A Pain in the Butt. Literally. Starting before Christmas, I found myself stiff, limping, and in pain from “just muscle knots.”
My Conscience (finger-pointing at me): “Aha, sitting immobile for too long a stretch at the computer, were we? Not getting up, moving around, and doing physical stretches from time to time, as recommended? Well, what do you expect? What could have been so important? How are you going to justify this to yourself, and to people now making accommodations for your situation, hmmm?”
Concerns from family and friends, used to seeing me active, hiking, going dancing Saturday nights: “Hey, how come you’re limping?” — “What are you doing about it?” — “Have you seen your doctor?” — “Sure it’s not your sciatica? Sounds suspiciously like it… better have it checked out sooner than later.” — “Sitting too long at the computer, eh?”
Ouch. The truth hurts more than the butt and leg.
Ok, ok. It’s the New Year: I have been to the doctor, did get a physiotherapy exam (yes, it’s sciatica), got appropriate exercises, even got an acupuncture treatment right into those muscle knots, with one treatment to go, and things are greatly improving.
Has the lesson been learned? Aah, human nature – now there’s the real pain in the butt! Here’s a checklist for this retired person who better not find any more excuses:
NOTE: If you’re suffering from sciatica problems, see your doctor! Don’t do anything I mention or describe in this post, unless and how it’s prescribed by your doctor and physiotherapist for YOU! Every person is different!
- Make a chart of the specific physiotherapy exercises, with how many times per day they need to be done, and with check boxes to mark off actual activity (honestly).How is that working for me? Umm, much better than no chart or check boxes…
I admit that, despite the excruciating pain at times, those exercises do feel good (afterward!). It’s interesting that some of the stretches are similar to yoga exercises I used to do, and had meant to continue. What if I had simply continued?
I thought it strange that the young physiotherapist considered me very flexible for– ahem– my age, compared to her other patients in this category, apparently too stiff for many of the moves she assigned me. (I’m not quite eligible yet to be a legitimate, card-carrying senior citizen in our country!) I know quite a few people who are older yet much more flexible and fit than I; they dance, swim, hike, and/or do yoga.
I wondered if she had any patients who do yoga. Her answer, “Well, no,” sunk in, calling for a revision of an old slogan: A gentle yoga (or at least stretching) session a day must help keep the physiotherapist away!
- Set the oven timer to one hour. When that annoying thing goes off, get up and walk (hobble) into the kitchen to turn it off. Now that you’re right next to the basement stairs, go down to the elliptical trainer facing the TV, and do at least a 5-minute rejuvenating “run” or, under current circumstances, “stroll,” before sitting again.It actually feels great all over. Please don’t ask me how I got myself into this current predicament when I have had this marvellous technology in my house since 2015’s New Year’s Resolutions. This easy-access, virtual walk-around-the-block-in-any-weather machine gets me moving and strengthening leg muscles without having to shift all my weight from one leg to the other as in real walking. It strengthens my upper body at the same time.
Even better, it also gives me a great excuse to indulge in watching DVDs of older movies, nature programs with awesome photography, documentaries, and classical music on YouTube. (Sure it’s addictive, but hey, it’s all therapy! I’m exercising my body, mind, and emotions, and that keeps me increasing both time and speed on it, and prevents boredom).
- Get back to enjoying those projects and reading that require sitting at the computer or drawing table, while adhering to the above physical strategies to buttress my health.
There’s a German expression for the ability to sit still, also to endure, persevere, and get stuff done: to have Sitzfleisch, literally, to have “sitting/seat flesh” or, as Google Translator put it: “seated meat”! At the risk of becoming the butt of a bad joke, I say, for writers it’s a lovely (if somewhat cheeky) anatomical idiom indeed!
Sitzfleisch! Just not too much.