Several weeks ago, I asked my physical therapist for more explanation of how working to improve *strength* will help my TOS situation.
With all the chronic muscle tension and spasm I've had for years, how can I work on strengthening- don't I need to *relax* the muscles?
PT said -"Think of it this way- compare muscle to a rope. You pull on the ends of the rope and the outer fibers are stressed and break. Over the next couple days, as the recovery and healing takes place, is when you actually gain strength. You don't gain strength as you are stressing the muscle, but afterward, in the repair and recovery. Trust me on this, strengthening and stability are the keys to turning things around for you, but it's going to take time. It took a lot of time for you to get to this place."
I asked about how nerve pain could be reduced by strengthening when I am tensioning the muscle that spasms and tightens its grip on the nerve?!
P.T.'s response-"In a sense, you're right in your thinking; however, your nerve can be hyper sensitive. You use both your arms but the right tires faster and is more painful than the left, (my left arm is usually fine). It seems the nerve is maybe being grabbed by muscle more on the right side.
You will have days when it flares, and it hurts, but keep going.
You have been very motivated and done the right things to affect positive changes, keep going.
Things are really very different for you since the time you started here, your tissues have changed. TOS is a really difficult thing for P.T.'s. We have a hard time with that particular disorder, so all the things you have done on your own to change your situation has helped tremendoulsly. Keep going."
I've been trying to sit on my big exercise ball, balancing without touching the floor or the ball with my hands or feet. As soon as my feet leave the floor the nerve pain kicks in and gets worse the longer I stay there.
I asked P.T. why that happens.
"It requires core strength and you're challenging that with what you're doing balancing on the ball like that. Twenty minutes is too much; of course it would cause your pain to flare up." (which is a bummer because it's kind of fun).
I told him the fact that the pain kicks in the second I start balancing makes me think of the muscle that was removed from my neck, and wonder if that pain will ever really go away?
Response-"I dont know, but you are gaining strength, and your tissues have changed so much-keep going."
I hope all my fellow TOSers can glean some encouragement to *Keep Going* on your own TOS journey.
As always, Gentle Hugs~