my eyes tighter than my thermal water bottle, pinch my eyebrows together as in “what the fuck?”, grind my teeth with grit, mush my lips together in grumble and sometimes (whenever possible) I hunch my shoulders like a white collar man over a desktop — all because of pain.

Somewhere buried in my bones and muscles fibers, I’m frightened and I’m nervous about every PT session as if I’m starting a new job. But the fear remains in a way where I’m completely detached from it at the same time. I have a reason to be a scaredy-cat for each session there are unpredictable exercises given and new progressions occurring and of course — new pain to match. Today they measured my plantarflexion/dorsi and such and such with a Rulangemeter and a Goniometer. Trust, when I say it hurts when they hold my foot and bring it up to the measurement of where it’s supposed to be.

There are parallel bars where I’m to try and learn to walk again with as much equal body weight as possible without completely noticing the occasional shout from the aid saying: Bend your knee, don’t lock out. Control the movement. Then there are leg/tibia exercises and knee/hip/glute exercises all standing and putting full weight on my right foot and ankle. It feels highly uncomfortable like I’m stepping on stones, but I’m not afraid because I have to do what I have to do, and in a weird way I like pain. Plus, let’s face it, pain is temporary.

Then there’s my favorite, the thing that scares half my training wits — the wooden balance board. This one, I perform numerous exercises on. I dislike every one of them. Still, the bright side is it gets my knees to bend and it stretches everything out around the sides, front and back of my ankle along with my deflated calve. The only issue is, the pain is dangerously wicked, but with my training mentality, I’ve achieved my personal records already.

Then there’s me having to go up/down a step. There’s the prostep-prostretch where I squeeze my foot into it and have to move my foot up and down for a deep fucking stretch! Of course, there are ankle weights and more exercises and equipment I get to play and hurt myself with. Then more ankle exercises with manual resistance by my physical therapist (who I have a fondness for ah! — plus he genuinely says sorry when he senses the pain is unbearable on my face) and ankle circles and ankle pumps before I get my relaxing massage, electrode stimulations, heat and ice.

After all the drama calms down in the PT session, I digest all that has happened and how far I’ve come. I wish I could linger on those digestions. But I move on and take in how much longer I have to go. I dwell and dwell. Still, I’m thankful for my persistence, determination, stubbornness and self-made ego. I also enjoy when the pain and inflammation dies down, even though I know I’m going home to do even more exercises and be in pain all over again.

But more than anything, when I lie in the dark alone with thoughts to myself in the physical treatment room with towels wrapped around my leg in ice and heat — happiness seems to hide in the background and no matter how many times I push the thought out, it resurfaces again. I always go back to square one with: I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m going through this. I can’t seem to shake off this shock.

-Pennington

Tales from the Ankle


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The upside: My bone is healed and it healed properly. Thank the Lord! No hard cast. Now I’m in an Air Cast. The downside: There’s a lot of work to do in the wonderful world of physical therapy, and evidently, it’s rather fucking depressing. It feels like I’m starting from somewhere near the bottom. And surely, it could be worse.

So, yes, I’m thankful for my fibula fracture injury no matter how it comes across and makes me feel in the black pit of my heart. In time, I’ll get over the multiple depression humps of my life. But today is not that day. Until then, I’ll have to deal with everything as I have been – to the best of my ability.

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Let me introduce some to the subtalar joint. This is one thing I have to work on. It is responsible for the movement of the feet – in technical terms: Inversion and Eversion. Aside from this joint, I have to deal with all the other muscles that atrophied on the side of my right ankle such as the hips, glute, lower back, knee and quad.

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Now, despite the work load I have for my ankle and certain parts of my body, I’m lucky that I’m a big fan of working hard. This isn’t my issue. My issue is being depressed and wanting results overnight because of what I’ve been able to do in the past – fitness wise. Patience and pacing myself has never been a strong suit of mine. And I would think that at the humble age of 32, (33 tomorrow), I’d have figured out how to take things slow when needed, but no. I have much to learn.

I have this self-imposed pressure. It’s me against me and I’m not sure how I feel about this: All the power to mobilize myself. It sounds inspiring to some degree, but with the time stamp I’ve placed in my head: I feel like time is running out. Okay. Day 1 of the Air Cast: It was this Tuesday. The cast came off and I didn’t care if there was pain involve. I was more scared of what was underneath the cast. Lots of dry blood. Lots of dead skin. Lots of calve deflated and missing. Lots of agony and stages of foot pain.

And for the rest of the day the thought of unstrapping and strapping the boot itself made me nauseous at home. So I did zero movement in my ankle. Day 2: I made sure to start moving my foot with the assistance of my knee just to get a bit of movement. At least 70-80 total reps (for 5 reps at a time – afternoon and evening) I performed and then packed it in ice like a dead fish.

Day 3: Which is today – I met the physical therapist. And let’s just say, I’m glad he’s not ugly to look at. However, I got the impression that everything was all rushed. I did not like that he expected me to perform circles with an ankle I haven’t used for 2 months. He encouraged me by saying, “You’re moving your knee, not your ankle.”

Then he manually took my ankle and moved it in circles and in an up/down motion. Okay, so aside from his manual assistance (and my failings!), these were the exercises prescribed to me which I did there at the place: Lumbar Bridging (Hip Thrust), Hip Abduction Unilateral Side-lying and Supine Knee Bent. 3 x 10 reps.

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Reflection on these Exercises: I felt a super stretch during the hip bridges in my right quad that I gasped out loud. My hip/glutes were contracted (mind-muscle connection) with intense levels while performing the side lying. And as for the Supine Knee – well – I felt the discomfort in my knee, so keeping my right leg completely straight was a tad difficult. So all in all it’s working. 😉 But I’m sure anything would work if your muscles were immobile to begin with, no?

My plans for tonight is to have my friend help me by manually moving my ankle up/down and in circles for a few reps a set because my foot is so stiff I can’t do it on my own. As of now, my ankle is super achy and sore from the manual manipulation of earlier. Presently, this is going to be a slow and tedious, but very much needed journey. Stay tuned. 😉

-Pennington