Recognizing When Tissues Need Some Love.
This morning I was packing cucumbers in jars to make dill pickles and I noticed a little pain in my right arm. Granted I was doing my darnedest to get the most cucs in the jar that I could, but it was funny to have a pain without doing anything much…so I noticed it. This is the beginning of recognizing a soft tissue complaint. Some times it’s just hard to notice it because we’re thinking about something else or we’ve gotten used to it, or we just take it for granted that certain activities are going to hurt. A lot of times I’ve heard somebody say in response to some little ache or pain, “Oh, I’m getting old.” I don’t say that. I’m 36 and I’m not getting old for some time yet. Also, I just know better than that. I know that I may be wearing myself in spots, but I’m in control of whether I let that happen or whether I take steps to correct it. I have heard people my own age say they’re getting old. I want to grab them by the lapels and give them a good shake and let my inner Clint Eastwood come out.
As another example, I just got home from a 240 mile hike with my Sweetie. During the hike I noticed some pain around my right knee. This is one that I’ve noticed at times for awhile. I realized that if I really intend to maintain my long term vitality and pursue my version of meaningful activity for decades to come that this knee thing has reached the point where I need to nip it in the bud. Being me I started to gather information on it. Can I tell just where it is in the knee? Can I tell what part of my gate I notice it at the most? That’s interesting, it’s more aggravating to walk down hill than up hill. I also noticed that there were a few locations and qualities of pain that seemed to be distinct from each other and show up at different times. It seems like something I bit complex that I’d like to have some assistance with.
The pickle/arm thing? That’s pretty straightforward. The sensation of pain in the arm was the exact same sensation I’ve been having when I do my morning brush cutting. We just got a brush cutter (like a weed whacker) and we’ve only got the single strap harness. I’ve been nibbling away at the brush by doing a tank or two of whacking every morning. The strain is starting to accumulate in my right biceps area, which was already predisposed to overuse, and I haven’t done any relieving activities. A massage would feel great, but I can solve this myself pretty easily by stretching out the area that I’ve been holding in a shortened position. I should go do that right now…
I guess I should say a word about why I want to do something with the knee, after all I can still get around. But the thing is, I know there’s some non-optimal functioning there. It’s really clear. And it’s also really clear that it’s not self correcting. If I wait, blithely telling myself, “hey, what are you worried about…you just hiked 240 miles didn’t you?” I’m only going to be keeping it in this position of non-optimal function longer and let more wear happen in the tissue. Likely there’s some extra wear happening in the cartilage, which is already slow to regenerate and it’s going to take awhile to normalize after the stress is removed. It would behoove me to correct that while I’m younger and my cells are still replacing themselves at a good clip. The longer I wait the more wear builds up and the older I’ll be so my body wont regenerate as fast. Also these things tend to have a cascade effect that could, or probably already has effected my foot and hip (or maybe that was where it started from).
The point I’m trying to make is that it takes a little bit to notice stuff, especially when we’ve become used to it. Also those fatalistic statements like, “I’m getting old.” can be really, really damaging to one’s long term joy and vitality, because they remove any sense that you have the power to affect the situation. You may have a challenging situation, but there is almost invariably something that you can do about it.
How have you been? Doing anything rambunctious this summer? Have you noticed any aches and pains accumulating that need to be dealt with? I am here to support you while you pursue a life of joyful activity.