Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Broken Back Recovery: Months 4 to 6

As I write this, I need to let the readers know this is one year after the fact, so I'm mining my memories and my journal for this one. But I'm still in the ball park.

Months 4 to 6 after my back surgery saw the greatest and fastest recovery. I started going to physio for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, although by that time I was forcing myself to do homemade exercises in my free time. My strength was returning. I was initially limited to lifting 5 pounds or less. I increased that on my own as I felt my strength returning. My flexibility was improving greatly with constant stretching. My balance was also improving. I would practice standing on one foot at a time. My left leg/foot was lagging behind its right side counterpart in all areas but I could balance on each for a minute before tiring/falling.

My walking gait was improving slowly. My core strength was still weak and so I didn't have a good foundation from which to move my extremities. My calves still had almost no strength (as result of my S1 nerve impingement which may never fully recover). The result was that I couldn't stand on my toes or use my feet to push back as I leaned forward. This meant that I always leaned backwards when walking or standing because my center of gravity was over my heels. In physio they had me lean forward as far as I could without falling over. I could barely make it to vertical. And that felt like I was going to fall on my face. This is very specific to my back injury and probably won't be similar for most. I worked on this a lot and my walking gait improved but it still had a very long way to go.

After my accident I had a large numb area that included my entire mid section, from lower back to below my glutes. Over this time it started shrinking and localizing itself at my point of injury. By 6 months it was almost completely gone.

I still had pain in my legs but it was less than before. My feet still had burning sensations. My back had odd pains on occasion, but it mostly felt like sore muscles which I took as a good sign.

My cardio and endurance were almost nonexistent. I could barely move my extremities, let alone move them quickly and so this was an area that lagged behind.

I definitely felt more normal by this time. I could see the light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel.

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