Why Can't You Pick Us Up, Mommy?
How Back Pain Hurt My Family...
Contrary to popular belief, a Physical Therapist is not Wonder Woman, nor Superman. When I take off my glasses, I just get blurry vision. It would be marvelous if our only weakness was kryptonite but alas injury, weakness, and pain can all still affect us.
Most of us actually end up pursuing physical therapy as a profession due to a personal encounter with injury (our arch nemesis), that lead to physical therapy interventions taking place; defeating pain, and arising out of the ashes to become true believers of physical therapy.
Yes, it is true as normal citizens we do not possess the remarkable ability to heal quickly. The injuries I sustained in the past had left me in pain for long periods of time. From whip lash and cervical radiculopathy in a car accident, to plantar fasciitis and a rotator cuff tear from working long repetitive hours. In fact, I even produced a miracle by delivering twins but that left me with a huge abdominal split (Diastasis) and struck a huge blow to my back.
Postpartum pain persisted after I had twins. Delivering my twins caused back pain that hardly ceased. At that time, I was living in Germany, as a refugee with two small babies I had to care for by myself. Mornings were the worst. Pain and stiffness felt unbearable. Morning would come, and the pain would start again the moment I opened my eyes. Every single movement was excruciating. Getting up and picking up my girls from their crib seemed close to impossible. The pain brought me to tears. I felt defeated, alone, just praying for some relief (no bat signal available). My baby girls would cry when I wasn’t able to pick them up or hold them. One afternoon, I sat in self-reflection realizing that this pain was affecting my entire family’s quality of life. Questions spewed from my mind, but one was always repetitive, “How can I get relief?” “When this will go away so I can take care of them?”
In addition to the many struggles I faced with newborns, I was in a foreign country, didn’t know the language, couldn’t drive and had no extra income. I constantly wished that I just knew someone that could take away my pain, my obstacles, so that I could heal right and be a dependable mom. But no one was there to answer my plea…
I finally managed to find a doctor practicing in the neighborhood, who spoke my language. He sent me home with a prescription for pain medication and muscle relaxants. The next morning came and the pain was still there, just slightly better. I attempted to get out of bed but almost fell backward. I felt dizzy, weak and unstable due to the pain medication and muscle relaxants. Picking up my twin girls was not just painful; it became unsafe. They cried all day long. I was desperate for help. Where’s a radioactive spider when you need one?
Improvement came with exercises I self-prescribed. I did them every morning before getting out of the bed to “unlock my spine” and fight the stiffness. I remember laying on my bed, knees bent to my chest, rocking side to side, twisting in different directions. Then I would turn to onto my knees and stretch my hips while still in the bed. After a week, I managed to slide out of the bed and begin stretching in a standing position. I did this for two weeks and the pain in the morning subsided significantly. I progressed the program with core, pelvic floor, and lumbo-pelvic stabilization exercises. Final I found my elixir, my long lasting relief.
I want you to know that you are not alone and that there is hope.
Watch the series of exercises I used to defeat my postpartum back pain and get back to taking care of my daughters.
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