I made a visit to the chiropractor yesterday hoping to rid myself of a persistent kink in my lower back. Despite being outwardly out of shape, I went there thinking my framework was good. I practice yoga, I walk for exercise and lately I’ve added swimming, all things that should promote good bone health and alignment.
Alas, my framework is more a leaning Tower of Pizza than a stalwart Statue of Liberty. My feet are somewhat flat, my knees turn out, my hips are lopsided as are my shoulders, I carry my head too far forward and my back is hyper-curved.
It turns out I have writer’s syndrome – my term not chiropractor’s. The pain in my lower back is from slouching in my chair instead of sitting upright with straight spine. The chronic ache in my neck is from winching my head ever closer to the computer screen in a somewhat vulture like stare, and the burning in my shoulder blade is the result of over-developed, tense muscles on my dominant side from muscle fatigue over and improper mousing.
Improper mousing? That sounds like something my cat might do – maybe hunting the little rodents out of season or exceeding his limit?
Oh, and let’s not forget the dehydration. When the doc asked how much water I drink, I told him I use water to make my coffee. Who’d have known that soft-tissue and joints need plain H20 to keep them plump and healthy, and plenty of it? Or that swilling cup after cup of the caffeinated elixir of the writing gods was sucking my joint and bones as dry as the Egyptian desert?
I told the doc I’ve been writing, hunched over a typewriter and then computer, for more than twenty-five years. I never had these problems before. The kind young man gently pointed out that the problem is I’ve been around long enough to have been writing for the past twenty-five years, and apparently I’ve developed some pretty bad habits doing it.
There’s also the consideration that until a few years ago, I wasn’t devoting as much time to my chosen pursuit as I am now. I had children to care for, a day job, other things that kept my behind out of the desk chair, which is apparently contorting me into the Hunchback of Northland Fame.
Wouldn’t you know it? I finally emptied my nest of obligations and feathered it with the accoutrements of my dreams, only to find my spirit is willing but the old bones are too weak to carry me through.
I cursed my old age above the audible pops and cracks as the doc snapped my spine back into a semblance of proper alignment.
“You’re not that old.” He chuckled when he said it.
Oh yeah? I want to hear him say that when he’s on the bone-cracking table in about fifteen years.
He says it shouldn’t take long to get me straightened out. I’m doubtful about the chances of keeping me that way. I’m doing the therapy exercises he recommended and I’m shopping for a better desk chair.
I’m making an effort to be more aware of my posture. I’m even considering hanging a ping-pong ball above my desk that will hit me in the forehead when I start cantilevering my head beyond my shoulders, but I cannot give up the bean.
I cannot replace my hot java, with it’s depth of character and complexity of bitter and bold taste, for a glass of cold, transparent, bland water. Not to worry, the doc told me. I just have to drink at least as much water as I do coffee.
I’m sure he’s right about it being the solution, because with that much liquid going in has to come out and I won’t be able to stay at my desk long enough in any one sitting for it to cause a problem.
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