Monday, July 8, 2013

Progress is slow, but it IS progress

While I was on the tour, I had some problems with my hands going numb.  My friend, Carla the Wonderful, was able to help me make some position/posture changes that helped with that, but when I got back home, my fingertips were still numb.  All of the fingers and only the fingertips, left hand more than right.

My primary care doctor ruled out medication side effects and Vit B deficiencies and referred me to a sports medicine doctor who ruled out carpal tunnel, elbow problems and thoracic outlet syndrome.  He referred me to physical therapy and I have been seen there twice a week for about three weeks now.

So I was right.  The problem is in my neck/shoulder and is probably a result of the head-on collision I was in some 20+ years ago.  And now, what to do about it.  As therapy progressed, a lot of the tight muscles stretched and lengthened, but when they did, it put me back to where I was after the accident - my neck felt very fragile and my head seemed very heavy.  I felt like I had to balance my head on top of my neck or it would just fall off.  That was the feeling I had all those years ago and it made me feel insecure.  

My physical therapy assistant, a very nice young man fresh out of school, hit the nail on the head.  He said "You traded flexibility and function for stability" - give the man a gold star!  That is exactly what I did.  I worked very hard at keeping my neck and shoulder positioned in such a way that I didn't get the nerves all riled up and develop a migraine.  The headaches were debilitating and I did everything I could to avoid them, because at the time there wasn't much available to treat them.

So we've gone from about a 50/50 split between stretching/relaxing the tight muscles and developing their antagonists to more of a 25/75 split.  It seems to be working very well.  As my muscles develop and my posture/position improve, I feel less insecure and the stretching/relaxing goes better too.  Annnnnnnnd, this week I am starting to get sensation back in my fingertips.  Big sigh of relief.

I am trying to make some changes to my bike too, but that isn't going quite as well - stay tuned for further developments.  But there WILL be more bike tours in my future, count on it.

Gratuitous wildflower pictures from my Sunday morning ride.


Ken said...

You might try and find a GOOD bike fit specialist. By good I mean someone with more than a tape measure and some charts. They are out there but for sure not close by to you. I have never been to one but then again I never had much of an issue with fit. OR you can come over to the dark side and ride recumbent.

Judi said...

I've considered that - might be in Boston in September and that would be a better place, I'm sure. I just don't want someone that wants to "fit" me with a large credit card bill and I'm not sure how to find someone like that.