Tag Archives: Physiotherapy


You have probably figured by now that I love sports. Yeah, I absolutely love waking up early to go jogging. I also love basketball. I play as often as practical. I am no Kobe Bryant or ‘Mr. Kardashian’ (well, when he is not sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong, figuratively, of course),I dabble. It keeps the adrenaline and endorphins up. Maybe it has a little something to do with all the testosterone I get to float around in when I’m on court with the guys. wink*

Then the diagnosis came, avascular necrosis of head of femur! Oh, and it is bilateral.Damn!  Now, I am under strict medical advice to CEASE AND DESIST from these activities. You probably know the details from my earlier posts, constantly adapting part 1 and 2. Basketball is certainly off my ‘to-do’ list. Jogging had to go as well, Lord knows the kind of damage I could be doing to my ‘avascularly necrosing’ femoral heads with my thrice weekly jogging routine. With increased demand for blood by muscles during exercise, jogging really was not a good idea. Basically, the bone is dying because it is not having enough blood  and I want to exercise? No way! The doctors are just not having any of that! So these days it is just digiti minimi and her siblings who get to workout, with my constant typing.

Thus, my journey with the physiotherapists began. Yup, remember, Aggressive physiotherapy? I asked about alternative physical activities, immediately the ‘cease and desist’ order was written in my folder. The doctor suggested swimming. Apparently it helps a lot. The whole ‘upthrust thing’. You get a good workout without putting so much weight on  your hip joint. There is just this little issue. I have a fear of swimming. This is no phobia. It is a very rational fear of precipitating a vaso-occlusive crisis from the contact with  cold water. I am currently on a search for a heated pool in Accra, do let me know if there are any. I already got my swimsuit. (Y’all probably gonna get a pic of me in it when I find that heated pool)

Now physiotherapy has been fabulous, mostly. Its been a love-hate relationship. Some days, I love, most days, I absolutely love to hate it. I already shared some of the low points with you. Before I started physio, I actually thought  it will be just supervised workout sessions. Oh, I had it so wrong. There were a few exercises to help improve circulation, but none of the hard core stuff I was expecting. I wanted more. Bring on the real exercises people!

For the longest time, ( it really felt like an eternity) they had me on the fancy machines. I love them, they are great. I have not had any major pain since I started. I get the electromagnetic waves that stimulate muscle contraction and relaxation, helps with blood circulation and apparently, a lot more. Then I do the infrared physiotherapy treatment and I am good to go.

A few weeks ago, two thing happened. 1. I got a new physiotherapist. 2. Physio got physical. Yeah. Just when I thought I was done, Miss new physiotherapist wanted me to do some exercises. I almost broke into my happy dance, but you know we got to keep our act together all the time (Miss Medical student/ the ground under my feet should be worshiped, blah blah blah. ) This new physiotherapist just shot to the top of my favorite people’s list!


Horizontal bars- for support during the squats and abductions. Stationary bike. I could be on it all day, but with the existing pathology that won’t be a good idea. (Skeleton in the corner. I always wonder why ‘he’ is facing the wall)

It was squats, and another exercise which had me bearing full weight on one limb while I abducted the other, then the stationary bike. Now, technical difficulty. I was coming for my fancy machine physio, and as usual, I was all dressed up. Oh, I really took my time with that. Make up and clothes on point, I was looking good and feeling it. Now you want me to do what? Squats? Thing is, I was in a skirt. A very nice, one at that, some may say tight. Anyways, “ y’all know I ain’t ever gonna pass up on  a workout.” I pulled my skirt up and got to it. Mmhmmm!

Oh, those squats. They felt good. I could hear my gluteal muscles saying thank you. (Lmao. This is just weird. Pun definitely intended, please say you get it.) So on behalf of my gluts, thank you Miss Physiotherapist. Of course she is not trying to give me a better looking derriere, but I guess this is what the economists call opportunity cost, or not. Anyways, with the exercise that had me bearing full weight one limb at a time, we discovered that, whereas it was painless on the left, it was absolutely unbearable on the right. Her conclusion, when walking, my left  leg is compensating for the inactivity of the right. If we don’t get me to exercising ( using those muscles) they will atrophy. Nice catch Miss Physiotherapist. Really, tell me she does not deserve to be one of my favorite people.

Now  the weird thing is, I actually gave my MRI to a sports and exercise medicine physician to review.  I just wanted to know if there was a level of physical activity I could get back to. Simply, I wanted to go jogging and ran around on the court with the guys! So he checked it out and he agreed with the orthopedic surgeon in most parts. For, physical activity, he said I could sign up for a gym, that had skilled personnel to cater for my specific medical condition. He actually mentioned the stationary bike and treadmill (set to walk, I have been cleared to walk by the orthopedic surgeons, no conflict there). No kidding, this discussion was on the day before I went for physio and had the therapist start me on actual physical physiotherapy. I did not say anything to her, she just asked me to go do the exercises!

Why is this big deal? Well, I was just considering signing up for a gym on my allowance. Yes. Out of my own pocket. There was no way in hell my parents were going to fund this. This gym with the well trained personnel and equipment to die for is a long way from school. I would have had to fund transportation too and also there is that little thing of finding time within the hectic fifth year schedule to go through traffic just for a workout , then come back to school. Yeah, it was looking very unlikely. Then out of nowhere this Godsend asks me to go  workout?

