Tag Archives: Physical therapy


I have lower back pain.  Whatever.   For the past ten years or so, I’ve been treating it with a combination of ignoring and whining.   This year, when I noticed an unappealing tendency to grunt when doing complex tasks like sitting down in a chair and getting up from a chair, I decided to whine to my primary care doc, who prescribed physical therapy.

It’s only appropriate to note that Tim had been recommending this for years.  He already has a lifetime of I-told-you-sos from the time I left the overhead lights on in the van at the airport for a week, which we discovered when we flew home at midnight, so I guess a few more won’t make any difference.

Anyway, my first PT appointment was last week, and the helpful PT figured out useful things about my spine and prescribed stretches.  As we’ve previously established, I suck at stretches.  So this week I did stretches.  Occasionally.  As I headed off to my second appointment this morning, I asked Tim, “What exactly is the point of repeated PT appointments?  Do they just nag you to do your stretches?”  He politely suggested that this would not be a total waste of time in my case.

It turns out the point of repeated PT appointment is to give you more stretches.  I now have a routine of seven stretches I’m supposed to do morning and evening, and a different routine I’m supposed to do hourly sitting at my desk.  At least one of them looks like a rude physical maneuver I’ve often suggested — though not to their faces — that opposing counsel attempt.

But this whole blog post was written about what came next.  The last stretch the PT taught me involved taking this:

holding it between my back and the wall, and rolling it up and down.  The stretch, she explained, is called “balls on the wall.”  And then I performed the most strenuous stretch of all:  deploying every muscle from my dorsal spinal lumbar stomach region all the way up to my eyebrows not to snicker.  And to hold this exhausting non-snicker position through the entire demonstration.

And not once — NOT ONCE — to call it what it obviously is.  Yes, folks, I’ll be doing the balls-to-the-wall stretch.