June 04, 2007
It has been several weeks now since the doctor diagnosed my back condition as severe degenerative disk disease (read arthritis). I've had a physical therapy evaluation, and two follow-up PT sessions. Tomorrow I have the final follow-up session and then I am on my own.
The PT has consisted of lower back strengthening and stretching exercises. I have sixteen different activities to perform on a daily basis now, about 30 minutes worth of effort. The exercises themselves are simple to perform, they just require that I do them in order to be effective. It seems that late in the evening, towards bedtime, is the best time for me to work them into my routines.
It is hard to say what kind of impact they are having but I think they are making a difference. Over the weekend I helped pack, lift, and move several hundred pounds of books, music, and furniture with no ill effects. There are still times that my back hurts, but I haven't had a debilitating episode since the first weekend in May.
We have been trying to walk more, trying to exercise more without much success. It is hard to insert new activities in to a routine. Harder still to accomplish that when the routine is already undergoing major changes and upheaval. In another couple of weeks the move will be largely behind us and we can start to focus on daily life again. I think we'll be more capable of taking daily walks and perhaps attending Tai Chi classes after that milestone has been reached.
For now I am doing pretty good. I understand that my back will never be has strong or flexible as it was when I was younger, but I am hopeful that I can retard the effect of arthritis and keep the strength and flexibility I currently have.