Rehab in Nebraska - A little unclear
This is a recap on my visit to the postural restoration headquarters in Nebraska. I initially went to help further unlock my body from these patterns of tension that I’m stuck in. If I climb up hill for a period of time, my R hip will return to a place of pain. My neck and shoulders are pretty locked up and I have a sleep disorder called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome which can be caused by a multitude of factors, one of which being a cranial strain pattern and a torsioned airway. Before I go a more orthopedic route, I want to see how much of these issues I can unwind through less invasive methodologies.
On the first day after the intake session we got right into playing around with my vision. Apparently I am very good at focusing, actually I’m focusing so damn hard with my eyes all the time that I’m straining big time. So, essentially I’m very good at focusing but I’m working REALLY hard to do it. Well.. story of my life! They just described my personality in about two minutes. To help this they put a slight magnification on my prescription to help enhance peripheral space. The tricky part was to do the magnification without losing as much clarity as possible.
The second piece was bringing greater awareness to my L peripheral space. And when I do, I get this weird sensation like my nervous system is being tickled. I tend to interpret this as a release of tension because the first time I felt this was in a Neuro-optometrist’s office about two months previously. We used an exercise to bring awareness to my L peripheral vision that was coupled by cracks all the way from my neck through my hips. It was in a good way though like someone cracked your back, powerful relief at the time. So in Nebraska they expanded space for my L eye and closed down space a little bit for my right eye.
All of this work was done in conjunction with a number of walks up and down a space of about 30 yards and neck, hip and shoulder (ribcage) measurements on a therapy table. “Ok, put these on and walk up and back so we can measure you again.” *Slight adjustment made to lenses.. and “Ok now try these” etc etc.
The very first time they measured me on the table after I walked up and back with no glasses and nothing in between my teeth, my neck stopped when they tried to turn it to the left and my right inner thigh would not let go in what they call the ‘Passive Abduction Raise Test.’ This right inner thigh has been a problem long before I was aware it was a problem. My body has been using my right groin for stability for a long time. It’s not a coincidence that my R hip pain and then surgery was in that exact spot. That place of stability or compression or tension is a strong piece of my pattern. It should be able to stabilize and also let go and be unstable, tension and untension.
After the initial measurement they asked me to put a rudimentary plastic mouth guard on my lower teeth, walk and then they measured me again. This time there was a little more range of motion from my inner right thigh and my head turned all the way to the left! It was a remarkable, night and day experience. One minute there was no ROM and the next, full ROM from my neck. Sensory feedback from the teeth is wild.
And then as we honed in on the best lenses for me, we were able to get all of the tests to clear and that R groin let go completely, like my body didn’t even understand what that range of motion was before that moment.
So that was that. Over the course of the next day, I got my new glasses (remarkable turnaround) and we did some basic rehab exercises. And if you know Postural Restoration these exercises were to help me get out of my right side (R inner groin) and into my left hip. We were breaking the pattern. The one other piece of note was that while wearing this mouthguard and the new glasses and stepping onto my right foot, my weight would hit on the outside and then roll through the inside. And then on the left side, I could feel my foot rolling through my big toe joint. These have been super elusive for me, totally inaccessible as a result of my pattern. The last bit of the exercises was a little ankle work trying to get a ‘wobble’ so I can angle in and out of each foot.
And so I started wearing these glasses and little plastic mouthguard (my oral splint would be fitted on the 3rd and final day) and just chilled, let things unwind. And that first evening, I didn’t feel much. My dad and I went and got some tacos and called it a night. That second day, at lunch I sat across from my dad with a big wide window behind him at this little cafe. I sat specifically in a way that oriented my dad and that window onto my L side.
As we were eating, I started to get a hint of that tickle feeling. And at first I thought, “was that the tickle feeling or is it in my head?” But then it grew and I started to get cracks through my neck and I could feel my whole self relaxing, getting a little chattier as I started to feel good and the feeling continued to build. After lunch, we went back to the PT clinic and were sitting in the waiting room and it just kept building and building! I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh or cry but I could feel this sensation growing and I was not about to freak out in front of everyone. So I hopped and got outside as quickly as possible and within in a minute I was belly laughing for no reason at all. This went on for about 5 minutes, just laughing and laughing! I was loving it.
That whole PM, I continued to feel better and better and that tickle sensation began to couple with two other sensations. The first is this sensation by my left temple kind of like a creeping tension and then the second sensation was I felt my deep core flicker on. Now, I’ve only felt this once before after a craniosacral session with an osteopath. My high level guesses are that my cranium and neck were letting go enough for my core to actually turn on. When something that is very stable lets go, something else had to pick up that stability. As I went to bed, I noticed that my L eye was watering quite a bit but aside from that I was on cloud 9!
At around 4 am I awoke and my left eye had crusted shut. My initial reaction to my L eye being glued shot was “wow, I can’t believe I’m getting pink eye right now.” I scraped as much gunk off of it as possible, put a warm compress on it and went back to sleep. But when I woke up I started doubting that this was just a coincidence. Throughout this journey, that L eye has been a signal for me when things are going well or not. After a big night out, I’ll have inflammation around my L eye more so than my right and actually at the beginning of my rehab journey, I used to get styes constantly under both eyes!
I then remembered back to around New Years when I was playing around with this jaw exercise my PT had given me with a cork. That exercise gave me that same sensation around the L temple that I had gotten the night befor and it had given me a lot of relief so I kept doing it over a few days and weeks. One night, I had a really bad reaction to it and I woke up with a stye and couldn’t go back to bed. I remember being super bummed because this had been the things that had given me the most relief.
So, extrapolating that experience onto the morning of day 3 of the Nebraska trip, I came to the conclusion that this was a reaction to the work we had been doing. The watery eye before bed, the familiar sensations in my L temple and the uncanny timing of it all, this wasn’t random. And it wasn’t just my eye. I felt AWFUL, spent, exhausted and like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I spent that last day in a dark cloud. The PT and I chalked it up to ‘my body not being used to working in that way’ but I had my doubts. Time will tell.