physical therapy

Guest DianneD

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Guest DianneD

I fought my insurance company for 7 weeks to get physical therapy for me, and when I go, the only thing they do is heel/toe exercises and leg lifts. I understand these are designed to strengthen the muscles in my legs, but meanwhile I still have a pregnant waddle when I walk.......which is everyday, but not for long periods of time. When I ask them when they are going to work on my gait and my balance, they say it's all part of a process. Well, this "process" will come to a roaring close in 3 more visits, as that is the limit my insurance will pick up, so with that in mind, I keep asking them "when will you work with me on my gait?" I get the "process" answer........and I'm just about ready to scream!!! Has anyone else encountered this? If so, how did you handle it? I get so frustrated with the leg exercises and my waddle out of there every other day that I leave nearly in tears (over-reaction, I know, because of the emotional lability).


I decided this morning that I was going to rehab myself, if no one else was going to do it, so I went out this morning and walked for 3 minutes out, and 3 minutes back, VERY slowly, and VERY tentatively, with my legs positioned under me like before the stroke. I felt like I was going to fall over every step of the way, but I did it. Those 6 minutes of walking tired me out so much I laid down and slept for an hour afterwards! I could feel the muscles in my hips and thighs pulling because they had been asked to use muscles they hadn't used in 9 weeks, but I took that as a good sign. Has anyone out there ever rehabbed themselves, when they couldn't get the professionals to do it?



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Hi DianneD~


Just read your thoughts & concerns regarding rehab. Sometimes you just have to will your

legs to work the way they use to. My right arm always wanted to return to curled position

(especiacally when i was tired at the end of the day)it was in for months due to stroke.

The therapist always told me to hold it down when it did that & try to start swinging it

as I walked. I waddle to. After 13 yrs. I've hit alot of hips but that's how i stay on course with my cane that only has a point on it. Is the therapist you have use to stroke patients? I had

physical therapist & occupational therapist. But that was a special unit I was put in especially

for brain injurys, stroke patients , heart patients & people getting use to loss of a limb. I was

blessed. We are all given exactly what we need. It takes years of practice & exercise. I find

the pool is a place where I can learn to walk correclty because the water is least resistance.

But that's for me, we are all different. Hope you find what you need & you will. Keep forging

on. Your walks to the mailbox today sound like your doing good! :) Take care & may God

help you find just what you need.....Nancy

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unfortunately, we need to be our own advocate and need to be pro-active with an aggressive approach. when insurance will not cover any more therapy, we are really left on our own and must take the initiative with our own recovery. every therapist has a different style, but don't let them dictate to you how or where they want your rehab to be going.

towards the end of my therapy, i asked my therapists to provide me with diagrams and directions of the movements and exercises they taught me. i also asked them for copies of movements that focused on a number of muscles and they showed me how to do the movements. they were kind enough to give me a couple of therabands that i used for resistance exercises, and ordered a few more online from a therapy equipment company.

a couple months ago, i bought a peddle exerciser and a mini stepper which has improved my muscles in my ankle and leg, and improved my walking. my foot drop problem has slightly improved as well. progress has been slow, but it's still progress. although i have to wear an afo, i'm able to walk around the block twice a day without the use of a cane.

all the best to you and don't give up fighting!

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Hi Dianne,

When I started walking again I must've looked like a drunken toddler. Going to therapy for me was finished; I would get exercises off the computer and do them at home. It worked for me, and I didn't have to deal with the Insurance Company. People tell me that they can still see improvement.


Susan :artist:

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It's frustrating to say the least, yes, I have gone thru that phase on a couple of occasions even withdrawn from one that didn't have the equipment they needed to treat my condition. That's when I started going to the gym on the military base and got more done for far less money the insurance was paying per visit. The base gym was free.


If you still have your handout sheets of the different exercises from your initial therapy, use them as I did and you and your spouse can accomplish what you need. I also got an exercise bike from the VA and my scooter. I got an exercise ball from walmart, hand putty and stretch bands from my first therapist along with many exercise sheets giving instructions for exercises to do.

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I suspect they intend to tell your insurance company that you are making process, but not walking yet so they can get more PT sessions approved, because that is how the system works - but ask them! Go ahead and complain and cry, its your money and your health.


I have always pushed myself at home a bit more than I was technically approved to do by my physiatrtist and PT, but if you leave the house - take a cell phone with you in case you fall. And have your local fire department pre-programmed in the cell phone.


As to the the hemi gait - you may or may not ever overcome it. I am 6 years out and am grateful to be upright at all. I accept that I will always have a hemi gait.

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hi dianne, you do need to be proactive with the therapists. i received sheets of exercises to do twice a day on my own. therapists do have a method on how they work with stroke patients, each one is different but there are guidelines they use. my insurance ran out before i was able to learn to walk w/o my cane. i do agree with 2nd chance on the cell phone when you venture out by yourself though. my cell goes with me everywhere, just to be safe. my affected leg swings out when i walk, so my gait is way off. any and all exercises you can do will strengthen your legs and get them stronger, sometimes my leg does not take a step correctly and i have caught myself numerous times from falling. the brain signals i guess are not going through correctly, so you have to be very careful and focus on what you are doing always. i hope you can get what you need to progress in your recovery. good luck and god bless. keep forging ahead, this is your life.

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Guest DianneD

Thank you to all of you who wrote back and gave me wonderful suggestions. I had a foot pedal machine and didn't even THINK to use it......what was I thinking? (or not...... :unsure: ) I had the catalog for our local pool, called for availability in the class, and signed up for an arthritis/stroke strength training class in the pool. How good is that? And this is the real kicker........


