Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,

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Knee PT

I had my appointment with the physical therapist about my arthritis/knee pain today, and came home feeling very discouraged and overwhelmed. Apparently, the things I've been doing that have been hurting my knees are actively grinding down the cartilege, making the problem worse. This includes things like walking up stairs, which I do (according to my Fitbit) about an average of 25 times every day (often twice that much). The PT urged me to walk up stairs as little as possible, which doesn't make things easy when I live in a 2-story house and attend CWC (where all the meeting rooms and Art Room are all upstairs). The PT wants me to limit myself to only walking up 1-5 flights of stairs per day for the next 4 weeks, until my muscles are strengthened by the exercises he's prescribed. That sounds nearly impossible, which was part of what was discouraging.

The exercises are the other thing that was discouraging, because they're quite difficult, making it obvious to me that the muscles supporting my knee—the muscles the exercises are working—are far weaker than I realized. I've always been proud of my strong legs, but the PT explained that in all my walking and such I'm just compensating by using other muscles, never actually strengthening the ones that support my knees, that I can't actually improve those muscles without targeting them very specifically. Which is what I'll be doing with these difficult exercises.

He also commented that he noticed that I breathe very fast, which was a known problem for me. I already knew that I tend to breathe into my upper chest instead of into my diaphragm, and I breathe more quickly than would be most healthy. So the PT wants me to do breathing exercises every day, too, in order to make the other exercises more effective. Something to do with getting more oxygen to the muscles.

I feel completely overwhelmed. I wasn't even sure I wanted to do this PT in the first place, since my knee pain isn't constant or debilitating, but the doc assured me that I've been doing more damage to my knees every day and that it's important to address the problem as soon as possible (i.e., now) if I don't want the pain to become constant and debilitating.


So Shannon suggested moving my computer downstairs for the time being, so that I'm not tempted to walk upstairs when I want to use it. At first I pooh-poohed the idea as completely unnecessary, but then I started thinking about what it's going to mean to be avoiding stairs as much as possible, and then I agreed. So we're going to move my computer down here, probably into the kitchen or dining room, for the next month at least. Having privacy in my office is important to me, so this is going to affect me in multiple ways.

There's a big part of me that says, "This PT is making a big deal out of nothing—my knees don't hurt much at all," but he was pretty insistent about the urgency of taking action, so I guess I'm going along with it.

The pain in my ass is considerably greater than the current pain in my knees, but I have to assume this guy knows what he's talking about and that it's all worth it.
Tags: breathing, knees, physical therapy, privacy, stairs

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