My Stupid Back: What I’m doing to smarten it up

MRI

When I started this blog about embracing simplicity, it had a lot to do with leaving behind the trauma of the job I had just quit. I was on a quest to remove any and all unnecessary stress from my life. With an abusive boss and indifferent management removed from the equation, I could go about finding the joy in life that we are all entitled to. Right?

In retrospect, there were a lot of factors that I did not consider. I’ve heard people talk about how we hold emotional tension in certain parts of our bodies, and honestly, I always thought that was hokum. It was easier for me to wrap my skeptical brain around the mechanics of having too many things to do in too little time, the effects of cortisol on the body, and poor posture. The truth is, it was probably a combination of factors – a perfect storm of mechanical issues, bad habits and stress. As a working mom, I was lifting my toddler into and out of his car seat twice a day, cooking and cleaning, gardening, and smiling through my deflated ego as I alternated between sitting at a desk and dashing in a different direction every five minutes for eight to ten hours per day. Every task was completed at top speed. I was also fooling myself into believing that this really was the urban dream life I always pictured.

Looking back, all I can think now is, No wonder…

I have always been a proponent of simple living – growing the food you eat, making beautiful things, remembering at all times what’s really important, and minimizing any and all stress.

I have made strides in the years since that horrid job. I have a new job that I really love with management that appreciates, encourages and respects all staff. I have followed my passion and published a novel, with another one on the way. My man has taken on more of the household chores and my son can climb in and out of the car himself. My free time is spent on the things that lift me up: writing, design, gardening, sewing and playing with my little boy.

So, why the hell did my body collapse on me three months ago?

In a nutshell, all of my efforts were too little too late. More to the point, I was still holding all of that old tension in my joints and muscles and it was causing a mind-blowing chain reaction from head to toe. It didn’t help that my work and hobbies all require an awkward back posture. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but essentially, mild scoliosis, an osteophyte and some bulging discs were aggravated by incorrect posture and a bloody lazy core.

My body decided it had enough of my bullshit and walked off the job.

It’s been a long three months filled with doctor appointments, assessments, exercises and treatments. I don’t leave the house unless it’s for an appointment. I am forced to spend 80% of my waking hours lying down because I am unable to hold myself upright for much longer than two hours at a time. So, yeah, it got my attention.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom and I am optimistic about getting my life back. I have seen progress with chiropractic care, loads of rest and hourly stretching. For the past couple of weeks, I have also been receiving private sessions with the highly accomplished Pilates instructors at The Loft Pilates in Toronto. These sessions have encouraged me to slow down, breathe and take stock of the situation. (I’ve always had a tendency to dive headfirst into activities without giving much thought to form.) I also have a heightened awareness of my body and movements and I’m learning to catch and correct myself before I can do any further damage. When I engage the mind-body connection, it’s remarkable how I can will a specific muscle to calm down and release.

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I’m not out of the woods yet, and those magical moments of clarity and control are still fleeting. But the serious depression and constant sense of foreboding have waned. No longer am I gripped by fear of a future shaped by physical disability. I have managed to find the feelings between the thoughts, and to slow down my whirling brain. With commitment and faith in my body’s ability to heal, I am optimistic. And that is simply wonderful.

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2 Comments

  1. December 4, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    I hear you. Months after Finn was in the hospital with Kawasaki’s Disease, I started having unbelievable pain in my jaw causing blinding headaches. I had X-Rays and went to the chiropractor. I was taking anti-inflammatories daily. Finally, I went to the dentist and was told that I had been grinding my teeth at night so severely that it was whittling down my enamel and causing the jaw pain. Bruxism. I still have to remind myself to loosen my jaw throughout the day when I catch myself clenching.

    • simplcity said,

      December 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

      I’m glad you got a diagnosis, Laila. Do you think it was the stress of Finn’s illness that was making you grind your teeth?


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