I’ve been suffering with a bad back this past week. It sort of ‘went’ a week or so ago. I say sort of, as this time there was no real big twang moment, more of an increasing sense of unease and restricted movement. Eventually it did reach the point where it was too uncomfortable to really move, at which point I decided to go to yoga. My thinking behind this was that I’d not been to yoga for a while, with one thing and another, and that I just needed a bit of a stretch. It was also a case of kill or cure – it can safely be concluded that it was a kill and not a cure. At all.
I’ve reached the point with slow movement, a bit of stretching, a bit of resting and a bit of sitting cross legged in the chair to keep my back straight that I’ve started to mend. I had hoped that it would sort itself out of it’s own accord and that I wouldn’t have to have any treatment on it. I was fairly confident that it was my glutes and hamstrings that were the guilty party, being tight enough to snap. I decided a massage was just the thing to get me sorted and at the very least get me back on the road to recovery in the most pain free way! I went to the amazing Art of Touch in Albfeira, where I also go for my yoga classes.
I’d like to say it was enjoyable, but that would be a big lie. Anyone that’s had very tight muscles massaged will tell you that it doesn’t really go into the relaxing, enjoyable bracket – more something to be endured whilst you try your very best to breathe through it, understanding that it is all to the benefit of your body in the long term.
Sadly, I was correct – my glutes and hamstrings were to blame. This was established early on, with there being no pain in my back, but I hit the roof when my glutes were set upon! It transpired my quads, hips and pelvis weren’t in such great shape either. So, basically the whole of my lower body – between waist and knees is stuck together in a heap. The final death knell was the weak core. Not the fancy dancy abdominal muscles that everyone wants to mould into a six pack, but the really important, stabilising, deep core muscles.
Here’s the rub. I don’t have those muscles – well they are there, but they are a bit saggy and torn. They were destroyed a long, long time ago. Never at any time, did I realise the impact that the destruction of those tiny little muscles would have on the functioning of my body for the remainder of my adult life. You see, I’ve had 6 relatively minor operations on my pelvic area, but with each operation I was merrily blown up like a balloon and deflated again within the space of 60 minutes. During the last operation, besides being blown up, I also had my insides hoovered out. This has left me with very weak core muscles and a somewhat saggy undercarriage! To say I was devastated by my weak core coming to light again, would be a bit of an understatement. I’ve had these problems since I was about 14, with my insides being stuck together in a sticky, messy, heap. I have never really had a comfortable pelvic area and prior to my hysterectomy was in pain to some degree on most days. This alone, has impacted my posture as I have tried to stand or walk in a way that reduced the pain, which isn’t necessarily the correct way to stand.
It seems that basically what I’ve been doing for many, many years is forcing those parts of my body that do work to do the work of those parts that don’t. However, for the first time EVER, I left my massage with some hope. I was shown some exercises to do to help improve the function of my deep core muscles. The purpose of exercising and strengthening these tiny, tiny muscles was explained to me. I’ve been given breathing exercises to do, been advised on the type of yoga that would help me recover, ideas on how to sit, how to manage my body during the day, things that are good and bad (sadly knitting and crochet are out for a while) and told definitely not to overdo things and take time to repair. There is a fab women’s specific Personal Trainer on YouTube – Dr Bri at FemFusionFitness who does a whole course in regaining some function in a saggy undercarriage and moves aimed at protecting the core – from lifting, to toilet training and how to stand correctly. So there is help out there, it just takes some finding and at least now I know what it is I’m looking for.
I’ve entered the London Moonwalk in May 2020. It is a bucket list item and I really want to make it to the start line. This alone is enough to make me listen, to go back to basics and to get some strength and stability in my core. At the end of the day the walk cannot happen if I don’t do that. I’ve always worked on the premise that if I push my body hard enough I can prove to myself and the world that it isn’t the total let down I believe it to be. But it seems I have pushed myself to the limit now, and I need to stop, slow down and start to fix it, to show it some love and encourage it to smile again – possibly to smile for the first time in its life.