The physiotherapy department is within the hospital, on campus, I don’t have to leave school. The cost? Well, it forms part of my physiotherapy treatment, thus is covered by my health insurance. I pretty much get to workout for free. Technical difficulty tho, since I sneak physio into any free time I get during the school day, and my days have me all dressed and glammed up, I guess it is bring your gym clothes to school for me now. (errmm NO! I actually like playing dress up)

Pretty much, all things working out for my good. Init? It is a mindset thing. This glass is half full. I’ve missed a couple of physio appointments over the past weeks because of my busy schedule. The therapists won’t be amused. If you don’t hear from me, it will be safe to assume they had my head, literally. Will let you know how it goes. For reals tho, I’m gonna get my own physio equipment as soon as I can, that way I can get all my sessions done at my own convenience.





After defaulting on physiotherapy for about three weeks,  I went back sometime last week. Some  hostility was anticipated, but, boy, were they pissed! With good reason, I must add.

Physiotherapy like any other form of therapy, is a process not a single event. Missing a day, and in my case three weeks, was basically nullifying all the efforts that had been put in. I really, do know better, I shouldn’t have missed all those physio sessions. I’ve done the whole judgmental doctor/ medical student thing, when a patient with a chronic medical condition simply refuses to take their medication, and presents later with some serious complication which could most likely have been prevented if they just stuck to the recommended therapy. Yeah I get it, I shouldn’t have defaulted, there were just too many factors at play

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Stimulator/ endotherapy machine, sends impulses, helps to relieve pain. (Pain gate theory)

Okay, so here we go. Obviously no excuse quite cuts it. But really, I hate physiotherapy. Simply. That is all I got. I just don’t like the idea of having electrical impulses passed into my muscles, to stimulate some nerves to cause the release of certain substances, which basically function to prevent me from feeling pain. Yeah, I know, what is all this? Principle at work is the gate control theory of pain. Apparently it works, and since I am too young for a hip replacement surgery now, that is all I got. Oh wait, that is not all, so after electrical impulses, we do the infrared rays  (thermal stimulation). Yeah, I hate it all.

Physiotherapy makes me feel disabled. In the “unable-to-function-unless-I-get-electrical-impulses-and-infrared-rays-passed-into-me”, sense of the word. You know that feeling right? Probably not. I didn’t even know such a thing existed till I started physio. Its like I need this, so I don’t feel the pain as my femoral heads turn to ‘cheese’ and collapse one of these days. What happened to the strong, independent woman? Apparently she needs to be ‘recharged’ from time to time to function. It doesn’t quite sit well with me. But hey, at least, I don’t have to be in pain everyday, I should be glad.

Then there is the whole messing with my schedule part of this physiotherapy thing. Medical schools generally, well, in my opinion, try to fit 48 hours of work into 24 hours. It is absurd. You wake up tired and go to bed exhausted. Anyways,thing is, I don’t have time to spare. I basically have to choose between physiotherapy and lectures or ward work. Of course, my health comes first, definitely physiotherapy takes it. But come on, I am not even sick, and am missing so much school work, walking in late to class and such. I don’t like it. Am just constantly in catch up mode. It sucks. I should be grateful tho, am not in that much pain these days, I am only scheduled to have physio twice weekly. It could be worse. I could be missing more classes. Guess I just gotta suck it up and hope for the best.

Now to the immediate cause. These things had been bugging me for a while, but the last straw that broke the camel’s back? Well, for one thing, it was a few weeks to exams. I could not afford to keep missing classes/ tutorials. On the morning of my scheduled physio appointment I had two tutorials. That is another beef I have with the medical school system, they cant seem to be able to keep to their own schedule. Timetable says, I am free, so I schedule physio, next minute, I hear a class or tutorial has been moved to this free time. lt is like we don’t have lives outside medical school,

Anyways, so I decided, to miss one tutorial, go for my physio appointment and rush back for the second tutorial. Those people don’t mess with their time. You are scheduled for a certain time, you better be there. And I was, but somehow, they delayed. 30 minutes, past my scheduled time and I hadn’t been called in. Obviously I was pissed. Why did I miss the first tutorial? I should have just gone for it, because, there I was, delayed 30 minutes, I probably wasn’t going to make it to the second tutorial either. This was just two weeks to exams. Those tutorials are important, not to be missed. So I went in, and calmly , maybe not so calmly  told the physiotherapist that she was wasting my time.Well, something to that effect.  Guess I struck a wrong note. For one, she was new, I had never met her.

So she called me in. And oh, she was rough. Those electrical impulses I mentioned earlier? They didn’t feel right. Felt different, continuous, painful. So I complained.( Ain’t nobody gonna be stimulating my nerves no wrong way.) Lord knows the damage she could have done.  Anyways, she did not quite seem to care. According to her she had set the machine to just the right amount of electrical impulses I was supposed to get. I know for a fact, it is not supposed to hurt while I get treatment. But she left me there in  pain. And there. I had had enough. After my treatment, I just decided, to hell with this physio thing. You ain’t gonna cause me to miss classes, waste my time, inflict pain and be giving me major attitude too. So I decided no more physio for me till after exams. I had more important things to do, So after I was done with exams  I returned. As I already mentioned they were pissed

Fortunately, this unpleasant physiotherapist was not around. I had one of my original physiotherapists. Initially the electrical impulses hurt, I complained and he managed to get it to stop hurting but still stimulate the nerves, unlike the “camel back breaking physiotherapist.”

So am back to my good patient ways. Been attending physio religiously. Except, for some strange reason, I forgot to go yesterday. Simply forgot, that has never happened. I never just forget. I may consciously decide not to go, but forget?. I suspect it has something to do with the french fries I was in a hurry to get for lunch. Hopefully they don’t get too pissed off on Monday, They really need to take a chill pill. I simply forgot. it Happens