Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy, are you hoping to be able to go on vacation without having to worry about your back? Or make accommodations for your back the whole time you're there? If that sounds familiar, then you're exactly like my client Lucy. Lucy is a 45 year old woman. She has two kids that are in high school and they have annual trips to Vail, Colorado. Basically they're always going skiing. And because obviously here in Houston, we don't get to ski. This ski trip was their annual trip and it would be a big trip. The whole family loves to go. She knows now because her kids are in high school, that these trips are limited. And last year, one year was stolen from them because of course it was COVID and all the restrictions. They weren't really able to go on a family vacation last year.
And so here, Lucy, is she again is 45. She has these two beautiful kids and she's also taking care of her mom. She knows that back pain is just sort of an everyday life thing. You just sort of “muscle through it” and everybody kind of has a little bit of it. So she doesn't let it stop her everyday life,
but it came to a head and she started thinking about this upcoming trip, and where they're going to go skiing.
And she started thinking about how bad her back hurts all the time.
And it became very apparent that she was going to be very nervous, that whole trip.
When she calls me, she's telling me about her back pain and she's describing how it hurts while she's walking. It hurts really bad if she has to stand in one place so standing at the grocery store lines has become particularly uncomfortable. She's noticing it when she sits for long periods at her desk. These were just a little annoying pains for the most part. I mean, you can sort of get up and stretch. And as long as you're not stuck in a long conference call or on a deadline project you can get up and walk around and help ease her back. But she was noticing that these pains were sort of getting worse and worse. And again, she's taking care of her mom and
her mom has had multiple back surgeries and each one of them helped a little bit, but it wasn't the miracle cure they were all hoping for.
She's seeing herself kind of like, “Hmm, is this 40, and is this really as good as it's going to get? Because it's looking pretty bleak right now. I'm getting very afraid and very anxious.” She told me, “I'm just very anxious about what is going to happen in the next couple years. And I only have so much more time with these family vacations with my kids. And I really just don't want to waste them on being worried about what's going to happen with my back.
What happens if I go and I absolutely just can't ski and I'm just stuck in the lodge board by myself while my family is out having a good time without me?”
So she's called and she's obviously very anxious; as one could be expected. Her back had bothered her for years but COVID made it worse because she was just stuck, not moving as much. Everything just sort of compounded. The aches got a little bit achier and the pains got a little bit more aggressive. Nothing stopped her from doing anything like she wasn't limited by anything, but these pains were just accumulating and getting worse and worse. Before she called me, she tried going to a massage therapist, which did help a little bit. It helped for a couple of weeks, but then the pain would come back. She tried going to the chiropractor. And again, that was fabulous, to begin with but she just noticed that the pain kept coming back and there wasn't really any long standing relief.
And so she was just trying to see what could help her when somebody randomly mentioned that physical therapy might be able to help.
She didn't even know what that meant. So she was calling me very, very skeptical. She had, she was like, “Well I've already tried massage. I've already tried chiropractic.” So what's the difference with physical therapy? I just asked her what she wanted to get back to. And again, the ski trip kept coming up. She just really, really wanted to make sure that she could go skiing without worrying about her back the whole time. Or having her back dictate what she did, How long she stood. How long she was out. How aggressive she was down the slope.
That was her real concern. So when she came in for the evaluation, that's where we had our mindset. Our mindset, wasn't just getting rid of pain because she'd been dealing with that forever.
The pain wasn’t as big of a deal. She wanted to make sure that she wasn't gonna hurt her back by going skiing. And she wanted to make sure that she could do it and enjoy herself. So that's where we started from with the evaluation. I looked at how she was moving. We did some hands-on assessments and we came up with a treatment plan specifically for her, with her goal specifically in mind. I explained how I generally work with people in that we will be dealing with pain management, no matter what is to help her get rid of her pain, but that wasn't the main focus. So it takes, you know, the first part of therapy is always getting rid of pain and making sure that insult to the muscles has stopped.
And then we switch into healing those tissues, not just stopping the pain, but healing those tissues. Then lastly one, which is where all these great goals come in, is making sure that your body is strong enough, do all the things that truly matter to you. Which in the case of Lucy was having a strong enough back and her being strong enough to get back into skiing. And that's what we did.
She is currently as we speak planning her ski trip with her family. It took a little tenacity, she had to come and deal with me for a little bit, but we were able to do all the things I just laid out. We were able to stop her back pain. We were able to heal her back and we were able to get her body strong enough that she can not only not worry about her back, but she knows how to treat it in the future because everybody falls off the exercise wagon, but she knows exactly what she needs to do to keep her back healthy for the years to come.
She told me that she has less anxiety about ending up with multiple surgeries like her mom, because she has tools now that her mom didn't have before she had all these surgeries. This has given her a whole lot of hope that she will be able to fully enjoy the next several family vacations before her kids go off to college and ultimately have their own families. That she is not imminently in danger of ending up in the same state that her mother is in right now.
This is what we do. This is fun, right? To get people back to skiing and get people back to the activities that they love.
Not everybody is ready to book right then. There, some people are listening to this video and they just want a few extra tips on how to keep their back healthy.
I have my best tips for, "7 Tips To Keep Your Back From Going Out More Than You!" I will have a link in the notes below this video.
In case you're still skeptical, but you're past just wanting basic tips for how to get these things better. If you want to sit down with me for 20 minutes, I save a few visits every week. I call them discovery visits and they help people who are kind of on the fence. They sort of think physical therapy could help, but they're not quite sure and they need a little more information to make that decision. So you come in, we speak, we find out what's going on with you specifically what your specific goals are. And we see if we're a good match. If we're a good match, then we talk about moving forward. And if not, then I help you find the best possible solution for your problem as we've discussed during that time. If this information would be helpful to anybody that, you know, please share it.
Otherwise I hope that you are having a very wonderful day and enjoying this lovely season, have a great one.
Here are some other blogs you will find interesting:
Is Your Posture The Reason For Your Chronic Low Back Pain?
Overcome Chronic Lower Back Pain And Get Back To The Active Life You Want
Back Brace or Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain?
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald