After "over-doing" it the last couple of weeks and being forced to slow down until my PT gives me the green light, my boys have been nothing short of amazing. Clearly losing crutches doesn't mean to go from 5,000 steps a day to an average of over 13,000. It's so hard to remember that just because my hip now feels good, that my muscles are still being strengthened and not ready for the "full-speed-me".
My PT has steadily been bumping up weight bearing exercises over the last few weeks since the loss of my crutches. I have tolerated this well. Unfortunately, that Tuesday all my quad muscles, upper hip muscles, side muscles, and glute muscles locked up bringing back the burning myofascial pain, pulling, throbbing sensation. After an emergency phone call to my Dry Needle Therapist and a round of trigger point injections the trigger points are subsiding.
I definitely had that "freak-out" moment of WTF, but my PT was very encouraging that this is a minor set back and jumped the gun going crutch free. He explained that because my glute muscles had locked up, my quads and other front leg muscles took over causing the downward spiral. For those that have read my blog in it's entirety, remember that dysplastic hips don't trigger proper use of the glute muscles causing other muscles in your leg to pick up the slack.
I hopped from being inactive to "pre-dysplasia-symptom-me". I was forced to do a lot of vacuuming to control allergies from a dog I ended up being allergic to (he has since gone back), being primary for the kids, activities, work, house- it all ended up being too much at once (I even hired helped for some of those days).
My newest advice for those coming up the rear when you loose the crutches - test the water, but still be cautious. TAKE BREAKS. Don't assume that no pain means your muscles aren't overworked. They are sneaky. It's very easy to hop back into old activities, but muscles take time to come back online just like bone takes time to heal.
I can't really stress what a set back like this does to the mind for the majority of us dealing with dysplasia. A flood-gate of raw, buried emotions came flooding through which I am still trying to process.
Fear and uncertainty if I will ever be free of this.
Frustration from having to be patient for so long and for continuing to have to be patient.
Anger, pure anger.
As I mentioned in my Chronic Pain post, the emotions that we go through is similar to the grieving process. However, for those people with Chronic Pain, I am finding that we may cycle through them at any given time as we deal with the effects of dysplasia and subsequent rehab.
I also think for those of us who had more of a negative impact from dysplasia before diagnosis with regard to muscle and myofascial pain, our journey and rehab might be longer. Not only do we have to train our new muscles to respond, but they have to grow stronger after being weak for so long.
1. Be aware of how much you are doing. Don't try and be a super star... your muscles will win
2. Embrace the small milestones; even after a set-back. Learn how your body responds and trust that it will bounce back once again.
3. Don't compare your progress to someone else's. We each have our own story and unique complications. We are not text book cases, nor is our rehab.
4. Don't settle for average PT's... You need skilled people that are able to use multiple techniques and have a strong understand of hips, muscles, and any other condition you might have like hyper-mobility. I have two- they know each other, and although they don't professionally work together, they are both willing to pair treatments to support the best rehab possible for me.
5. Seek out things that keep you positive. Often times we need to remove ourselves from things that can trigger unwanted emotions. I rely heavily on mindfulness, meditation, audio books, volunteer work, and other brain stimulating activities. Most of us were active prior to symptoms setting in. It is hard for us to not be active. But if we keep our mind engaged in other positive areas, it is easier to accept.
6. Full rehab from PAO surgery can take up to a year. We are still on the Rehab Ride. There are 52 weeks in a year. Percentage wise, this means I am only 34% into my rehab. Kind of a sobering wake up call when you look at recovery this way.