She did what to your back?…

I recently started back into physical therapy.  For those fibro patients who don’t know, fibromyalgia is a valid diagnosis with many insurances and they will allow you to have physical therapy for your fibro.  In some cases, you don’t even need a doctor referral.  And if you’re anything like me, and can’t stand the side effects of the fibro drugs, then you may be looking for alternative options to just taking drugs for the pain.

Physical therapists can use e-stim, do deep tissue massage, ultrasound, etc.  My only suggestion would be to call around and see if certain therapists have worked with fibromyalgia.  I think most therapists would be perfectly capable of working with our pain, but I think it feels more relaxed if you don’t have to explain fibro pain to someone who hasn’t worked with it before.

I don’t know how I got so lucky finding the therapist I have.  She had been my Zumba instructor for a long time.  She is also co-owner for Ultimate Fitness, a physical therapy, Pilates and fitness studio.  They use regular physical therapy, but also do Pilates-based physical therapy.  When I was diagnosed, I found out she had been working with fibro patients for many years.  They say everything happens for a reason.  At the time I started Zumba I had no idea I was going to have fibro, or that there would be a therapist there who would help me so much.  I consider her my Filipino guardian angel.  🙂  I’m sure I will talk about her a lot in future posts because I spend a lot of time with her because she’s my Zumba instructor, Pilate’s instructor and my physical therapist.  In the words of my workout buddy “We’re always there, they might as well just adopt us.”

But for now I want to talk about my physical therapy from last night since I’m sure the treatment was something most people don’t know anything about.  It was my first ASTYM treatment.  I’ve mentioned this to a few people and so far nobody really seems to know what it is.  This is what I’ve found about ASTYM (from www. Astym.com):

-ASTYM treatment initiates the natural healing response of the body by gently disrupting abnormal soft tissue. The body sends new collagen to the area being treated, replacing dysfunctional tissue with healthy tissue.

-An ASTYM-certified therapist follows specific treatment parameters to initiate the healing process. She or he will run instruments firmly along your skin, following the direction of the muscle, tendon or ligament. You will feel bumps as the instrument moves along your skin. These bumps are the defective soft tissue. The first couple of treatments can be uncomfortable-but stick with it. As your body heals, those bumps will decrease and the area around your old injury will smooth out nicely, indicating healing.

  These are the instruments used…

I carry most of my pain in my back and shoulders so this is where my physical therapy is focused.  My first session was, well, just plain strange.  It’s one of those “hurts so good” treatments. She used the biggest tool first, that was the one that felt the best!  If I was a cat, I would have purred.  It was great! But has she went down to the smaller tools, she focused more on my knots/bad spots on my back which hurt a little bit more, but still in a good way. 

I’m not going to lie that when I got home I totally freaked out when I looked at my back.  I had some bright red lines and a little bruising.  I knew this was a normal side effect of the treatment, but it looked pretty intense!  Today I’m a little tender but not red anymore.  It’s nothing that would stop me from having the treatment done again.

I was also excited to read that activity is promoted after Asytm treatment for stretching and healing.  This means a lot to me because I never want to do anything that keeps me from my Zumba addiction 😉

I will say, after weeks of not sleeping well, I slept like a baby last night.  To me, this said a lot about the treatment.   I will continue to update on how my treatments are going!

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