The Pain and Joy of Physical Therapy and the Foam Roller


I’m sitting at my computer this morning!  I’ve been dedicated at doing my physical therapy three times a day, plus adding lots of stretching and extra strengthening exercises, walking, and health club weights.

After years of going to multiple physical therapists and holistic practitioners for my chronic back pain, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s impossible for me to tackle my pain with gentle, no-pain stretching.  That philosophy in the past has been such utter bullshit and a waste of time and effort for me.

My current physical therapist has me rolling on a foam roller on my back.  He said the cancer side of my back is stiff as a plank, which is overworking the other side of my back.  My chest — where I’ve had bilateral mastectomies, lymph nodes removed, and radiation — creates a tight band that hunches my shoulder and affects my posture.

The foam roller makes my back ache for the rest of the day, but I can feel a tremendous release of pressure when I roll on it.  It’s able to reach deeply into my tissues, which massage therapists have never been able to do in the past.  My chiropractor feels the difference in my flexibility and tells me I’ll achieve flexibility before I get pain relief, and I feel intuitively that this is true.

I spent last week at a B&B in New Hampshire, hiking on icy paths, attempting to sleep on a narrow sliver of bed shared with hubby and pup in a cold room, eating mediocre food that was much too much, too fatty, too salty, or too sugary; and driving long distances in our uncomfortable car.  In spite of all that, I think it helped me to get away.

Yesterday I spent my non-exercise time in bed watching Netflix and playing Words with Friends, my back feeling exhausted.  But here I am, today, sitting at my computer.  I even practiced my tai chi this morning, gently and peacefully, to Chinese music on YouTube and incense burning.

How sweet life is today!

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The Pain and Joy of Physical Therapy and the Foam Roller

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