Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Hard to Explain Pain

It’s hard to explain pain. It’s harder still, when the pain is not from what the medical profession sees as normal life. The thing is that I don’t live a normal life and I don’t want to.

I experience pain when I sit cross-legged on the floor. Their solution – sit in a chair. But I want to sit cross-legged on the floor.

I experience pain like a knife digging into my hip joint when I do triangle pose or warrior in yoga. Their solution – don’t do those poses. Or modify them to a narrow stance. But I want to do them the way I could before the accident.

It’s as if there a rule that if I’m not in pain doing something normal, they aren’t going to help me. Maybe they don’t know how. And then the medical professionals wonder why people like me go to alternative healing methods.

I’ve set up some yoga blocks in my hallway to make a narrow area where I can wedge my feet to their widest stance and push against the blocks, using my leg muscles. In only a week, I’ve been able to add 3 inches to my stance. If I keep at it, eventually, I hope to get my full stance again.

Yesterday in Pilates class we did an exercise called swimming. I thought it would be easy. I swim about a mile a week, wearing flippers to make my hips work harder. I thought I was doing okay with the exercise when the teacher came by and told me to turn my knee to face the floor. Huh? I thought I was doing that. She rotated my leg to show me the correct position. OUCH!

Here was something normal. Here was a minor movement. Here was something any physical therapist ought to understand. I can’t do Pilates swimming without major pain. But my PT prescription is expired. And I don’t want to fit PT into my life again. The whole point is that I want my life back.

So, here’s my radical solution. I’m going to do Pilates Swimming, even though it HURTS because it is a minor movement. There’s no way I can injure myself doing it. And I can hope that repetition will increase my range of motion, painfree motion.

This is a strange victory. I’ve found exercises that hurt in the right places. I refuse to settle for a normal life, sitting in chairs. I want my life back.

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