Wednesday, February 3, 2016

So As To Say, So It Goes

I have, apparently or allegedly, approximately 57 minutes until the wash cycle is done, although I tend not to believe what that timer tells me. I can be standing there, watching it the display switch from "2" to "1" right in front of me, while several years of washing machine time subsequently passes before we finally get to the ding ding ding beep boop boop bah dah dah dah ding etc. I don't believe it for a minute.

Anyway, the clock is ticking, or at least time is passing (and that being an assertion which I am not willing to dispute, at this hour) and I'm hoping to put a few thoughts to rest tonight, before I lay my weary head down.

I'll try to keep this relatively brief, because this post is really here to serve two primary purposes: one, to take notes on today, for future reference by yours truly; and two, to share a few things I read today, with anyone reading who may be in search of similar insights.  However, some exposition will be required, as is the custom here, so bear with me, if you please...

I injured myself a few weeks ago.  It wasn't a severe injury, but it was an acute one which left me significantly disabled for a few days.  Basically what happened was that on a cold day in early January (the 9th) I went for a cross-country ski run using poor wax on icy snow and in spite of the slippery conditions I pushed myself pretty hard for a couple hours, climbed a couple burly hills, and returned to my car feeling great, energized, refreshed. Two days later I found myself unable to lift my right leg normally. Or at all. I'd strained my hip flexor(s), or so I was told, and boy let me tell you. This is not something you want to do.

It was a surprisingly debilitating experience; I could not stand, sit, walk, move, sleep, breathe or think normally. Lifting my foot a half-inch off the ground, or bending at the waist by most fractions of any degree, was shockingly painful. It was excruciating at worst, and not in any way I could just power through--it felt as though my whole body was recoiling from the slightest use of the muscle, or group of muscles (or ligaments, tendons, fascia, what have you), and slapping a "DO NOT USE" sign in my face.  DO NOT DO THAT.  Or else!  I mean it!  Things will NOT be OK if you don't stop RIGHT NOW!  STOP!!!

Luckily, I have a great chiropractor and I managed to connect with a fantastically skilled massage therapist who worked wonders, but I really have to give my body the credit it's due. I was truly humbled and amazed by not only the intensity of the injury (which at one point had me wondering if was going to have to call for help) but also the beauty and power of the human body, in its ability both to protect, and to heal.

I had been told of this so-called "so-as" muscle by a woman I used to see for massage, years ago. She used to tell me mine were both tight, problem areas needing attention, and I heard this from her frequently enough that you'd think I would have at least taken it upon myself to learn that this extremely important muscle's name is actually the "psoas", not to mention where it is and what it does and how it works and why it matters. But I didn't learn that back then, and I didn't really make a lot of important connections about what she was telling at the time, and I do have my reasons for that. Some of them I know, and some of them I'm still finding out.

Anyway, so today was my first ski run since the injury.  I was told it would be bad for a few days to a week, and then "vulnerable" for another 6-8 weeks.  Fortunately, that vulnerability has, subtle, but it so happens that the psoas is one of the most important muscles in the human body, so I've been aware of this area of weakness, you might say... Nonetheless, I went for a pretty long, pretty steady ski run today, and I've been feeling it since I got back home. Strangely, one of most notable things I've been feeling besides a worrisome tightness in both of my hips is just downright heart-broken, which is actually a highly atypical way for me to feel after doing something I love more than just about anything there is to do in this world. It makes no sense, I don't get it. So after enduring a stupid evening of tender misery, I buoyed myself up enough to do a little research via search engine, on the first two words that came to mind: "psoas grief". Sometimes these things are connected, ya know? Someone must know something that might help.

What I found wasn't all that surprising, but it was illuminating, and something of a comfort. I'll be mulling it all over for a while, because it got me to thinking about the connections between psoas troubles that might be caused by sitting all day (say, at an office type job), and psoas troubles that might be related to some kind of trauma, and how tricky it can be to get to the heart of a problem that lies somewhere between your physical reality and your emotional existence.  The "shaking" release that's described in a couple of the articles is something I've experienced, during massage or in a safe state of rest...and while I'd always perceived it as release of  tension, it makes a lot more sense to me, now. 

A safe state of rest... is pretty hard to come by for most folks these days.  I don't expect to find one myself tonight, but I'd better at least head in that direction. The laundry's in the dryer, which unfortunately I forgot to actually turn on, and here's some further reading, in case you find yourself vaguely interested. Oh and by the way, the psoas is involved in all sorts of stuff besides just flexing your hips--it's a key player in lower back pain, posture, stride, even knees and ankles, etc.  It's kind of a big deal.

Take care...

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