August 28th, 2020

children of dune - leto 1

first pt appointment for my back - an adventure

So here is what I learned: my back is probably fine, in itself.

The problem is my hips and related muscles.

The following were performed for her totally professional amusement after she did resistance checking of my legs, feet, and toes:

1.) get on the ball of my foot, lift the other leg, and kind of bounce my heel up and down
2.) repeat with other leg
3.) bend over from standing position
4.) bend backward from standing position
5.) lay down and pull my bent knee to my opposite shoulder
6.) repeat with other leg
other numbers.) I don't remember exactly but variations

From what she said after evaluating me, checking my flexibility, and asking me a series of questions and me volunteering more related to my answers: my back is uninjured, no vertebrae are being sketchy, nothing unaligned, etc. Good. The problem is my hips are stiff as fuck and my back has been pressed into compensatory service for way too long in ways that are not in the original design. There could (maybe?) be other problems but she's pretty sure its asshole hips.

Basically, my hips are hurting my back and need some correction to be brought to stop their freeloading ways.

Example (used several times in different variations):
Her: Your hips are immobile doing [this thing]
Me: What are they supposed to do?
Her: *look of very professional 'oh boy'*

Having a very very tight hamstring (all my life) has been a problem and did not help, which combined with stiff hips is why I was also having periods of intense left leg (rarely but sometimes, right leg) pain that felt like a nerve was being sawed along its length from hip to knee (or sometimes, mid-calf) for weeks or months at a time over the last few years.

So my orders: get a three foot long foam roller and while supporting myself full-length, roll my body, hips to knees, on top of it for thirty seconds on all four sides (face up, face down, and on my sides with only the necessary upper body parts touching the floor to keep myself aloft upon the roller (when on my sides, the opposite foot gets to help!). Then a series of simple exercises ('sit on bed with feet on floor, straighten so your pelvis is over your hips, and flex your foot for thirty seconds' for each foot; 'using your bed, place folded leg on bed and other foot on floor, lean over folded leg and slide folded leg forward without moving foot on floor' and others helpfully sent with my after-visit summary and report. Pelvis over the hips is super important to more than one).

When she took out the foam roll and demonstrated how to use it on all four sides:
Me: What's this for again?
Her: It will help loosen your muscles before the exercises.

After rolling myself over foam roller on all four sides mostly successfully from a certain point of view:
Me: Wait. Am I being tenderized like a steak?
Her: Yes.

So in short, 'tenderize, then exercise' is the solution to the pressing 'hips like idek'. And PT once a week for a while. Sometimes with dry needles: I am honestly looking forward to it. It just sounds cool.

I have to admit, this does help give context to all the times people say 'bend from the hips not the back' like that was something bodies did. Apparently, that's a real thing you can do and not some kind of weird way to annoy me with nonsense; the more you know.

And that explains something: after Child was born I took jazz dance for one of my college credits and also to help fix my balance and endurance. I told the teacher I had a bad back sometimes--that started coincidentally after I quit athletics when I was sixteen--and so she'd come to assist or watch me with some of the positions and moves and see if I needed to skip any. I never did, actually, and I forgot all about my back.

Part of this was because I was fucking exhausted; to keep up, I'd go an hour before class to do the stretches she taught us and then the entire warm-up routine, so in class I'd be less obviously really bad at using my body on beat. But the actual reason is now kind of horribly obvious.

By the time that class ended--it was an nine week summer course--I could not only touch my toes, but flatten my hands on the floor, and I could do a split on a turn from the barre to the floor with either leg forward, things I had never in my life been able to come close to doing or even thought possible without literally cutting those muscles. I was eighty percent getting to the front split, maybe closer. That's just the dramatic stuff; there were a ton of things my body apparently could actually do and boy was I surprised every time.

And she taught us the single most useful exercise I learned, that I've been trying and trying to work out why I can't manage since I strained my back; no matter what I do, I can't get the position to start it. I used to do it often years ago and it was only when my PT therapist was talking about hips near the end of the visit that I realized what the problem was.

For the exercise you stand away from the barre and bend over, grab the barre, then do a slow motion arch and release by muscle group up and down your back from hips to neck. She watched me doing that one, and to teach me, she'd put a hand on my back to indicate where to tighten or release in sequence.

(When it comes to movement, I'm a very physical learner. As in, for a lot of things, after demonstrating it for us all, she'd take me aside and physically move my body herself until my body clicked. Reinforce that shit with a beat, and I could easily keep up with the class when performing no matter the speed, whereas without music, I was always too slow. When I played basketball and was a cheerleader, same thing for anything very new. I got better at translating it, but if pressed for time, more than once, a teammate took me aside and physically moved my body through something that I just wasn't able to get no matter how many times I watched.)

I loved those back exercises; it took a lot of control, but it relaxed the fuck out of my back after (and felt like my whole body), and by the time class ended, I could do it going from flat footed to the ball of my foot and back both in sequence and during the exercise without thinking about it. I could do the entire exercise mid-floor without the barre before class was done. It was part of my pre-class routine, in fact, as soon as I learned it well enough to use it. Afterward, all my stretches were much easier and I could more easily perform a lot of the positions and steps.

Today, I realized:
To get to that initial position--back straight, arms stretched full length to hold the barre, upper body perpendicular to the floor--I need to bend at the hips, which very obviously I could do then pretty goddamn well and completely forgot was humanly possible since. It was, in fact, a necessary component for most of the stretches I used to do and haven't been able to while wondering why why why.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why the hell I didn't realize that until now. Seriously, what the fuck. Posted at Dreamwidth: | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments