But speaking of things that are not magical: there was a thing that happened in Japan that’s kind of hard to describe without a little bit of my history.
Seventeen years ago or so, I had a job working for a federal judge where I was in the office from about 9:30 AM until about 1:30 AM on weekdays. On weekends, we were allowed to come in at noon. On holidays, we were allowed to come in at noon, although when I came in on Christmas, I got yelled at because the judge called at 10:30 AM and I wasn’t there.
One of the little bits of fallout from this job that I had was this: after I finished, my mobility was substantially limited. I’m not going to go into details, but let’s just say that I tried to go on a walk the week afterward, and I had stabbing pains in the side of my leg that were so bad I could barely move. I spent years trying to push through this and managed to make things worse. About six years after, deep into the “push through this” phase, I injured myself so badly that every step hurt, and I couldn’t manage as much as a quarter of a mile.
That was the point when I realized that perhaps pushing through it wasn’t going to work. At some point (insert a year of me trying basically everything that could possibly help) I realized that I had a gait problem and I worked on fixing it, and that helped enormously, and made it so that I could walk again. Even so, I’ve been dealing with ongoing problems, particularly involving pain going up hills.
And then I went to Japan, which is basically all hills. Normally what I would do at home was take a hill, stress out my muscles to the point of pain, and then rest until the pain went away, because I have extremely bad experiences doing the latter. But I didn’t want to rest because my trip was short and I had a lot of things I wanted to do. So even though I was doing things that stressed my muscles, and caused pain, and even though there were a lot of hills, I pushed through it.
And something that was very…not-magical, but that felt magical, happened.
This…thing happened, as I was pushing through pain this time. After years of feeling like I needed to take tentative steps, I somehow managed to unlock a gait that finally felt like it was using all my muscles properly. I was using my hips and my glutes as I walked. I could actually walk faster and I felt stronger. I just needed to actually push myself.
There is no real moral of the story except that good PTs are extremely good. Pushing myself was bad when I didn’t have the underlying strength to do it right, but it was good once I had developed the correct baseline.