Sunday, September 25, 2011

By Back Strategy

 The idea behind this post is that I wanted to detail what I'm doing for my back and perhaps get some feedback on it. I understand that you doctors are not allowed to comment on this sort of discussion for fear of dispensing medical advice inappropriately and for fear of malpractice stuff...funny world where the real experts are not allowed to participate.

For the two years before this, I had real bad back problems which I was primarily dealing with by visiting a chiro weekly and spending time in the hot tub. Since March, I've been taking a few aspirin daily (actually two pairs of buffered aspirin daily) and trying to do the following twice a day.   When I wake up in the morning...actually, its more when I finally get out of bed, I try to start with:

  1. Breakfall (from standing position, bend my knees and lean back while curling up in a ball and slapping the rug on both sides to reduce the momentum. I bend my knees and really curl into a ball so its pretty gentle). Then, while rolled up in a ball, I roll around on my back at different angles at some length. Most of a minute. I find it pleasant and my back will crack (in a good way) from half a dozen to a dozen times. My neck too. I change the angle on each roll and it seems to wake me up, get some blood circulating, and loosen up some of the really bad stiffness.
  2. Lying flat of my back, feet on the ground and my knees up, I rotate my pelvis and hold it for awhile, 20-30 seconds. Three repetitions.  For those of you who don't know what this means, I push my lower back down so that instead of having some arch and some space between my lower back and the ground, I try to get it totally flat. It flexes my abs and stretches my back. Very therapeutic.  
  3. Situps. I do four sets (ideally). One set of regular crunches, very easy. Maybe just 10. Then, placing one knee up and the other foot across it, I crunch with a twist pulling the far elbow towards the knee of the leg that is horizontal. I'll do this 15 times then I'll do ten more with the leg going from hyperstretched out straight to pulling the knee up to touch the opposite elbow.  Then the same 15 & 10 on the other side. Then 10 straight to finish up.
  4. More rolling and some hyperstretching. Here, I not only stretch out arms above my head, flat on my back as long as I can go, I also will pull one hand with the other getting a slightly angled stretch. My shoulders will go clickity clackity while I do this.
  5. I pull my knees alternatively up to my chest, then both together. From there, I let my knees fall to the right, I turn my head and upper torso the other way to the left. Back cracks. Then repeat the other way.
  6. Some pushups. Maybe I do a set of 25. Rest. Then 20. Rest. 15. Today, for instance, having fallen on and injured my wrist last night, I just hung out in plank for most of a minute. Twice. Plank, for those of you who haven't been to a yoga class, is pushup position except you support yourself on your elbows with your forearms on the floor.
  7. Maybe more rolling. I love to roll. My dog hates it so I put her up the bed so she doesn't get too close and get squashed.  The bed is too high for her to jump down from. She's tiny.  Don't ask, it's my wife's choice.
  8. I do some very light stretching (remember, this is my morning protocol and I'm still pre-shower and VERY stiff). I'll do something like a sitting toe touch but I keep my knees bent and I probably only get my hands on my ankles. I don't force at all.  Anything too intense here and I'm pulling muscles.  I'll also sit with my legs spread as far as they go (about 45 degrees) and I lean gently forward, then onto each leg. No bouncing or forcing.
  9. Kicking. I often stand up and kick for maybe 50 kicks. They are about knee or thigh height. I actually put a pillow over the edge of the bed and try to just graze it with the bottom of my foot for front kicks (the wife and dog hate this part) and I'll do sets of 10 snap kicks off each leg.  If' I'm feeling intense, I might add some roundhouse kicks or side kicks but for these, given my hip problems and stiffness, I really don't get above thigh height in the morning.
When I do this in the evening or midday (weekends and holidays), its the same routine but more intense.

What do you think? This is a homegrown mix of exercises that I've picked up through the years. BTW, my Dad started every morning with four sets of 25 pushups and situps. I spent much of my childhood holding his legs for the situps.  I don't remember if he lowered the number in his late 60s or 70s (he died at 75) but I do have vivid memories of holding them both as a kid and as a teenager.  

Friday, September 02, 2011

How would you like to feel no pain?

I just read an about me and post from a blog called Memoirs of a Grasshopper. Great stuff. I'll quote some extracts from the post: What's to Gain From Pain?.  My advice,  go read the original....

Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to be impervious to pain? As a martial artist, it'd certainly have its perks. It's the sort of superhuman power that belongs in comic books. Amazingly for some people it is a reality.

Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis CIPA is a rare condition in which children are born without the ability to sense pain .... They are normal in every other sense. ...Children born with CIPA have no protective reflexes...Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to go to his classes....