Thursday, 14 November 2013

Biofeedback with Physiotherapist!

                It’s been a crazy week! Monday was Remembrance Day, my partner is the bugler for the ceremonies in our city so we were running around all morning for that, it was also my dad’s birthday so there was a big dinner that night! Then Tuesday I had a midterm, Wednesday I wasn’t too busy but was freaking out about a presentation I had to do today that I hadn’t finished, so I was up until midnight, didn’t finish and had to wake up at 6am to finish up and still make it to my 8am physiotherapist appointment! Phew.

                I was nervous about this appointment because today was the day we tried biofeedback. I had no idea what to expect. I was worried about where the electrodes would be placed, because they’re quite sticky and I was advised not to shave (not that I needed an excuse anyways!); it turns out physio’s usually place them near the anus, as I learnt firsthand this morning; apparently it’s because there is typically less pubic hair there, fair enough!

                I’m not sure if any of you have seen how biofeedback works, if not here’s a quick video: Biofeedback with Dr. Oz

                Basically, an electrode (or multiple electrodes) is attached to the muscle area you’re trying to learn about, in my/our case: the pelvic floor (and apparently anus). Then it’s plugged into a computer and a program is started that shows a graph/chart of the electrical activity going on in that muscle area. The line on the chart is in continuous waves, when you’re relaxed they are quite small, and low on the graph, when you tense the muscles the line spikes to the top of the chart and the waves increase in size and frequency. You’re asked to tense your muscles for so many seconds followed by relaxing your muscles for so many seconds, and you repeat it between 5 and 10 times. After that, you get to look at the screen and see what it looks like when you’re tense versus when you’re relaxed.

                It was very interesting for me, especially for the first couple of trials when I couldn’t see the screen. The physio would say “tense up,” I’d squeeze my pelvic floor, wait for her to say “and relax” and then I’d “relax” my pelvic floor… or what I thought was relaxing! I must not have been re, axing very well, because she would repeat that a couple of times: “okay, relax… relax… push it out… deep breaths, relax…” I understood why after she showed me my activity on the screen, I was not relaxing! Even though it felt like I was? It was strange. So we tried some more myofascial tissue massage, re-hooked up the electrodes and tried again.

                It seemed to have gone better on the screen, but when I got to watch my activity, I could see myself relaxed, I could tense my muscles, but when I’d try to relax (or what I thought was relaxed and felt relaxed) the computer and chart still showed I was tense. If I focused really hard, eventually the line on the chart dropped down to what was considered “relaxed” but I physically could not feel that relaxation. I could feel my muscles going from relaxed to tense, but not tensed to relaxed. So I believe that might be our next goal! Trying to get me to recognize when my pelvic floor is tense or relaxed and how to get it from one stage to the next.

Today’s total: $40.00
                Grand Physiotherapy total: $210.00

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