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How long would you stick it out?

I had my first visit for aquatic therapy on Wednesday. Felt okay after, a little sore but that's to be expected right? Only one of the exercises caused actual pain and not just muscle exhaustion. Lost most of my ability to grip with my right hand after forty minutes and that's when the therapy was stopped.

Thursday my pain level was worse than usual. Doing things with my right hand typically sets off my pain, and being a bookkeeper I work with my right hand all day. I can usually get through the day, it's painful but I can make it through. Thursday I couldn't make it, I had to go home. Same thing today and I went to my second therapy appointment which this time was even worse, more of the exercises caused actual pain.

The therapist doesn't seem quite sure what to think about what I'm feeling either, and I really don't know how long it's a good idea to stick it out and wait to see if it benefits me before deciding that it's not helping.
Microlaminectomy and discectomy at C7-T1 on April 26th.
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1

Comments

  • Personally, I wouldn't go back.

    I've tried so many physical therapies and exercises and sports - and a lot of them a) didn't help or b) made matters (far) worse.

    I stuck so many of them out, to show that I was trying... because I thought if I don't go, how can my back get better... because my Drs pressured me... because I felt totally unsure as to whether it was meant to get worse, before it got better.

    These days I know my body. (After many painful years of experience.)

    I know (for me) that if my body reacts like you've described above, that is my body saying NO to that particular exercise.

    It's not telling me MAYBE, it's telling me NO.

    MAYBE feels different. It feels uncomfortable, or odd, or challenging... but not like the kind of pain you describe above.

    But that's just my experience, of my body and it's signals.

    Hope my input helps...

    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • hello pain said:
    Personally, I wouldn't go back.

    I've tried so many physical therapies and exercises and sports - and a lot of them a) didn't help or b) made matters (far) worse.

    I stuck so many of them out, to show that I was trying... because I thought if I don't go, how can my back get better... because my Drs pressured me... because I felt totally unsure as to whether it was meant to get worse, before it got better.

    These days I know my body. (After many painful years of experience.)

    I know (for me) that if my body reacts like you've described above, that is my body saying NO to that particular exercise.

    It's not telling me MAYBE, it's telling me NO.

    MAYBE feels different. It feels uncomfortable, or odd, or challenging... but not like the kind of pain you describe above.

    But that's just my experience, of my body and it's signals.

    Hope my input helps...
    My gut reaction is to stop. I am wavering because I was pushed to set up the therapy being told by both of my pm doctors that pt IS the answer and I HAVE to exercise to get better, despite both of them knowing that I've done land pt before that was unsuccessful. There's a certain amount of disbelief coming from them when I describe what's happening to me pain-wise and I'm worried that if I give up too quickly I'll be blamed for not giving it a chance and not believed once again.

    It is interfering so much with my ability to work though that I may have to stop regardless of any other feelings I have. I need and want to be able to continue working best I can.
    Microlaminectomy and discectomy at C7-T1 on April 26th.
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  • What kind of pain are you experiencing and where? I am dealing with a similar situation and I don't know what to do! I mean if exercise and stretching wont help then what is the solution other than surgery? After talking to a few people that were able to "fix" themselves up, I came to the conclusion that it comes down to picking the right exercises and stretches for that particular individual. It would be so easy if the same exercises worked for everybody...heck none of us would probably be on here looking for answers.
  • Danny G. said:
    What kind of pain are you experiencing and where? I am dealing with a similar situation and I don't know what to do! I mean if exercise and stretching wont help then what is the solution other than surgery? After talking to a few people that were able to "fix" themselves up, I came to the conclusion that it comes down to picking the right exercises and stretches for that particular individual. It would be so easy if the same exercises worked for everybody...heck none of us would probably be on here looking for answers.
    I have pain in my neck on the right side. In my shoulder, down to my shoulder blade, and down my arm into my hand. Sometimes it also wraps around my ribcage under my arm. I'm at the point where I really don't feel that anything but surgery will fix this, but since they don't know exactly what's causing my pain there's nothing to operate on...so I'm feeling pretty darn stuck!

