Physical Therapy and My Hopes

The doctor did confirm a mild case of whiplash yesterday and got right to work on things. In a word… AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I’m starting to understand why people go do spa treatments. I don’t think I’ve ever been that relaxed.

They started the treatment off by laying me on my back on a bunch of heating pads. They also hooked electric shock stimulators all across my back that, if I understand this correctly, work by shooting electricity from one sensor to the next. It makes the muscles all twitchy. Very relaxing. Then they did an ultra sound procedure that apparently breaks down scar tissue and other things deeper in the body. Next was a massage followed by a brief instruction on proper stretching. All in all a very comfortable experience. I should also point out that Aerosmith provided the background music, which was strangely relaxing.

The pain is pretty mild now with occasional sharp twinges when I forget that there is still something wrong. The tightness is also much less in general though it is coming back. But the increase in my range of motion is out of this world. I can actually look over my shoulder now though I try not to because it does start to hurt. Still, a definite increase in motion, mobility, and energy.

Right at the start, the doctor asked what may have been the most interesting question I’ve ever heard from a doctor: What would you like to accomplish from this treatment? I’m pretty used to doctors telling me what they plan on doing, but to have one actually ask what I wanted and what I hoped for was so very refreshing. And it told me that I could really seek for what I really want. See, I suffer from chronic tension headaches and muscle tension, and I’ve been very careful to keep the whiplash separate from the tension that has become such a common part of my life. I guess, in a very subtle kind of way, his question made combining and treating both an okay proposition in my mind; and that’s something that I had honestly debated in my mind and was the primary reason I was fighting against going in the first place. I’m conscious, I guess, that the money paying for this is a result of whiplash and not my tension problems, but having the question asked and then discussing it with the doctor helped me see that they are more closely aligned than I would have initially expected and that taking care of all of it is essential to healing.

I suppose I’m just too cautious. My sister would probably say hyper-honest. In the grand scheme of things, there are certainly worse things than that.

When I answered the question, it also felt okay to dream again in some ways. I have a friend who also suffers from chronic headaches, and once put it that she gets tired and frustrated with the answers she typically gets from most doctors because the answers cause the problems. For example, my tension headaches have gotten to the point that getting my back to a condition that would eliminate them requires me to suffer through them. Most of that is that I don’t know how to do it anymore, and the rest is that I’ve become so careful to avoid the headaches that I won’t do anything that causes them. It’s a classic downward spiral that limits what I can do. And trust me that when I say tension headache, I’m not talking about the kind that makes you merely uncomfortable. I’m talking about sitting in the bathroom waiting to throw up from the pain with tears streaming down your face kind of headache. The dark room, no noise, don’t move me, don’t touch me kind of headaches. I’ve had migraines, and I’ll take any of my past migraines before I’ll take my mildest tension headaches.

So to have the hope of being headache free…. Tension free…. It’s been years since I’ve gone even a week without a headache.

It’s nice to dream again.

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2 Responses to Physical Therapy and My Hopes

  1. nosurfgirl says:

    Gosh… I never knew.

    I used to suffer from migraines brought on by stress. I don’t know if it’s anywhere close, but it was pretty yucky. I’m sorry, that really does interfere with quality of life, from what you’ve described. I hope this PT experience really does help you with all your problems. Maybe the whiplash is a blessing in disguise, Heavenly Father saying, OK Dave, enough is enough… let’s get this taken care of.

  2. Pingback: Neck Pain, Headaches, and Muscle Tension « the prodigal

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