Friday, September 4, 2020

Aches and Pains Explained

 I noticed it in  Pilates on Tuesday morning.  I didn't do anything unusual, but all of a sudden certain movements were quite unpleasant. 

The tendon or ligament or nerve that goes over the top of my hip bone was inflamed.  Swollen, warm to the touch, ouchy when compressed.  Sitting up straight became an imperative.  Slouching produced a sharp, hot pain.

Yes, pain.  I adhere to the mantra given to me by a marvelous PT in Chicago as I started out on this journey:  Assess the threat value of the sensation.  Akin to adopting a Mindfulness outlook, I notice and appreciate and investigate the feeling.  I don't automatically jump to pain.

This was pain.  I took 2 Advil and 1 Bayer and lay on my belly.  I rolled over.  I sat up.  Nothing worked.  I reviewed my activities, such as they were, trying to figure out when I'd done such damage to myself.  I could recall no injury, no incident, no moment of trauma.

I hate when that happens.  I like to know the what's and the why's when it comes to my physical being.  Pain of unknown origin is scary, and I don't need any more scariness in my life these days.

I took to the pool to stretch it out, to let the buoyancy cosset my body and my soul, to try and find some relief.  TBG came with me, and he watched as I pushed off to start swimming laps.

I got about 5 feet into the glide when I stood up, smiling, only to face his look of concern.  Why had I stopped?  Because I figured out what I did to cause my discomfort. I had just felt every part of what was hurting me, and I knew why.

Earlier in the week, TBG suggested that I crouch and push off the side of the pool to start my lap.  Bending my hip fold has been difficult since I was perforated; there's a lot of scar tissue gumming up the works.  But I tried it and surprised myself and found that as the laps went by I was able to get tighter and tighter, my thighs closer to my belly, my heels touching my butt.  

Pushing off through my heels uses all the muscles in and around that butt, that formerly empty sack of flesh, now developing muscles.  Apparently, these are muscles that have been underutilized and thus gone dormant during my recovery.  I am abashed to have ignored them so meaningfully.  

Using all my glutes will enable me to walk without limping.  I know this.  In my defense, it's hard to engage muscles when the nerves surrounding them have been severed and the muscles themselves have been obliterated by bullets.  It's hard to make the mind body connection when doing so is negatively reinforced by unpleasant sensations.  No matter how I look at it, those glutes have been underutilized for a decade.

Perhaps they were tickled when I did squats in the gym, but I was always afraid to go deeper, to push my limits, scared of I don't know what but there it was.  The explosive upward thrust that makes the power of the squat so effective was another thing that the shooter took from me.... or so I told myself.

But in the pool, all was well. I could scootch back against the wall and shoot myself across the water.  Nothing hurt, after 20 or 30 laps.  Everything was loosened up and working together, like a well oiled machine.

That PT gave me another verse to live by:  Motion is Lotion.  Getting the synovial fluid flowing helps lubricate the joints and the pieces that surround them.  It's the getting started that's hard, because in the beginning my parts scrape and pull and press against one another in the most annoying manner.  Once they are greased, I'm pain free.

There's a lesson there, one that I am going to take to heart right now.  This post is over, without any more conclusions drawn or lessons learned.  I'm going to swim.


  1. That same tendon or ligament over the hip is what got me out of bed too early again this morning, and it isn't even related to the arthritic degrading of that hip joint. My PT and I will be working on it. It can really hurt!

    1. It comes up in so many movements... esp rolling over in bed!

  2. I am also always happier when I know why something hurts.

    1. As long s the pain was moving around, I was happy to attribute it to "getting shot". But I've been basically apin free for such a long time that this really shook me.
      Knowledge is key.......


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