    When I started my first set of PT way back in August I was really hopeful thinking oh this'll be great we'll get me fixed up and i'll be good as new. I was a bit naive then.
    Microlaminectomy and discectomy at C7-T1 on April 26th.
  • What type of testing have they done so far to find the pain generator? I really think it is important to find the pain generator before just throwing a bunch of things at it, to treat it. It is a kind of like throwing a dart at a dart board with a blind fold on and hoping you hit it. Well of course you are going to hit something, but not the goal of the game to score points. So by throwing you in physical therapy without finding the pain generator might help with your core body strength, it may never help with the pain. You need to make sure the doctors understand that the therapy is making the pain worse.

    Have you looked at a dermatone chart, to see if any of the pain follows those patterns. Have they run a emg study on your arms and shoulders? Brachial plexus injuries can mock cervical spine issues, but can be ruled in or out on a emg study.

    Surgery is no magic pill, there are many here whom surgery has made it worse. Which is another reason that the pain generator has to be found. For example you could have a bulging disc at say c5-c6, but it might not necessarily being cause your pain, and doing surgery on it, won't resolve your pain issues. You have to keep in mind that many people have bulging disc or even herniated disc, and will never know it, as they cause no pain. However you could have a bulging disc, with a tear and the fluids are leaking causing your pain.

    Don't feel as if you are bothering the doctors, telling them the therapy is causing additional pain, to the point you can't work. This does give them more information, as to what is going on. Hopefully you are keeping a pain journal, as to what makes the pain worse, what makes it better and so on. This information can be very useful to a doctor in diagnosing. The MRI's are just a tool in diagnosing but are not the end all in figuring it out. If you have had a MRI, hopefully you got a copy of the MRI report?

    Do you know what the doctor send you to physical therapy for? They have to put down a treatment code, for them to treat you? If your not sure ask the therapist, what is the doctor is trying to treat with the therapy, Obviously we know the pain is the goal of treatment, what specific does he/she believe it to becoming from?

    The whole process of getting a diagnoses can be frustrating, but you have to stick with it, and be sure they know what is helping or not helping. If you don't understand what a doctor is saying, ask for clarity, after all at the end of the day, your the one living with this. Also don't be afraid to get a second opinion. If a doctor has a issue with you getting a second opinion, then more than likely that is not the doctor for you. sometimes a second set of eyes on your case can be a refreshing and they see something the first doctor didn't. Good luck and I really hope they find what is causing the pain.
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  • hello painhhello pain Posts: 69
    edited 12/29/2012 - 5:41 AM
    Hi tamtam,
    I just googled a dermatone chart - I had never seen one before!
    That's a great resource!
    Do you guys have one here on the forum as a tip for people to take a look at?
    (Probably you do, and I haven't found it yet!)
    Cheers
    J
    Happiness is your chronic pain being less than it usually is...

    Migraines and so many herniated discs (the same ones over and over) that I have literally stopped counting
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,526
    I remember my first two sessions, I called my doctor and told her that I could not continue with it, it was too painful. She told me to stay with it for another week. Every since, I live by Aquatic exercises and has been one of the best things for me.

