My favorite part of the process!
Two weeks ago I was washing my feet in the shower and had to twist to catch my balance, which I did in just the right way to strain my low back muscle. It was a quick, sharp pain that started out fairly subtle but got worse throughout the day. I was a bit nervous about the extent of the damage (though I figured it was only the muscle), so I decided to head to an orthopedic surgery office, which was within a 7 minute walk to my house. It was really convenient! My coteacher was kind enough to write my condition and what happened in Korean, but the doctor spoke English quite well, so it was easy to communicate with him. He checked my spine and decided that it was only a strain on the muscle.
I then received some simple, but delightful physical therapy. I laid on a heating pad for about 10 minutes, then had two machines target the low back. The first machine (pictured above) was my favorite! The four suction cups were attached to my low back, and then the machine sent pulsing waves of vibration to my muscles. It felt like someone was alternating between kneading my back and pinching it together. It was really relaxing, and I was disappointed when the timer went off. The session ended with the second machine, which I am still a bit confused by. I don’t really know what it is, but it essentially felt like it was sending small electric zaps to my muscles. It was very subtle and an interesting feeling! I then headed to a pharmacy for the pain killer and muscle relaxer the doctor prescribed for the next three days (three times a day).
But three days later the pain was worse, so I went back. The second time he did an X-ray of my spine and came to the same conclusion. He said I just needed to give it a bit more time. I went through the physical therapy process one more time and got another round of medicine. But I decided to stop taking the pills the next day, since they didn’t seem to make a huge difference. Instead, I got some medicinal hot patches to stick on my back. They really helped! I put one on in the morning to wear throughout my day at work, and a new one on at night. The constant heat helped relieve my muscles and reduced the pain. Overall, the pain lasted for about a week. I am happy to be back to normal and not having any more pain to slow me down. And I was again amazed by the speed, efficiency and low cost of Korean health care. They definitely do medicine well here!