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Ataxia Support Network

Physical Therapy Assessment

#1

I have had some worsened back and neck pain and stiffness this past year. I got a new, sassy PCP, and she got me in with a physical therapist. I had an assessment this morning. Oh my goodness! What an eye opener!

I already knew that I had mild scoliosis, but he told me that I also have mild kyphosis. I’m a hunchback?? He said it was only mild but it would be giving me back pain when I lay flat. I had thought that was from having a big butt. I didn’t say that. I embarrass myself enough without making it worse.

He also said that I was hyper flexible, which was contributing to my problems. So I have been settling into postures that aren’t helpful or natural because I can. He said some of all of this could be from the ataxia-just from having learned ways to hold myself and move over the years.

So I have six weeks with him of relearning how to stay stable doing regular movements, regular sitting, laying and standing, and then if we get there he’ll help me get back to my walk/jog regimen again.

I’m excited! It’s been a long time since a health professional took the time to give me such a thorough evaluation and even longer since anyone had the gumption to help me improve anything.

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#2

You may want to ask about “how to fall” therapy as well – I mean, as long as you’re there. <<>>

azurelle

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#3

Yes! Falls are often shoved to the side, placed with the un-important stuff.
1 in 3 people experience falls each year. Women are more likely to be hospitalized because of falls than men. Most falls occur doing something unusual in our homes. Falls are the leading cause of injuries in the disabled and seniors. I could go on all day quoting statistics, however, I think my point is well highlighted, falls are bad. Out of all my visits from care personnel, falls and fall prevention was the most discussed.
There are many components involved in falls from fall prevention to recovery.
A PT (physiotherapist) will be able to educate about falls.

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#4

Speaking of falls, I took one last night. I got out of bed during the early hours to go to the bathroom. On the way back to bed, I took a flop and landed on my right side plus I wound up bending my finger back on the right hand. I’ve learned through earlier falls to relax when I’m falling since stiffening up is the cause of major things. Because I was kinda out of it being tired, I wasn’t able to relax fast enough. I didn’t do anything major [thank goodness] but there is some residual pain. In my opinion, because I’ve been taking vitamin D3 for many years and my constant exercising, my bones and body didn’t get major hurt.

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#5

:smirk: Being half asleep definitely makes me less aware and liable to fall. I can see the logic in learning how to fall safely, but at the time my mind goes blank and I just wait to ‘land’…

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#6

Interesting subject, falls. I used to come home from physio feeling so confident that I forgot to be careful and fell backwards. My muscles go rigid and I go down slowly … it’s quite a scary feeling. I cant control how I fall so I just take extra care not to.

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#7

There’s actually a method to the madness of fall, think of stunt people and the like. There is a proper way to fall. I have a friend with MS who swears by Fall PT – she states it’s saved her from great injury.

azurelle

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#8

Thanks for bringing this up! I definitely will ask him!

I was sorry to see the discussion of that “no symptom” dude go wrong and have to get shut down, but obviously I see why.

I do think there is a lot to the clean living and running routine. Specifically running. I am also hoping this physical therapy guy can help get me back to running and show me safer ways to do it. I don’t want to blow out my knees. I would also like to know what to do when my dog suddenly stops in front of me. That has been a big danger for me which I have not shared with my dr. He would not want me to run at all because I do fall sometimes doing it. I HAVE to take my dog because seeing my dog run in front of me let’s mimic his healthy rhythm.

The only update so far is that he is telling me that small muscle imbalances and instabilities are causing much bigger problems than I would have thought. The slight scoliosis makes one side weak, and requires slight modifications to exercises to make sure I’m stable and working the muscles correctly.

I might get one of those My Pillows. A lot of the muscle problems seem to be happening when I sleep, so changing my position to my side seems to be helping a lot as well.

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#9

Update for anyone following:

He’s having me do more core exercises to build stability. Then he had me do some challenging things today. Threw me for a loop.

I had to sit on a yoga ball and do a golf swing, while looking at my hands, not a target on the wall. Oh man. I felt like I was Evel Knievel riding a unicycle on a tightrope. It sucked.

I had to lay down and turn over like a snake, segment by segment, top down, not using my legs. I couldn’t do it on one side and in fact hurt my back trying. He said he’d think about it.

He said my ankles are very stiff and that I am rolling my ankles to the outside. My husband has said this habit has appeared with my ataxia. The PT said the ankle problem will hurt your knees. So if your knees hurt, see if your ankles are moving properly.

Then I tried to walk/jog with my dog and almost threw up. So I came home and sat down. The end.

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#10

:smirk: I’ve sometimes wondered about the logic of my NeuroPhysio. I need Vestibular Therapy, and one of the tasks listed was to sit on a cushion balancing a plastic cup on my head…Obviously this was for a more advanced patient :joy: And, my ankles must be terribly distorted, because my knees can be very painful :neutral_face: Last week, I had an appointment to see a Specialist in Central London, and we walked everywhere, no taxis or Tube. I couldn’t appreciate the surroundings because of the Vestibular problems, my eyes were firmly on the way ahead. I’m trying a new medication, fingers crossed it gives some relief :crossed_fingers::slightly_smiling_face:xB

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#11

Yeah I’m not going to do the golf thing. It’s hard to explain to these guys that kicking in the ataxia symptoms doesn’t help. I have been doing the other core strengthening exercises and I DO thing they help.

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#12

I would also like to add that any cardio exercise is important.

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