My ride, who picked me up to take me to PT this morning was a full HOUR early!! I hurried (as much as I can hurry) to get ready while he sat in the broiling heat of the sun (112 today in Scottsdale, Arizona, so it was probably 105 by then) and waited for me. I was a little annoyed that I was SO early, because my PT therapist doesn't come back from lunch until my appointment I envisioned having to sit for a full hour, which is NEVER comfortable for me. But, as good fortune would have it, I was given to a sweet young girl, who saw for herself the doubly whammy of fibromyalgia and physical therapy exercises that end up in painful spasms and cramps. She told me that I would benefit from swimming more than I could benefit from the exercises here, because it would take the pressure off my arthritic knees and fibromyalgia-weary muscles, and if I started to fall from lack of balance, the worst I would do is to fall into the water, not onto blistering hot concrete. So, following that session, I made the appointment for the class at the pool, which meets MWF from 9-10. And here you all were telling me the same thing!!! Must have been meant to be.......


Thanks for writing and for all your wonderful ideas. ~ Dianne

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Wonderful Dianne - good luck. Wow, an hour early!! I've not experienced that...I've had an hour late - then they don't understand why I refuse to go (like you can just walk into therapy at any ol time - duh!) When I still lived in AZ, there was one time I had to wait 2 hours for a ride home - it was in the summer as well.

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Hi Dianne - glad things are going better. Although my physical therapists were great, I ran into a problem where the insurance ran out early. I wound up joining a local gym as an alternative, and it's worked out really well. The monthly fee is reasonable, facilities are excellent, and the people who work there are very generous with their advice. I think it's helped my recovery a lot. I just had to get my doctor's ok before going (which he gave after an examination). Good luck!!!!

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Hi Dianne, Folks...


Dianne, you're not the only one has wingnut experiences with the terrorist....Uhhhhhhh, I mean therapist, crowd...


I'm about half way through my insurance allotted PT and's essentially X number of visits, and then you're out of luck...


This particular hospital, who's name shall not be mentioned to protect the guilty, has two rehab units...each with their own PT's, OTs, office's etc...

They do have a free van service,....without which I couldn't get there...


Anyway, I show up for my assessment appt at Unit A, and I'm scheduled for PT assessment, but not OT...Although office has both assessments scheduled per doctor order, there's no body scheduled to do OT assessment...


PT does assessment,'ll really be better served at Unit B......I'll set you up with appointments....


Looking back...I realize now why no OT was scheduled... :)


So , I show up a week later at Unit B for PT and OT sessions......


PT-B says, well yes she has notes, but she has to do her own assessment....

At least there is an OT-B there this time...


Get a week (twice each OT & PT) of sessions in.....


The next session, OT-B announces that she is tranferring to a different function within the hospital, and starting next week I will be working with OT-B2 from now on...

I look her straight in the eyes and say...."I am not gonna have to have *another* (Expletive deleted) assessment, right??? "And she agrees....


A week goes by......


PT-B tells me that she is gonna quit, and she'll be gone in two weeks....So I will be working with PT-B2 from now on...

I says "Look, you PTs are going to be in a lot of confusion...lets take a week off, so you can ramp down, while PT-B2 ramps up...." They both agree...


They forget to tell the van driver, so he shows up twice during the scheduled week off....


I have come to the conclusion that I have to help these people so they can help me....


I now call the van driver outfit weekly to be sure they have the right schedule....


The schedule is going to go once per week for both PT and OT, thereby stretching the duration out longer...starting next week...


I defined that when we reach the last 3 of the insurance covered visits we will be concentrating of putting together an exercise plan I can follow until next year... instructions and practice....

In essence, a plan for rehabbing myself...


I can be Darth Vader when I have to be....Uhhhhh...I mean pro-active and aggressive if need be... :)


Don't get me wrong...the people involved are nice people, I just haven't seen chaos like this before....


And....I think we have everything squared away....(knock on wood)....


In the mean time, don't feel bad about your "funny" gait. I mean, I have to use a cane *and* have a funny gait....


The way I look at it, I'm gonna go get me a cool designer type cane.....


I'd love to find one like Lon Chaney had in The Wolf Man (but correct length).


Then I could defend myself against werewolves, if need be. :D


Hang in there...

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Hi again Dianne,

Swimming is wonderful, especially for those of us with balance problems. After my Insurance stopped paying, I joined a local pool and went three times a week. (Losing my balance in the water wasn't scary.)


Susan :cleaning:

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Hi DianeD ~


You've got some good things going for yourself :D I'm happy to hear you've lined up a pool.

That is by far the best for me as far as getting my legs to move right and gettting strength

back in them. i've graduated to swimming lengths. My right leg can hardly kick but

if I concentrate it will go. It's a matter of willing it to go! :happydance: No matter how

hard I try I still waddle. (like I said before i've hit alot of hips walking but that's the least

of my worries) my PT gave me a lamenated sheet covered so that I could take it to the pool

so I wouldn't forget my strength excersices to do. You can get 1 to 3 lbs weights @ Walmart

or any of those stores to take in the water for your hands and then a weight that velcro's

around the ancle to do leg lifts on land or water.(just a suggestion) I find it easier to work

on my own practicing walking in the pool (about 3-4 ft.)walk sideways a width & back. then forward

& walk backward @ a snails pace. I go off balance easy but it's a challenge to walk with arms

swinging & correct gait. I fall more than stand.... :hahaha:

You have a good day :cheer: We finally have warm weather here in northern Idaho. The

sun always helps. Talk to you later :forgive_me?:



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Guest DianneD

Thanks, Nancy, for the suggestions in the pool. I had to abandon the physical therapy because of the intensity of the response by the fibromyalgia.....I was more crippled by the muscle spasms and pain than I had been by the stroke's effect on my walking. So I am, at your suggestion, going to take my land exercises, and translate them into the pool. It's 113 here today, so it will be the perfect time to go to the pool !!!

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