Tag Archives: Stretch

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

Body Nags


I don’t openly volunteer information about myself or my life to people I deal with.  This is why I have a blog.  Plus, I figure if a person wants to get to know me better, they’ll slowly work to pry me open.  Or read my blog or Tweets.  Point is, there are things I don’t reveal to anyone like body nags.

Don’t you hate nags?  Whether they concern a relationship, parental or societal badger?  Don’t you hate body bags, no matter what the cost is and how you pay its dues over and over again?  Some nags are preventable, some are induced, some nags come and go while others, remain forever.   All I know is, I can’t come up with all the fucking causes to nags, but I know that nags are pretty shitty!  And I have a few of those pretty shitty ones.

At this point, the body nags have entirely affected my right side.  The first was my elbow back in 2006.  That’s when I first saw someone for the opening debut of tendonitis.  Now there are undiagnosed flares in my teres minor, which I assume comes from the rotator cuff syndrome I’m still experiencing because clearly I’m a dick and am not very gentle with myself.  Then, there are the bicipital groove flare-like bouts and gluteus medius annoyances that come and go.

Not to mention, two out of the three hamstring muscles take turns straining me every step of the way, every few months, making sure I can’t reach my front split goal.  Plus the gastrocnemius has tightened up when it used to be on the left side only and just like everything else, it’s on my right side.  What is it with this side of my body?  And who the fuck knows?  But I’m thinking sooner or later, I’m going to have to start being gentle to myself.

When I got an MRI done a while back to see if I wanted to pursue surgery for a partial (on the small end) tear on my right shoulder, I cut out many exercises that had to do with chest, back and shoulders.  There are still some exercises I don’t do today, but over time I worked into getting many exercises back into my programs.  The next time, someone tells me I don’t have patience, I’m going to stick a dumbbell up their ass and grind it because patience is crucial with these nags.

And let’s be honest, sometimes patience sucks and pain does also.  So I’ve slowly entered:  Assisted pull-ups, Incline/flat dumbbell/barbell bench press, push-ups, hammer and bicep curls.  Volume has been cut, in addition to warming up prior with easier exercises and stretching in between most sets.

It’s been a year (or more probably?) since I’ve done any Lat Pull-downs.  But I finally gave in because I rather rotate my exercises than do the same ones.  Flares happen, regardless of how much I warm up or stretch in between.  I can feel the tiniest spasm pulsing in my teres minor; an electric type of nerve of a twinge, and the spasms continue the more time under tension it’s given.  After this, I stretched and meditated on a prayer to the Gym God’s that I’ll be able to continue pain-free through my workout.

Now, I have another nuisance here to join my many nags, something new and daunting in my knee.  Stay tuned for that in an upcoming entry.  In the meantime, how many body nags do you have related to exercise or no exercise?  And yes, it works both ways. 😉

-Pennington