Today was a pretty good day. I was productive at work, and I experienced little to no back pain all day. This afternoon, I attended my fourth physical therapy session. Considering how well the first three went, I was optimistic and actually looking forward to it, hoping to have more strength and be able to do more of the exercises than last time.
At first, the therapy went just like it always does. There’s a little routine to what we do: heat therapy (a heat lamp on my lower back), electro-therapy (these sticky electrode things stuck to my lower back and buttocks that send shock waves through my skin), ultrasound, manual therapy (where my therapist, sometimes with the aid of the mechanical table, manipulates my legs and back into all sorts of positions), and then exercises. Everything up until the exercises was fine. In fact, the pain was less than last time.
The first exercise was rotations. Basically I sit on the side of the table, interlock my fingers in front of me, and rotate first to one side, then the other. This one’s always tough for me, so today my therapist wanted to try to manually move me a little further. First, I rotated to the left. It hurt, but the pain was manageable. Next, I rotated to the right. It hurt more than the left, but I was handling it. Then he used my shoulders to rotate me more to the right (only an inch or two). At that moment, the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced happened. My mid-back on my left side was screaming out in pain as I literally screamed and cried. The pain was worse than any broken bone I’ve ever had. I was told to lie down, which hurt so much, too, but I did it. He then put an ice pack on my back. I cried for about 5 minutes. After I’d calmed down a bit, we moved to another room to continue. He asked me to lie on the bed. The simple motion of trying to lie down sent shock waves of pain to my left side. I simply couldn’t do it. I continued to cry out in pain, trying, to no avail, to stop the tears. I took a pain killer, and tried to remain still. The only position even remotely comfortable was sitting and leaning over. At this point, he called and scheduled an x-ray and gave me a medical patch, which is applied directly to the skin. It ended up helping with the pain, but it took a couple of hours to work.
I was taken down to get an x-ray of my entire back. My MRI last week only focused on my lower back. My therapist wanted to see if the x-ray would reveal the severity of my scoliosis. The x-rays, shown below, showed that my case of scoliosis is quite severe. My spine is in an S-shape instead of straight. This, on top of the other issues, is only going to further complicate my back pain and treatment. Ugh…not what I wanted to hear tonight (or ever)! I hope the pain subsides soon. It already has a little bit, but it’s still difficult to move around or change positions.