Anyone here start physical therapy? What's the best approach?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 12/15/2017 5:28 AM (GMT -6)   
So, I'm stuck now just mostly treating myself. Cat's Claw seems to be giving me a good deal of improvement, but yeah, I'm not better.

The only doctor I've met in the journey so far who seems to understand me (or at least tries) is an Occupational Therapist at a local hospital (I got referred to her last year when everyone was convinced I just had a tendinitis flare-up). She set me up with a new round of appointments with specialists in her department, so I'll be starting that after the new year. One thing is art therapy, which, okay, might be fun. I also talked to the medical psychologist, and we decided I was doing okay - frustration and annoyance is understandable - and I can go back to talk to her if I want.

This morning I had an intake with the physical therapists, and .... I don't know. I mean, now that I'm taking Cat's Claw I'm doing a bit better and I'm able to go out and do stuff more than I used to. It doesn't hurt to walk so much, and my costochondritis seems to be less. But still, if I move too much or do too much with my hands I get weird tingling nerve/tendon pain in my fingertips and wrist and elbows which takes a while to go away. But they were all like "oh, when you first get moving again it'll hurt!" Umm, no. I know what muscle pain is. I used to exercise a lot. This is not muscle pain. This is not pain which goes away after you practice it a few times. It always happens, no matter what.

So they were asking me what I want to get from the therapy, what my goals were. Inside my head I was thinking "uh, showing you that I'm not lazy and weak and making this up?" But seriously, my tendons are really tight. I have difficulty fully extending and clenching my hands. I have tightness in my hips and knees as well, which gives me a shuffle-walk. So I mentioned that and asked for more flexibility. But they didn't seem much impressed with that. They seem convinced I'm just weak.

I'm cool with exercising and working out. It's something I used to do for fun. I always feel cold, and I'd like to increase blood flow. But with the tight tendons, and the not-muscle pain, I'm not sure how best to do it. I thought the professionals might know, but apparently not. This is yet another thing I have to research on my own to figure out.

So, since they asked me what I want, what do I tell them? Flexibility, sure. But what else? Has anyone else done professional physical therapy? What did you find helpful? Or not helpful?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 1657
   Posted 12/15/2017 6:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Do pilates and low impact weight lifting. Go slow and don't over do it. Read Burrascano's lyme treatment guidelines. He has a section on PT.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 9729
   Posted 12/15/2017 10:58 AM (GMT -6)   
I have done physical therapy many times for injuries, but not for lyme.

I know that whatever you do when you have lyme you must not overdo it or you will pay for it dearly. Those days of feeling well and trying to garden, tapped my resources for the next week.

Gentle to begin with. Very low impact. A mini trampoline is good, or a stationary bike or swimming. Gentle and if you get super tired after doing it? You have done too much.

Gradual increases.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 33803
   Posted 12/15/2017 1:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Try another PT.

I went to 4 (or was it 5?) prior to the one I see now.

She is wonderful. She has helped me get the ROM back on my upper left side of body...and also strength.

She will help me with any area that is tight...weak...or lacks ROM.

She has given me exercises to do - and wants me to do them everyday.
They aren't heavy lifting..I use therabands, a foam roller for the most part.

I don't do a lot of aerobics...I just warm up on our Elliptical machine so that my blood is flowing - prior to doing the exercises.

Maybe move on to another one - the PT should know what to do..and be able to help you.
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 5081
   Posted 12/15/2017 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
There are many different variations of PT, as well as chiropractic.

Although costly, many times its worth trying different approaches to personally experience how your body responds.

This is especially true if the therapist uses manual hands on techniques (highly recommended), many times, exercises alone, yoga, or even Pilates wont heal you if your muscles/tendons are to stiff to move into those positions. If that is the case, then manual muscle release (many variations) will make active exercise and different stretching techniques like yoga more possible to do.

My muscles were stuck to each other in many areas, I had to release these one by one , before any real moving exercise was possible. With out that, yoga and even Pilates injured me further. Note: I was an extreme case and realize most here were not like that. But if you are like that, do some variations of muscle release first- incorporating with deep massage (hurts) will help too. No pain no gain sometimes.

Eiren- read your post again, yes , your description sounded a lot like mine with the rope like tendons, regular PT did nothing, as PT does not fix tendon issues very well- they hardly address them at all.

A combination of PT , chiro, and muscle release- trigger point release, Gaston Technique, and Active Release Technique would help you. Goggle these on you tube to see what they are- they fix tendons. Once tendons are fixed, then muscles can be addressed by strength training.

Tendons first. Why regular PT is not taught this is a mystery. The further away you get from "conventional PT", the better the treatment results usually are.

Post Edited (astroman) : 12/15/2017 12:05:22 PM (GMT-7)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 12/16/2017 8:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Good advice everyone!

Yeah, maybe find someone else. I'm concerned that if they don't consider the tendons I might sprain something trying to follow their program. I'll ask them about foam roller exercises and range of movement things at my next appointment. If they chuckle at that I'll find somewhere else.

There's a physio center closer to me that offers connective tissue massage and something called Mulligan Concept. Is that the sort of thing ya'll are suggesting?
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