Last summer, after enduring hip and leg pain for several months, a MRI showed I had a bulging disk on the right side of my lower back. In August, my family physician sent me for an EMG and physical therapy at St. Elizabeth Edgewood. I was happy to do both – I just knew my pain was neurological and I had visions of soothing heat treatments and a physical therapist gently pushing and prodding my back.
What a disappointment when, after evaluation, the therapist told me what I had to do: stand erect, sit up straight, not lift more than eight pounds, not bend over, and to do 30 press-ups (modified push-ups) every two hours.
It sounded strange, but I decided to give it a try. We started by attacking my most distal pain, at that time in my heel. In about a week, I noticed I had no heel pain.
When I had success getting rid of pain in the next target area - my ankle - I was sold on the therapy. Plus, after learning my EMG was normal, I no longer had that excuse for my pain.
Week by week, the pain left my calf, then my thigh, and finally my hip. As I saw improvement, I became more diligent about doing the press-ups. It was difficult doing the exercises at work, but I got them in as much as I could.
Near the end of my physical therapy program, I was gradually permitted to bend forward – farther and farther. When I continued to have no pain after several weeks, I was dismissed from therapy in mid-January.
Today, I do a set of 10 press-ups morning and night. I have some soreness in my lower back if I “over-do,” but no severe pain. I’ve realized that it takes lifestyle changes if I want to protect my back, and my mobility, long-term.
I am grateful for the help I received at St. Elizabeth from physical therapists Rich, Jen, and Mark. I feel they gave me the tools to manage my back, hip, and leg pain for the rest of my life.
~ Ann Haas Rorrer, Patient, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Physicial Therapy