[Tripping On…] Physical Therapy Cupping, Part 17

After I told my physical therapist that my previous session left me tired for nearly a full day, Doctor-Number-Fourteen adjusted the options we’re trying for therapy. I’ve given him the moniker -Fourteen because he’s providing medical advisement for me and remotely helping my primary care physician Doctor-Number-Nine with my treatment. We’re still applying desensitization and light stretches, but we also tried cupping, since the skin around my lower back is not responding to normal sensations.

I’m not sure how much I like cupping but I’ll try it again.

The technique -Fourteen used was just a glass bottle with a lever, so no fire or anything fancier than just pulling a lever to increase the amount of pressure. My right side responded better than my left. -Fourteen applied two bottles, one on the right and one on the left side of my back, behind my belly button, and it felt like he put the left bottle significantly higher on my back than he did.

I also didn’t recognize all the touch sensations on my back.

There’s something weird going on back there that I can hopefully sort out between the stretches/exercises, PT, and medications. I flushed down the Methocarbamol. -Nine said this was an acceptable way to get rid of the muscle relaxer that didn’t help me much. I picked up the Tylenol/Acetaminophen with Codeine and Pregabalin before PT with about five minutes to spare. Although I should be using the stairs more, I’ve been using the elevator and ramp, partially for story ideas, but mainly because walking up and down so many flights of stairs is a daunting task for me.

I’ll take the Pregabalin shortly after I’m done writing this essay.

We wrapped up early but of my own choosing. Between the desensitization and cupping, my pain tolerances reached its threshold probably within the first twenty minutes. I’m not used to that. I’m used to having a burn on my arm and not feeling much pain, except maybe some stinging. Or, being able to row as much as I want and only feeling tired because I’m bored and not because I’m exhausted.

I would say my pain thresholds aren’t calibrated correctly.

I wore my massage vest – which is this blanket you can wear almost like a vest that has two vibration and heating settings after you plug it in and turn it on – today for the first time in months. While the vibrations were fine, I actually found the middle of my back, which is where I assume is the primary pain point, directly behind my belly button, to feel significantly warmer than anywhere else on my back. It was warm enough that I had to stop the heat and let that area get some air. I had never experienced that before.

After the desensitization and cupping, I lay on my stomach with a hot blanket over my back.

The heat felt about the same as it did at my last PT session and not as hot as it did with my massage vest. I guess that’s my current heat threshold? If I look back over my weeks off, my first week was just de-escalating my mind’s reaction to whatever stress was going on to my back. I started PT on my second week off and this is midway through my third week. I’m not at all at a point where I can operate with any degree of normalcy. I can fairly accept the criticism that I should get up and move around to stretch things back into order.

It’s just when I do that, I’m wiped out for the next day, at least.

My mind is overreacting to the mildest stress stimulus right now, which is fine if it needs to heal up, but now I’d say my back is just being bratty. What I expect from these two medications is a sort of mental and physical reset of my brain’s rewiring to the reactions it’s giving toward anything related to my back. The Pregabalin, as -Nine and the pharmacist described, should reset things long-term. The Codeine should help for short-term pain. We’ll see how it goes with the Pregabalin tonight and I’ll probably save the Tylenol/Acetaminophen-Codeine for another day.

Or if I wake up tomorrow in a significant amount of pain still.

With nine days left on the clock before I will have been out of work for a month over this, I would like to get things sorted out. I could have done more with this past month than sitting here, mainly in pain although at times not, dealing with this. If there’s anything I could say about it, as much as I tried to remedy the problem myself, it quickly escalated out of control, and that was with having gone to now seventeen PT appointments. To be fair, a majority of those were specifically targeting my upper back, so my upper back is fine, but I just wonder…

Was this the cause all along?

Did I have some kind of full spinal issue? Probably not fibromyalgia, but some kind of acute spinal issue that transferred from my upper back to my lower back? Maybe the issue never really went away, but instead, lay dormant? This sort of extensive subjective self-reporting on pain should be useful to someone, even if none of these essays amount to much of anything medically viable. It’s just someone’s meandry thoughts on the sensations they’ve been going through for six months now.

To conclude my PT reporting, we ended early, and I don’t feel exhausted.

I responded better to the desensitization today than two days ago, so my body might be learning to better cope with its perceived pain. Nothing else has really changed other than pushing through the pain, so if I continue to do that, maybe I’ll be back to my normal soon? If not, I can always take another two weeks off.

It would be preferable for me to get back to work… or at least active again.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Writing about my experiences more in-the-moment – I got home about three and a half hours ago.
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 May 13 [8:04pm to 8:40pm]
Last Edited: 2020 May 13 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.