At the end of November last year, I visited a local Circle Clinic locally. They offer privately funded advice and treatment and what really attracted me to them was the fact that they offer pain rehabilitation. So it’s all about learning how to live with persistent pain.
Over the course of last year I underwent various investigations to determine the cause of lower back pain and pain in my left hip. I was fortunate to be referred to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore by my GP. The hospital is a centre of excellence and provides a comprehensive range of neuro-musculoskeletal health care, ranging from acute spinal injury to orthopaedic medicine and specialist rehabilitation for chronic back pain sufferers. This broad range of services is unique within the NHS.
I had MRI scans of my lower spine and hip and they have determined that there is “minimal posterior disc protrusion at L 1/2. mild lumbar degenerative changes at the facet joints at L3/4, L4/5 and L5S1.”
Much of the damage is caused by the mechanics of walking – I don’t have proper ball and socket hip joints.
We discussed a pain management plan and the hip consultant agreed with my thoughts on devising a regular programme of non-weight bearing exercise. I don’t want to have to take pain killers on a regular basis.
At the Circle Clinic, after an initial assessment by a specialist consultant in rehabilitation, I was referred on to an Orthotist and Phsyio at the Clinic.
The Orthotist quickly determined that I do not need the shoe raise I have been using for over 15 years. In fact, with my right sided ankle fusion, the toe of my shorter (fused ankle) leg is longer than my long leg! He gave me some temporary heel inserts to try out for a month (in boots and trainers). He felt that my gait and balance, the level of my pelvis appeared improved with these. If I feel this is an improvement, he will arrange to get me a custom made insert that supports my high instep too.
Certainly the inserts have felt better and I felt more balanced. He also works as a consultant in the Orthotics dept at the local hospital who do my shoe raises, so he managed to retrieve the two boots I’d just taken to have built up! (Perfect timing!!).
The Physio has agreed that I need to get back to a regular exercise routine. I have already explored swimming (with disabled swimming club), will look to going back to Pilates regularly (one-to-one) and arranged to go back to Clinic in the new year for him to work with me on some exercises. He’s going to set me up on the Alter-G (anti-gravity treadmill) and if I like that and he feels it will benefit me, I can go back and use it unsupervised. I also saw the Hydro Physio aquatic treadmill in use.
He thinks a lot of my pain comes from the shortening of my muscles and tendons at the front of my legs/thigh (too much sitting) and that I need to work on laying on my front and improving / stretching the muscle which will hopefully help with the pains I am experiencing.
So….. I am booked to go back to the orthotist and the physio next week. I undertook with the physio to move more and exercise as I am able to between that appointment and when I next see him – which I have done!
Whilst in Tenerife I managed some walking and I have got back to my stretching / Pilates exercise regime most mornings.
I still need to find a suitable swimming pool that myself and hubbie can visit regularly. It needs to be accessible to me both in terms of getting into and out of the pool (I find step-ladder type steps almost impossible) AND have some unisex changing facilities, as I require support from my husband to get changed. But I have in mind for us to try out the newly opened Reading Lido! We will just have to ensure that we aren’t lured by the rather lovely looking menus in their restaurant and poolside bars!
My appointment at the Circle takes place on Monday. Watch this space as I plan to share my progress!