Friday, February 15, 2013

My Back

 Sometimes I say things I wish I hadn’t.

The bad news is that I’m certain now the hip problem is a disc.  Compressed, bulged, slipped, herniated, ruptured -- many possibilities, but all in the same place.  L5-S1.  Where the relevant nerve splits off into the legs.  Not so easy to draw all the evidence together, but now that I have an organizing principle, it comes into focus.  Occasionally two numb toes, index and middle, if that’s the terminology. And the foot gets cold.  Only a few times, but icy.  Pain that’s just hard to isolate.  Sharp pain given specific movements, adduction, coughing.  Now I recognize that the instant pain that coughing when lying down causes is not a pulled muscle, it’s a spasm, the nerve contracting the muscle maximally.  I’ve thought of spasms in terms of the throbbing back pain I’ve had at various points in my life -- this is a different kind.  Overall, muscles tighten up and put pressure on an already stressed area, a nerve bundle impinged by a displaced disc.

But this is also the good news.  Now I can do something about it.  Inversion, anti-inflammatories, hyaluronic acid, various stretches and exercises.  Bought a new mattress, after 11 years.  I’ve had just a thin little pad, really.  Fine for me, don’t need luxury, but it’s pressure on the area now, and that doesn’t help the healing.  Memory foam -- feels like decadence.  BJJ is out for a while, and that’s disappointing.  I only get worse.  Maybe I should actually study it, rather than be so random.  In any case I’m out for a while. 

I am very detrained.  So I’m doing tabatas now, intervals of 20 sec work 10 rest, six rounds right now, four movements. I can row, and I’ll try holds, planks, iron cross, L-sit, handstands.  Situps are out.  Can’t really do kipping chin-ups.  But putting together a plan.  Do what you can do.  It’s not ideal, but it’s ideal for what is possible. 

Causation?  It wasn’t any dynamic movement, not big strength training with poor form.  It was, I believe, a combination of generally poor sitting posture, decades of slumping and slouching with a round back, combined with too vigorous running.  The slouching, distortion of the lumbar spine, predisposed the area, and the running over-stressed it.  I could feel the muscle in question, for many months before the onset of the problem, as a twinge of pain -- but as I ran it went away.  Until it didn’t. 

What I should have been doing is stretches, not big splits and toe-touching, although that too -- rather, small and postural muscles along with the prime movers.  It’s not about dramatic flexibility, it’s about general maintenance, and I’ve neglected that.  And I should have been using inversion, boots or table, as a disciplined and regular practice. 

Word to the wise, son.

The chiropractor helped with the back issue.  It’s gone.  It was a different problem, most likely exacerbated by the way I started to hold myself to compensate for the hip.  Man was I tight.  And it’s nice -- expensive, but nice -- to know I don’t have ebola and cholera and leprosy and bubonic plague and any of those other communicable diseases. 

I’ve even been getting massages, two so far.  Student massages, good price.  Can’t speak to the quality, since I’ve got such limited experience.  So far though, not vigorous enough.  I’m not looking to relax, not looking for pleasure.  I’m looking for therapeutic muscular benefit.  Dig in and wring it out.  I’m told there’s some sort of massage where they stretch you and squeeze you until it’s actually painful.  I want me some of that.  Does it sound like I’m against pleasure and for pain?  Oh sweet child, how wrong you are.  I’m just compartmentalized, goal oriented.  This is where I’d normally make some quip about booty calls, but I’m all alone.  If I want to be touched, to cure my poor pain-wracked flesh, I have to pay.

I took a look at my checking account and was distressed by the drain.  Such is the cost of slouching.  Sit up straight. 

And tuck your shirt in.  You look like a busboy.  



bob k. mando said...

you can request that the masseuse apply more pressure.

i've had them ( only ever had a woman, men don't seem to go in for massage much. which is nice ) apply so much pressure that i had to ask them to back off.

it's probable that a female student is unlikely to have developed the grip strength necessary for that, though. you get a girl who does this 7 hours a day and i think she'll be able to apply enough pressure that even a magnificent specimen such as yourself will cry uncle. or auntie, as the case may be.

Anonymous said...

We say "tap." But ... I NEVER LOSE!