Toturo-therapy continues


Today I completed my  28th session with a torturo-therapist. 

Today marks the end of my twice-a-week visits.  Next week I start one session a week until the end of July.  

So how I am going?  Well, an artist I will never be….  these are the 3rd or 4th renditions but you will get the idea. They might have been better if I'd had a compass and protractor set – but probably not!

This is the exercise I do most of  -  the I's,  Y's and T's..  

First I lie on a bench on my stomach with my head and shoulders hanging over the edge and then lift my arms to make the letters IYT.  I do this with no weight; 1lb weights and then 2 lb weights – 2 sets each letter position with each weight.   
I then stand and do the same letters but with 2 sets of 1lb weights and then 2 sets of 2 lbs weights.  I did advance momentarily to a 3lb weight but on the first Y I did something very bad to my deltoid muscle – something that required me not to do any lifting at all for over a week and then to downgrade the weight!

Oh – but I've jumped ahead!  When I first get there I do 10 minutes on an "arm bike" and then I lie on my back on the bench and my torturer pulls my arm as hard as she can and then ties it with belts to the legs of the table.  This is extended stretching – 6 -8 minutes in 3 different positions.  This hurts!     

Then I do those IYT things and then I get to play with giant elastic bands on a pulley – those are actually pretty easy and I am on the strongest elastic.  They don't let me do many of these as I am strong but I don't have range of motion -  doing strengthening exercises when you don't have range of motion shortens the muscle more.  

So here we come to "art' displaying what my range of motion is: 

Lifting my arm straight up from my body (in a Roman salute motion) gets it *almost* level with my ear – I have 8 more degrees to achieve full ROM. (cartoon top right)

Lifting my arm from the side of my body – it also has to get up near my ear…..  I find this one the hardest motion to do. It feels as though a huge claw is sitting on my shoulder when I try this.  Degrees to full ROM – another 36 degrees! 

Then, that handy little movement that allows you to do up your bra at the back instead of hooking it at the front and swiveling it around (not easy in humid weather!)….  it also has more than 30 degrees to go but this motion doesn't hurt – it just doesn't happen!  (Edited to add:  that's the bottom photo but things have got reversed – my right arm is at the bottom trying to crawl upwards but it should be on the right hand side because you are looking at my back.  Where was GOM when I needed him with his snazzy little line drawings!).  

Oh and another one which I didn't draw because I forgot it…   See how easy it is to get the crook of your arm (the inside of your elbow) up to your nose?   My left arm does it easily so I know most of you can do it too…  Pathetically, my right arm crook is 7 inches away from my nose – and that's with cheating a little by bringing my head forward!! 

These ROM limitations are why I have to keep going to PT -  I hope I will be done at the end of July.  Sometimes I feel that I'm never going to get the full range back but then I remember how at first I couldn't get my arm an inch away from my body in any direction and I realise how far I've come!!

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43 responses

  1. You are really making great progress. I know it doesn't feel like much at times, but like you said, when you look back you have progressed! Having normal range of motion is something we ALL take for granted until we lose it. I am going to go around with my nose stuck in my elbow pits and smiling a lot.

  2. Thank you Lauri – I can't think of any really practical reason to be able to get our elbow "pits" to our nose but now that I can't do it, I really want to be able to get it there! LOL.

  3. LOL – I will never give you any competition in the art category – I've just realised that I drew the bottom one with my arms reversed – my right one is at the bottom but because you are looking at my back it should be on the right side!!

  4. Wow, thats a lot of hard work. Our gym has a PT section and I often see people on the arm bikes. I was really wondering what all those people were doing with the arm bikes. Now I know.

  5. Where were you when I needed help with my drawings!!! Well, every time I write "roman salute" I think of the laugh you will get from it and how you will miss it when those last 8 degrees are achieved and I don't use it anymore. Bras are such troublesome things…..

  6. Thank you Katiebell. I forgot to mention that I "peddle" the arm bike forwards for 5 minutes and then backwards for 5. The backwards motion really hurt when I first started doing it and still twinges now. It's meant to loosen everything up before the real work starts – she also puts a heat pad on me for 5 minutes before she pulls my arm nearly out of its socket. I bet that really hurt to break all your fingers!!! The hand therapist is amazing to watch – the people who come in for therapy on their hands get to play with some really funky equipment. One is a box that they stick their hand in and it blows sawdust stuff all around the hand; another looks like a meat tenderizer pushing on their hands.My therapist measures my ROM with what looks like a geometry set I used in high school and she charts it. At home I've measured my progress by how many louvers I can reach up my closet door.

