Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yet Another Success Story

I love success stories. I especially love it, of course, when they validate my own thinking ;), but any good story will do. Let’s share what works!

Here’s a gem from “Pat” that I recently discovered among the comments. I’ve edited it a bit, mainly for length.
I had a Synvisc shot (3 in 1) November 30 and had virtually no relief. Regular PT of the quad strengthening type did not help. End of April of this year, I was certain I needed a total knee replacement (4 surgeons concurred I have patellofemoral arthritis of my left knee). 
By chance, I found your little ebook on Amazon at that time and read it in a couple of hours. I scoffed at the idea that I could recover as you had done because I couldn't really walk at all on hard ground without excessive pain. I had a limp. I had almost fainted from the pain at the market the week before. But I said what do I have to lose -- nothing else had worked -- so I started padding around my apt. wood floors in my bare feet, since barefoot had always felt better than shoes. 
At that time I was so close to scheduling TKR surgery that I had grab bars put in my shower in the beginning of May. Believe it or not, within a couple of days of starting to walk 60 steps every hour or so around my apartment, I started to feel much better -- almost right away, really. 
Then within a week or so by a great stroke of luck I met a woman who had been scheduled for TKR with my same surgeon (coincidence), and she had found a physical trainer very near where I live in Santa Monica, CA, at a place called Drive Cardio. This guy she said had virtually cured her -- she was leaving the next day on a 3-week hiking trip in Turkey. 
I started seeing him and told him that walking small steps had started to help me. He said "closed chain" (I don't know this stuff) and I have continued to see him once a week. He does different things every time -- uses a bosu ball, a stability ball (small "micropushes" with it against a wall), etc. Every week is usually a new series of movements in different order and different intensity. He says what's important is increasing "vascularity." 
I am doing more strengthening stuff each week but it's been very gradual. Certainly not the kind of quad strengthening I had been doing before. I continue to walk around my apt. but I can also walk outside now without pain and use cardio machines which I couldn't use before. 
My recovery was so fast after reading your book, maybe because I didn't have a long history of pain -- only since Nov. 2011. Last week I went on a short trip to Vegas and walked pretty much all day for 3 days. I still have a tiny bit of pain in my knee here and there but it's more like a 1/10 versus 6/10. Am even feeling well enough to plan a trip to Europe this fall. 
I feel so grateful for having chanced upon your book. I've recommended it to others. By the way, I'm a 66-year-old woman. I should say I was quite flexible and athletic for my age before my knee pain.

Okay, a few comments:

I’m glad that walking around the apartment in short bursts provided such rapid, positive results. Sounds like that therapy fit Pat perfectly! However, other knee pain sufferers won’t see benefits that are that fast or remarkable -- so keep that in mind, everyone. All bad knees are different.

My favorite part of the story: She’s 66! And considering a total knee replacement! This is someone at the age where I’m sure many doctors would wag their heads sorrowfully and say, “I’m sorry, you’re just too old, your knees will never get better.”

But they did.

Let me be clear. It’s not that I think age doesn’t matter. It’s that I think age matters much less than the medical community currently thinks it does. You don’t suddenly lose the ability to heal when you reach 40, or 50, or 60. Maybe you heal more slowly. But you can still heal.

Congrats to Pat on finding a physical therapist whose approach suits her (and her bad knee). The description that struck me the most about his program was “very gradual.” The proper way to heal knees, I’m convinced, is very, very slowly and very, very patiently.  

I was intrigued when she said he counseled “closed chain” exercises. I had heard some about these, but had never looked into them. So I did. Next week, I’ll tell you what I found.


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