Sunday, October 11, 2009

The McKenzie Method - Or My initial Adventures with Sciatica

So much to blog about, so little time...especially as we are probably going to get our first frost tonight.

I promised I would write about by initial adventures in physical therapy-and I will.

For now, the intial evaluation of my back condition with all that pain radiating down my right leg the past month (affecting my mobility and even ability to dress myself) reveals  a possibility of a herniated disc.  Of course that can't be fully diagnosed without an MRI and my insurance (thank heavens I do have insurance) won't pay for an MRI until I undergo physical therapy.

So into the torture chamber I go.  Of course, the laugh here is that my insurance only covers a certain number of sessions.  Almost like a miniature Catch-22.  I can't be diagnosed without physical therapy, but if the physical therapy makes me better then I will have to stop it, then maybe I will lose my progress, and my back will go out again....  So I hope they can teach me enough for me to go forward on my own.

When entering the physical therapist's....er, office?  or gym?  many people were there, on all types of equipment.  It was almost like a gym for the injured, with personal tortu....I mean, teachers.

What this physical therapist is using with me is something called the McKenzie Method.  Sciatica is actually a symptom, not a condition.

To quote from the McKenzie website:

"With the McKenzie approach, physical therapy and exercise used to extend the spine can help "centralize" the patient’s pain by moving it away from the extremities (leg or arm) to the back. Back pain is usually better tolerated than leg pain or arm pain, and the theory of the approach is that centralizing the pain allows the source of the pain to be treated rather than the symptoms."
The McKenzie method is not meant as a "do it yourself" project, although a lot of information is available on their website.  "Do not try this at home on your own!" is what I would say to the reader.   I am not a medical professional giving any kind of advice, just a suffering person describing her journey back to health.

The fascinating part is the "centralization" theory. 

And, the physical therapist wants me to note a lot of things while doing these exercises: pain level, where exactly the pain is, how the location and type of pain is changing day to day, and so forth.  In other words, trying to make me self-aware.  Yikes, a lot to try to do.  But it is all worth it if I can move again.

It's helping me exercise my mind, for sure.

With these back problems I join a select group of people.  One of those clubs people never want to join, but here I am.

What a pain in the....

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