    However, when you develop pain as the result of an exercise, specifically an exercise that involved the use of something. For you its your hand. you need to keep on top of it. If after the first 48 hours is over and it is getting worse or zero improvement, I would contact your doctor to discuss it. I say 48 hours, only because I have been through things like this probably over a hundred times. So, I tend to wait things out a bit. But if you are uncomfortable about waiting, by all means contact your doctor.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • tamtam said:
    What type of testing have they done so far to find the pain generator? I really think it is important to find the pain generator before just throwing a bunch of things at it, to treat it. It is a kind of like throwing a dart at a dart board with a blind fold on and hoping you hit it. Well of course you are going to hit something, but not the goal of the game to score points. So by throwing you in physical therapy without finding the pain generator might help with your core body strength, it may never help with the pain. You need to make sure the doctors understand that the therapy is making the pain worse.
    I have had MRIs of my entire spine and head. I have had chest, shoulder, and neck xrays. I have had chest and head CTs. I have had a nerve conduction study.
    tamtam said:
    Have you looked at a dermatone chart, to see if any of the pain follows those patterns. Have they run a emg study on your arms and shoulders? Brachial plexus injuries can mock cervical spine issues, but can be ruled in or out on a emg study.
    I have had an EMG done of my arm that was normal. I have looked at dermatome charts and my pain for the most part does seem to follow the C8 nerve path on the right side.
    tamtam said:
    Surgery is no magic pill, there are many here whom surgery has made it worse. Which is another reason that the pain generator has to be found. For example you could have a bulging disc at say c5-c6, but it might not necessarily being cause your pain, and doing surgery on it, won't resolve your pain issues. You have to keep in mind that many people have bulging disc or even herniated disc, and will never know it, as they cause no pain. However you could have a bulging disc, with a tear and the fluids are leaking causing your pain.
    I am aware that it's not magical, I have a good friend who had ACDF and is still in chronic pain. The surgery did not solve her problem and they are still searching for answers. I do wish though that whatever is causing this would be something that could be fixed by surgery, to just make it go away. That's more my desperation talking.
    tamtam said:
    Don't feel as if you are bothering the doctors, telling them the therapy is causing additional pain, to the point you can't work. This does give them more information, as to what is going on. Hopefully you are keeping a pain journal, as to what makes the pain worse, what makes it better and so on. This information can be very useful to a doctor in diagnosing. The MRI's are just a tool in diagnosing but are not the end all in figuring it out. If you have had a MRI, hopefully you got a copy of the MRI report?
    I have copies of all of my MRI discs and reports. Unfortunately I don't think they are very useful when they say "this normal, that normal. nothing significant. all normal". I kept a pain journal for a couple days after my friend advised me to. Unfortunately since handwriting is one of the major triggers of my pain it didn't last long. Immediately after writing about how something had relieved pain and putting the notebook aside I'd have to open it back up and write about how writing had set off the pain... and with my work environment the ability to keep one digitally isn't available. Lastly it's just frustrating because when they told me to do physical therapy I argued bringing up how my first six week stretch of therapy in August caused so much additional pain and how I feel so much aggravation just trying to do daily life tasks that I didn't know how I would be able to do therapy. They insisted that it was the only way to get better, so I relented. So I'm angry...I told them this would happen, they told me I was wrong, I told them I didn't feel my pain was being managed well, they told me to stop whining and do what they say.
    tamtam said:
    Do you know what the doctor send you to physical therapy for? They have to put down a treatment code, for them to treat you? If your not sure ask the therapist, what is the doctor is trying to treat with the therapy, Obviously we know the pain is the goal of treatment, what specific does he/she believe it to becoming from?
    Cervical radiculiopathy is the diagnosis that was put on this pt script and the one I had back in August.
    tamtam said:
    The whole process of getting a diagnoses can be frustrating, but you have to stick with it, and be sure they know what is helping or not helping. If you don't understand what a doctor is saying, ask for clarity, after all at the end of the day, your the one living with this. Also don't be afraid to get a second opinion. If a doctor has a issue with you getting a second opinion, then more than likely that is not the doctor for you. sometimes a second set of eyes on your case can be a refreshing and they see something the first doctor didn't. Good luck and I really hope they find what is causing the pain.
    Thanks for your well detailed response! I've had a long day, I ended up going to the hospital for pain management since it's Saturday and all my doctor offices are closed. I woke up this morning with my pain at an 8, stabbing pains in my shoulder blade, shooting pains up my neck, down my arm, and terrible pain in my hand. No relief at all from taking my normal medications. They gave me a short term script for percocet and talked to me about going back to my pm early next week to reevaluate.
    Microlaminectomy and discectomy at C7-T1 on April 26th.
  • Hello Pain:

    The Dermatome chart link is at the bottom of the FAQ, which is located in the menu near the top of this page.

    The FAQ has masses of good info. (Well done Ron for collating it all here)
  • and use your left hand to do the typing. Often time initial physical therapy will cause additional pain, you should try an ddistinguish if it's different from your initial pain. Sometimes it's from muscles we haven't used in a while. I would let the therapist know you had the pain issues and back down a bit on the exercises to see if it was just a matter of too much to soon. If backing off doesn't help call your Dr and let them know the pain your having with PT.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
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