Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Postural Retraining

I am in possession of an injury which I am not happy about in the slightest.

It is a bedroom injury. Yes. I was injured in a bedroom. That constitutes a bedroom injury - doesn't it?

On Saturday night I was round at Blarney's giving her a hand with Chance and Lance as Barney had something on. Over the evening, in between intermittent cuddles with the Maow Maow, I helped Blarney give the boys a bath, read them a book and give them a bottle in preparation for bed. I'm a nice friend like that. The lads are my proxy nephews and I enjoy pitching in. Bath time is always fun - and because I can wash hair without getting soap in their eyes, I'm quite popular. I have memories as a child of having preferred people to bathe me. Nanny was better than Granny - Granny always got soap in my eyes when she washed my hair.

After bath and book and milk and cuddles, we took them upstairs and got them into their sleeping bags.

Chance was placed into his cot without issues.

Then it was Lance's turn. Blarney asked me to put Lance in his cot - her own back is not in a great state it's something a strong and able person should be able to do without issue - I've done this countless times. Pick up child. Place in cot. Simple.


I felt something give around my ilio-sacral region as I lifted Lance off the ground. Somehow I managed to get himup and over the railing into bed where Blarney quietened him for sleep.

And I flopped over into a ball, bending forward knowing immediately that I was in for a few days of discomfort. Stretching tentatively, I could feel the damage. Muscle strain. Lower back / sacral / gluteal area. Joy of joys.

There goes the training routine for the week.

Running dowstairs I found an ice pack in the freezer and strapped it to my back, lying on the couch for about half an hour wondering if I was going to get home okay. Maow Maow climbed on top of me in sympathy as Blarney fetched me a cup of tea.

Out done by a two-year-old!

All of this because of a 17 kilogram two-year-old - sheesh. I normally do a 27.5 kg squat track in pump. Pinochet regularly has me dead lifting and squating with 40 kilograms to hand. Okay, the two-year-old is the size and shape of a small bar fridge. Chance and Lance are like twin baby rhinos in size and demeanor, but bathed, dressed in clean pyjamas and with a bottle in hand they're like the most wonderful things in the world and you can forgive them pretty much anything. And they smell good. I never knew that two-year-olds could smell good - but they do when they're bathed. The rest of the time they're just feral and they don't smell good at all.

After a rest, tentatively I stood up. Sure, there was a bit of damage, but I was up, walking, bending and moving. I wasn't in agony - I'll describe it as moderate discomfort. Could have been far worse.

Driving home wasn't as fraught as putting on the seatbelt. Arriving home, I took the stairs slowly, got inside and lay down on the floor, knees in the air, head on a stack of books.

Like most things in my life, there is a drill. I have a routine when I have a cold, when insomnia calls and when I look after cats. A drill for when my heart gets broken and for when visitors come to stay.

There is a practiced, but thankfully rarely used protocol for when I munt out my back. Having some back pain twenty years ago I went for Alexander Technique classes. Some of the best money I've ever spent. The protocol has been used four times to date. Told you I was lucky.

For those who've never heard of it, Wikipedia's explanation of Alexander Technique says:

"The Alexander technique aims to teach people how to stand, hold themselves and move differently in order to eliminate unnecessary tension in their bodies. It is an educational process, not a relaxation technique or form of exercise. The Alexander technique has been shown to be helpful for people suffering from tension headaches, back pain, frozen shoulders, housemaid's knee, flat feet, tennis elbow, minor digestive problems, asthma, difficulties sleeping, clumsiness, irritability and lethargy. Practictioners say such problems are often caused by people repeatedly mis-using their bodies over a long period of time, for example by standing or sitting with their weight unevenly distributed, holding their heads incorrectly, or walking or running inefficiently. The purpose of the Alexander technique is to help people unlearn bad physical habits and return to a balanced state of rest and poise in which the body is well-aligned."

The head on books, knees in the air on the floor exercise is something I do weekly to keep me in a good spot. When my back misbehaves, I'll do this a few times a day. It really helps.

Watching my body over this time has been funny. I have Rosalie, my old Alexander Technique teacher's voice in my head. Shoulder blades down, hips forward, head like a ping pong ball on a string on your neck. Small adjustments bring relief from the aches and pains.

So does nurofen.

So does making sure I don't stay in one position for too long and strapping a hot water bottle to my back inbetween times.

I'm also thankful for all the exercise I do, as it's making the recovery far more easy. Fit, strong muscles repair more quickly.

Yesterday, I called my massage therapist to get an appointment, the last phase in helping the back along.

"Peter, I need to see you."
"You can't stay away from me."
"I'm injured, you daft git."
"What have you done this time? Marathon running, hauling Mini's around a car park? Belting up your trainer?"
"Bedroom injury."
"Who's the lucky man?"
"Don't give me lip. I was placing my friend's two-year-old son in his cot."
"Yep, that will do it."
"So when can I see you?"
"Tomorrow."  He named a time.
"Thanks. You get to play with my arse for half an hour. Aren't you lucky?"
"I'm looking forward to it already."
"Aren't I supposed to say that?"
"You're the one paying me... remember that."

I don't need to tell you that Peter's been my massage therapist for many years and we have the same sense of humour.

Two days on I'm seeing that this is all a minor glitch. I walked home from work last night and walked in today - walking feels good. As long as I keep moving, I'm fine. I'm so grateful I'm strong, fit and healthy and have a good knowledge of first aid fundamentals.

Okay, I'm not in the gym, where I would like to be - but I'm mobile and the ache is lessening every day.

And that will teach me to go anywhere near two-year-olds again.


Cathy said...

Poor Pandora, I hope you feel better very soon. My hubby did the same thing when our son was young; lifted him onto a swing in the park and 'ping'...he had to crawl home from the park, much to our son's amusement.
I'm interested in your Alexander Technique for my frozen shoulder...but I'm not sure that I can change or reeducate my movements as you say, given that it's the fact that I sleep with one arm thrown over my head that is causing the problem! I'll have a look on the net though, thanks for the tip!

River said...

Oh ouch! I've done that part of my back so often and it's something different that sets it off every time. Last time all I did was take a small sidestep to avoid chewing gum on the footpath and "ping!". Hot water bottle as soon as I got home, then flat on the bed with my knees and feet up on the pillows for the night. I was able to go to work the next day.

Jackie K said...

Oh wow, the Alexander Technique! Haven't heard of that for awhile, in fact I had forgotten all about it. I learned some "lite" stuff from a magazine article I tore out years and years ago and it did help me when I had a sore back once a long time ago.
Sounds like your drills are well practiced and effective - glad this didn't knock you out for days.