So Kate asked a bunch of questions about my pain, activity levels, etc. She's a runner too which is cool. Then she spent some time having me do various strength demonstrations before feeling around my back muscles a bit. In the end she said my ab muscles are plenty strong but that the stabilizer muscles in my lower back, the ones that run down either side of my spine (lumbar multifidi?), are not so strong and are over-taxed by all my activity. So she told me to scale back on ALL my ab exercises for now and do the stretches and exercises she gave me.
|Bird Dog (aka Quadruped Contralateral Upper/Lower Extremity Lifts)|
|Bridge on Swiss Ball (I have to REALLY focus on tightening my core and glutes or else this hurts my back)|
|Half Kneel Iliopsoas Stretch|
I did my exercises except while we were camping and while I was in Philadelphia. I know, bad patient. I think my back is feeling better, although there are still times it hurts so bad ibuprofen barely helps. Over the weeks Kate added squats and some other exercises that I can't remember right now to my routine.
At my appointment yesterday we got to talking more about running and she ended up taking a look at my stride. I ran on the treadmill for about 5 minutes and she watched me while chatting with one of the trainers. I felt like a pro being evaluated, except I wasn't. In the end she said my stride is notable for one thing, no movement at the hip. A normal stride would include about 15 percent (or is it degrees?) rotation of the leg moving back, with the rotation happening at the hip. But in my case all my rotation is coming from rotating my core, suggesting my glutes are not pulling their weight. Iiiinteresting. So she's going to add some exercises to help with this too.
When I went to the gym after PT I focused on tightening my glutes with every stride. Dear me that made running harder. I had planned to run 3 miles on the treadmill but I was bargaining with myself after only 1 mile, "just make it to 1.5 miles." Deal.
It wasn't that my legs/glutes felt too tired, the effort just felt increased overall. So I stopped after 1.5 miles and moved on to chest/triceps/core exercises. Kate had added planks back into my routine so I did side planks and traditional planks too. She's against all forms of crunches so I might have to let go of my beloved decline crunches altogether. I sure hope this works, I got to chatting with a guy at my gym who's had back surgery and the idea of that just scares the bejeezus out of me. I think I'd have to be immobile before I went that route, which he practically was.
The only other issue is I sit WAY too much. My job is mostly sitting and a fair number of my hobbies involve sitting (reading, movies, writing, online research of random bits of whoknowswhat). I need a "get up and move!" app that reminds me to take even the tiniest stroll every half hour to hour. I saw a headline the other day that said, "Sitting is the New Smoking," suggesting that sitting is just as bad for you as cigarettes.
Anyway, that's the summary of my physical therapy so far. Today, Saturday, has been a day with the kids. We walked to a local garage sale - where I scored an indoor bike trainer for $15!, let's hope I actually use it - and then to a park that has a water feature. The kids played in the water and spent some time in the swings. I am so used to wearing tank tops now that you'd think it was my mandatory summer uniform. The more you get used to wearing less, the more and more comfortable it feels and more clothes just feel so darned HOT. It's like getting hooked on flip-flops in Hawaii, after a while regular shoes feel like torture. Aaaanyway, I'm getting way off topic and I need to clean up this mess before Miguel gets home and asks the old "what did you do all day?" question. He worked today so it's just been the kids and I.
p.s. Still doing great on my food. Today, for example, Kashi GoLean with Almond Milk for breakfast, Fage and peaches for snack, Sandwich with avocado and chicken breast for lunch, apple for snack...more to come. Feeling so good, physically and psychologically with putting good fuel into my system.