You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Physical Therapy or Premeditated Torture - You Decide!

Actually, despite the title of this piece, my physical therapy has been going well. The PT (or Physical Therapist*) suspects that I have either a "herniated disc" in my back, or some related muscular or nerve injury, and has put me on some exercises and tried, in the first two visits, some tactics to loosen up my spine.

Loosening the spine is quite nervy, as it turns out, pun intended. At the first session, I was hooked up to a device which administers regular pulses of electricity to your body, in this case my upper back. I was seated facing away from the machine, so I couldn't ever get a good look to see what the voltage limits were on it or if it was stamped with "Property of State Prison System."

It turned out to be quite bearable. Nonetheless, as the PT was turning up the levels and asking if that was comfortable, I selected a comfort level well below the "Fry" setting, if indeed it had one. My setting was more like "Gently Buzz", the equivalent of getting a massage from 4 friendly bumblebees (no stingers allowed).

Yesterday's session involved a device that I was attached to at the head. That is, my head was strapped to this device that slowly strectched my neck, as the PT pumped air into it with what appeared to be a bicycle pump. I asked if he could air up my motorcar tires afterwards, but I'm not sure he heard that remark. Also, I could have sworn I saw the words "patent 1487 - Torquemada" on the device, but I'm fairly certain I misread that.

The stretching exercises are another matter entirely. Two of them are all right, though one of those makes me look like an extra from The Bangles video Walk Like an Egyptian. The other two are quite uncomfortable though. The funny thing is that, in and of themselves, they hardly seem stressful, being just two different versions of a neck and back injury. However, they make my arm and hand hurt like the blazes.

I'm sure it's just the injury, but in the back of my mind I expect to be perusing some martial arts journal one day and see two different holds entitled "The stinging viper" and "The bonegrinding gorilla" whose illustrations precisely match the ones on my therapy sheet.

It is helping though. Now the pain is mostly in my hand and arm. That's progress! More as I progress. I've been told I'll have a chance at more electroshock on Monday. I think I'll chance moving up to "Slow Braise" on the dial.

* I have a sister-in-law who is a licensed PT with a Master's degree. She's a gentle soul, but I don't want to chance her deciding to use whatever oriental Kung-Fu pain techniques they teach PTs by suggesting the title has an optional definition.

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