Saturday, September 12, 2009

putting my back to it

Returning from a recent trip, I tried unsuccessfully to hoist a filled-to-capacity suitcase with my soon-to-be-65-year-old back muscles. Years of military-wife practice at packing, including boxing up the entire house some 26 or 27 times, have made me a pro at getting all 50 pounds into that suitcase with no wasted space, no sweat. Ask Carol, my hotel roomie on another trip not too long ago. (By the way, Carol is having a super giveaway on her blog right now. Go see.) It should have been the usual quickly-done chore, fulfilled easily on so many other trips.

Instead, something went crotchety. You know, went stubbornly in the wrong direction, regardless of clear intent, a perfectly good plan and practiced execution. After several days of lower back pain, accompanied by sitting bolt upright on the slimmest edge of chairs, or pacing endlessly while thinking deep philosophical thoughts because walking was infinitely more comfortable than propping myself here and there like a grouchy orangutan, I gave in to my husband's plea. We went to the local chiropractor.

In case you detect some hesitancy on my part, you should know that my grandfather, who lived with us back while I was in school, called all doctors "quacks" and would go only to the chiropractor -- for any and all ailments. Now I have two sons studying to be doctors. One goes to the chiropractor. So off I went.

Among the things I learned from the chiropractor (after 3 visits in 3 days):

1) The average life expectancy of white women in the US is now 96 years, so I better get used to preventing as many creaks as possible with 30+ years to continue my trips.

2) Artistic types like me may be good at sublimating or working their pain into their art (any kind, read any famous artist's biography). But the fix for my back problem would have been quicker and easier if I hadn't waited so long. (Yes, he said ALL that. He also called me a "tough old bird", by which he did not mean all sinew and no fat.)

3) The reason my butt has felt like a ton of bricks that takes an agonizing forever to slide in or out of bed is thanks to the inflammation around the pivotal compressed discs in my lower back. It's interfering with muscle control, bladder control, and general self control. Coughing is not the least painful among the excruciating responses to that loss of muscle control. Did you know so many brain messages went through that part of the lower back? Inflammation around a compressed disc interferes with it all.

The good news: My husband has to do the vacuuming for the near future. And I'm much improved after 3 visits.

The surprise: I should seriously consider getting back into my tennis duds as soon as I'm recovered. It's important to keep the synovial lubricant moving fluidly over all your joints. Walking is good, but not really enough.

So I'm wishing you an actively-enjoyed weekend!


Outofmymind said...

I'm 50 and already there. I just started doing yoga for the back by Peggy Cappy and boy does it help the pain and stiffness in my back. I had back surgery 12 years ago and now everything in and on me has decided it wants to travel south without me. I'm learning to "endure joyfully". HA! Good luck to you and just keep moving!

Beth Leintz said...

Your experience is just one more reminder that I have to get back to the gym. Glad to hear your feeling better- sublimating your pain into to your art is no long term way to live.

shabbyscraps said...

oh I do hope you feel better soon! You do have many more years to go!!
xoxo, Tiffany

Stephenie said...

I really hope you feel better soon.. If it makes you feel any better, Its not your age, my back has really been giving me lots of problems to.. I have so many aches and pains.. I just think I don't take good care of myself.. I wish I could trade my back in on a new one..

Damaris said...

I am sending you some good wishes for a speedy recovery. Your experience has certainly made me want to take more action in making sure I become more active and start taking more care of myself. Keeping you in my prayers.

Lori said...

Pamela, i'm sorry to hear about your back problem...i hope you are feeling better soon...i am reeling a little bit at the news of your age...i never ever would have guessed...i don't think anyone would...i see you signed up for Heather's class...i am anxious to see what you come up with:)