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Monday, April 26, 2004

Eight out of Ten

This is my pain scale, where 1 = no pain and 10 = excruciating.

It was a tough week. I am addressing issues related to beliefs and physical pain, now. You see, I started taking a Pilates class down the street at the urging of the instructor. Pilates is about strength from within then extending out. This translates into working with your core energy a lot. It all begins with the abdominals. Abdominals are the muscles that support the back. My back is injured from my HEB incident 13 years ago and my abdominals resemble a keg more than a six pack. So, I have core issues.

Last week in Pilates (week 2), I focused on strength in the abdominals and it was great. However, the next couple of days, my original back injury (quadratus lumborum) and subsequent piriformis injury became aggravated again. This is actually the worst I have felt since the original injury 13 years ago.

On Tuesday - Friday I was at an archive conference here in S.A. and we were sitting all day in these hard flat chairs. By Thursday evening I was experiencing limited movement in my ability to walk. Quite frightening. SO I reinstated my back stretches that I had learned and stopped using (I know, I know, Dawn & Mom). This helps fairly immediately, and have continued to use them since. I did not go to the last day of the conference, preferring instead to stay supine with alternating heat / cold packs.

The trick with stretching is that after a while I feel ok and don't want to take the 30 minutes twice a day to do the stretches. This is especially true if I wake up late or am running late or too busy. However, injuries are deceptive that way. I think this needs to be more of something I do every day for good (no comments from the peanut gallery -- you can tell me to do it all you like but until I decide to it's just wasted air).

My original recovery from these injuries took months because I was informed to stay as still as possible to let the injuries heal. This is counter to more modern work at re-strengthening the injured muscles. Sadly, because I feel the original injury never healed properly, I have had subsequent minor support injuries.

One thing I quickly noticed in Pilates is that my right side (where the injuries are at) is weaker and "lower" -- like it's lazy. My abs are stronger on the left side. I feel like I am finally restrengthening this, and to that point, I am, today back at a "3" or "4" in the pain scale. I also discovered that by engaging my abs as I stretch, I get a MUCH more powerful stretch, with more distance and lengthening of the stretches. This is a good thing because it shows progress and is very helpful over all.

So, from an energetic standpoint, I've spent the last 13 years operating outside of core energy. I've been engaging legs, arms, neck, and chest for strength when I really needed to focus on the abs and back -- the central point of strength. Consistent with my experiences with stretching, if I hold tight in my abs and back, my limbs are more able to be stabilized and flexible. Also, pain reduction is MUCH faster. A good thing.

So, largely, I've been dealing with this during the last week. I'm on summer vacation from school (one week, ends this Thursday). There is a lot of belief work in all this stuff, too -- fear of success, fear of using core strength, being stabilized and supportive of myself. This is all what I am working on here, so there's lots of movement happening. Fortunately it's more flexbile movement now. I hope I'm pain free in a day or so.

I have pilates tonight. We'll see. :)

More posting soon. It's been a weird couple of weeks and I've been introspective and thus didn't feel like sharing with the world.

Gotta go square up the joint.

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