Physical therapy is magic

I just got back from my first physical therapy session, and I guess these doctors actually know stuff. She very quickly diagnosed my problem as an out-of-whack iliosacral joint — I was asymmetrical, one hip higher than the other. So she laid me out, gave me 3 hard yanks on the right leg, and bob’s your uncle, I was symmetrical again. But also pretty sore. I’ve got some simple exercises to do, an ice pack, and a warning to avoid sitting awkwardly. That’s it! I’ll live! And even better, I’m feeling less pain already.

Now all I have to is avoid doing anything stupid and quit pretending I’m as flexible as a teenager, and I’ll be out stomping the fields for spiders in a few weeks.

(Actually, PT isn’t magic, it’s science.)


  1. says

    I’m at the early falling apart stage. Strange pains appear and disappear. Usually if I think about what I’ve been doing differently lately I can figure it out and correct it. I guess the only nice thing about getting old is you have a good baseline. And then you die.

  2. loop says

    That sounds like one of the few occasional where even a chiropractor would have been right!

  3. says

    Magic is any sufficiently advanced science*.

    This seems sufficiently advanced to me.

    (* well… technology, but in this case it’s technology which is very definitely science-based)

  4. birgerjohansson says

    “PT isn’t magic”
    Sacrificing my neighbour to Nerthus paid off (You are welcome).

  5. danamania says

    SI joint pain is one of my least favourite aches. I had it for a while on & off and it was so persistent, unchanging, and affected my movement so badly.

    The day I found a couple of movements that worked for me to give it a wriggle on to settling back into place was life changing. Took a while until it really felt back to normal, but eh – getting old.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    “avoid doing anything stupid”
    -And therein is the crux of a surprising amount of disease.

  7. says

    The exercise I’ve been given is to hold a ball or pillow between my knees and try to crush it 5 times for a few minutes each time, a couple of times a day. That’s simple and easy, and far preferable to sharp spasms of pain every time I bend.

  8. says

    Speaking of stupid, one thing I realized that my problem worsened dramatically after my trip to Wisconsin, a 4 hour drive. With clutter on the floor of the car that I had to twist myself to sit comfortably. That may have been the major cause — don’t sit asymmetrically, don’t stand for long periods with one leg higher than the other, don’t be stupid with your creaky old body.

  9. Artor says

    Oww! I had my SI joint lock up for about 9 months, and I have too much muscle for my chiropractor to be able to adjust it. So I just suffered and limped and kept working on it until one day I completely exhausted myself working on a roof, and self-medicated heavily with weed, and went through my stretches. Then I heard a CRACK! come from my pelvis, and suddenly had my full range of motion again.

  10. Craig says

    @PZ, that also sounds like: “Clean the clutter from the floor of your car.” Or at least get someone who isn’t suffering from joint pain to do it for you.

  11. says

    You’re lucky actually. Low back pain can be idiopathic and chronic. That the PT was able to identify a specific cause and correct it is not always the case. And no, a chiropractor would not have been helpful, this is not a “sunbluxation of the spine”.

  12. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin suggests what really happened is the physical therapist simply rebooted all the microchips implanted by the Covid-19 vaccine. Things are now whirling along nicely, doing, ah, well, something… however, unless she (the therapist, not the penguin) downloaded recent updates, the same systemic crash could occur again, presumably again resulting in a loss of stability and other pains.

  13. Artor says

    @ Cervantes: Not all chiropractors are full of woo. Mine is very good and practical, except when I am too tightly-bound. Last time she adjusted my spine, she ended up throwing her own out.

  14. says

    My sister, the physical therapist, says: “Your doctor fixes you, but your physical therapist HEALS you.” I believe her. The things she taught my Mom to prolong her comfort and mobility into her 100th year were amazing and compassionate. I cringe if anyone bad mouths a physical therapist. I know there must be bad ones out there, but I haven’t come across them.

  15. chesapeake says

    Low back pain is very common, can be debilitating and refractory to treatment. I recommend following through with PT to help avoid worse troubles down the road. Most important avoid things that will harm you in the first place. I foolishly lifted an enormous weight in 1985 and the injury I sustained morphed into chronic pain in 1999 with much PT and loads of opiates to this day. If only I had known enough not to have lifted that rock…

  16. christoph says

    I have similar problems-most of my injuries are from refusing to admit that I’m not a teenager anymore.
    I’m glad you’re better!

  17. Jazzlet says

    Good, and great that you have an exercise to do too, I always feel better if I can do something about a pain myself.

  18. says

    don’t be stupid with your creaky old body

    It is surprising low long it can take to learn that lesson, even for smart people.
    And sometimes it’s relatively simple things, such as having a desk or workbench that’s correctly adjusted for your height. Or ditching that 15-year old cheapy mattress.

  19. brightmoon says

    That’s exactly the reason I started dancing again ( I was just too stiff) I’m a little hyper flexible and if I get stiff or gain too much weight , it’s very painful because my joints get weak and floppy . Everything hurt : knees, ankles ,hips , lower back . I started strengthening and stretching things slooooowly about 2 years ago ( I’m pushing 70) and nothing hurts now . I can’t move like a teenager but it’s not too bad.

  20. magistramarla says

    My SI joint has not been the same since 2015, when a surgeon botched my back surgery. The second surgery in 2016 repaired the majority of what was done wrong, but the SI joint has never stopped hurting.
    Three years with a great PT practice had me doing much better, but COVID struck before I could get established with a decent Primary Care doctor and Physical Therapist here in my new community.
    Now I’m back in pain, and I really need that PT. I’m glad that you’re getting the help that you need, PZ.
    I found that water walking in the pool at the gym helped a lot, too. I can’t wait until it’s safe to go back to the gym.

  21. johnniefurious says

    It’s weird how PT can be simple and stupid. I was experiencing vertigo and dizziness a few years ago and it turned out some structures (crystals) in my inner ear were out of alignment (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo).

    I kid you not, the therapy was to shake my head to the side, not unlike whacking the side of a TV that was on the fritz.

    Bob’s your uncle.

  22. DanDare says

    Four years ago I did my back in. Couldn’t stand. Couldn’t even sit upright. Desperate times.
    A physio who was also a researcher at UQ lived up the road. 6 months of painful, tiring work got me on my feet again. The early stuff was as light and simple as you describe but was horrific none the less.
    Years later I jog, bush walk, use veridesks for my work and am forever thankful to the physio who knew what he was doing.