First, a little bit about our Thanksgiving trip to Bend… as always, the trip was great. Because of Steve’s crazy work schedule, I was the designated driver for the 7 hour trip. My hips fared fine for the drive. By the end, my shoulders and back were a little sore but it was nothing a soak in the hot tub couldn’t fix.

Previous years I have enjoyed various outdoor activities. Before my dysplasia diagnosis I would run with others. Since I gave up running, I have been snow shoeing and cross country skiing. This year I didn’t feel up for any of it yet. I spent so long dealing with my right hip being overworked and angry that I didn’t want to push it too much. I’m finally back to normal.

My parents joined us in Bend this year and I wanted to spend as much time as I could with them. My dad had a hip replacement in August and he’s still recovering, so we couldn’t do too much for his hip. We were quite a pair. While Steve was cross country skiing, I took my parents to the High Desert Museum. The highlight was an animal show including a series of very impressive birds (hawks, falcons, owls) flying around the room over our heads. We could have reached up and touched them.

After returning from Bend I started a new regimen of appointments at the PT office. I had one massage before Thanksgiving and I’m continuing with one massage a week. I’m still impressed with Robbin. The first 3 meetings were an experiment in how my body responded to work on different areas. I think now she’s narrowed down what she things will have the most benefit. Last time she was working on some muscles on my upper thigh and across to where my hip bone sticks out. There are some very tight and tender spots especially where muscles meet and attach to bones. Robbin said she can feel where muscles seems “stuck” to the tissue below. After every meeting with Robbin, she sends me home with a new type of self-massage as homework.

The second type of appointment I had a referral for was iontophoresis, where medicine is forced deeper into the tissue with ultrasound. The evening before my ultrasound appointment the PT reviewed the referral and realized they don’t have the equipment to do iontophoresis (I had made the appointment for ultrasound). So, I wouldn’t be able to get iontophoresis at that office, but I decided to keep the initial appointment and find out what kind of benefit I could get from regular ultrasound. When I showed up for the appointment with Becky (she had treated me initially, before I was diagnosed by Dr. Downer) she explained that iontophoresis requires a special type of equipment that they don’t have. They do, however, have a special, fancy laser called an LCT-1000, which heats up the tissue at a cellular level. She stretched my hip a little bit and then used the laser on the scar tissue area for about 15-20 minutes.

After the laser, Becky hooked me up to an Electronic Muscle Stimulator (EMS). She placed 4 cold, wet pads on my back, 2 on each side of my lower back next to my spine, and had me lie on my back. Then we experimented with the settings on the machine. As she turned knobs, I started to feel a very weird tingling sensation. As she continued to turn up the power I was supposed to feel the muscles contracting eventually, but I just started feeling stabbing pain. Becky said sometimes it’s hard for the patient to feel the muscle contractions, especially when used on the back muscles, so we backed off until I wasn’t feeling the stabbing. Once the setting was determined I was instructed to engage my core muscles and with my knees bent and feet flat on the table, slowly raise my thigh up to 90º one at a time. She called it marching. The EMS is on for 10 seconds and off for 10 seconds. While it’s on, I march…while it’s off, I rest. After 10 minutes of that, I was done.

I’ll continue two appointments a week with Becky and one with Robbin for the next few weeks and see what happens. As of now, I’ve had 3 massages and 2 laser treatments. Overall, my hips do feel different. I’m probably a bit more sore on both sides. The tightness in my right side is less intense but it covers a larger area. I’m hoping after a few more weeks of this, I’ll start to feel more significant improvements. Still feeling hopeful.

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