  7. When we first got this insurance company I found that none of my doctors would take it and I had to really search for some who would (their book of providers is very slim!)…. but on the other hand they have unlimited PT and they are also good on "wellness" and preventative type services like deep tissue massage and chiropractic.

  8. LOL …. actually I've been surprised at the number of women who do the whole swivel thing. It's something I've never had to do before and it's really cumbersome I think trying to get the "girls" in and settled properly!

  9. Mercy! Do they expect that you will regain full range of motion? I should try doing your exercises. I doubt I can do much better, although I can touch my nose to the inside of my elbows. I've got one more week of freedom before I start heavy duty physical therapy.

  10. You have been very faithful in going your exercises and I am sure that has speeded your recovery and probably gotten back more range of motion than most people would have. I am sure you are quite tired of all of it and wish you could chuck it. Hang in there!! I hope it goes by quickly!

  11. lol! when i read 'torturo-therapist' i was thinking, hmm. what kind of a therapist is that? is it a specific type of therapy?
    then i got what you meant.
    yeah. me not so bright. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Wow! Keep at it. My father in law didn't; he can't lift either arm above the bottom of his ribcage really. Can't bend one ankle, at all, and very limited range in one knee–because without insurance, he just gets his injuries casted, and then cuts the casts off when he decides he's better. End of medical care! He moves like the tin man–before Dorothy oiled him!

  13. Congrats on the good progress (even though you probably like it to go faster ;)…) Hearing this makes me realize how lucky I was when I crashed with my bike and hit my elbow on the asphalt. I "only" had a crack in the joint, which healed pretty quickly and required no physiotherapy. Or well let's say the Doc should have probably prescribed it, but in my simplemindedness I did the right arm movements for a few week after the cast came off.For the the first few years sometimes the joint would lock itself if I tried to stretch out the arm. But I only had to move it back (kind of folding it that my hand would meet my shoulder) and then it would unlock. Today it's almost no problem anymore.

  14. I don't like the sound of "heavy duty" physical therapy…… I remember when I started that after a few weeks of the therapist just massaging my arm. People suggested I take a pain killer before I went………..

  15. Thank you FS – Yes, I have been really good with my home program – I actually get out of bed at 5.30am so I can do it before I go to work. I really want to get as much range of motion back as possible and that's not going to happen without some effort from me no matter how much I hate it – which I do ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. LOL @ the YMCA dance….. my therapist goes to square dancing once a week. ๐Ÿ™‚ She's fairly young so that sort of cracks me up every time we talk about it.

  17. LOL – it is really torturous when she ties me up – we call it PT-bondage! The other activities I can sort of give up on; not lift as high or stop totally when it gets too much but when she ties my arm into a position I can't do anything except wait the time. I try deep breathing and counting and sticking the fingernails of my other hand into my thigh …….

  18. Ouch – your poor father-in-law – that must be awful. Between my foot and my shoulder I probably have enough home programs to get me through any further injuries on my own but it's nice to have someone to push me. On the internet exercises can be found for rehabilitating most parts of the body – it's a matter of making ourselves do them though. We have a friend who broke his collarbone in a motorbike accident. He gave up PT after just a few sessions and now can't raise his arm out the side to indicate when he's turning on his bike!

  19. I'm glad that your elbow joint healed so well – there must have been a time when you wondered if it was going to lock up like that forever. We are so rough on our poor bodies! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. thought it might be cheerleading instructions for The World Cup ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh LOL… I'm Australian remember – we don't do cheerleading. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, if those are cheerleading moves perhaps one day I will be able to set up a squad in the senior citizens home – I'll be really good at it by then!

  21. Thank you Alicia – as with most things in life we don't appreciate something until it's gone. It had never really occurred to me before how easy it is to get the elbow "pit" to my nose – it doesn't seem to be something that's very handy – until you can't do it!

  22. Thanks! They brought my ROM (range of motion) machine today. Good thing I hadn't seen this thing before I decided to have surgery. Yuck! I thought I would be able to sit in a chair and watch TV or read while I did my therapy. Wrong! It had to be done lying down. Plus I'm supposed to do it 6 to 7 hours a day! Wonder if I could sleep with the thing moving my knee?

  23. Ouch! I remember after my foot surgery and months in a cast I had to spend a lot of time on a machine they called "the reformer" – just the name brought up images of old fashioned torture. 6 or 7 hours a day is a lot!! It would be difficult for me to maintain enthusiasm for that.

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