Who hacked my back? Was it my little sway in my lower back area? Was it my tweaked knee? Was it my very subtle, yet very important psoas muscle?
Well, it goes a little like this… first I had a little no nothing knee injury few years ago while wearing high heels in my kitchen and entertaining friends. Note to self, don’t wear high heels, sip wine and make fast turning movements from one kitchen counter to another. Lesson learned. Albeit, left with a knee that still remembers it well on my left side.
Secondly, our very sweet girl, Ginjr, a Royal Standard Poodle was terribly injured several months ago by a woman who with her full grocery cart T-Boned Ginjr who was standing next to me. Poor Ginjr was hit so hard that all 76 lbs of her flipped up into the air, legs up to the sky, all the while trying to right herself by trying to squirm herself to an upright position, landed horribly flat on her back on the cement. This has been the beginning of all of Ginjr’s musculoskeletal and kidney injury and damage. Sometimes she cannot get up, and I bend over to help her up. Sometimes she can’t quite make it into my car, so I gently tap her front legs so she will step up to my car, and then I scoop my forearm under her waist and hoist the rest of her up into my car. More recently, she has had trouble climbing up the stairs to the second floor at night to our bedroom. Again, I tap her front paws for her to use them to walk up the stairs and I scoop my forearm under her waist to carry her bottom half up to the landing.
One time she fell at the groomer on their slippery floor, and midway, I caught her from an ugly landing, and felt the twist in my left knee again.
I think that was the beginning of all of this for my back.
But, what you might think of as the “back” is really made of so many more systems. What I could clearly feel was my psoas muscle getting pulled and yanked in very unhappy ways to itself.
Please forgive me for breaking us down into such parts, but I feel that if we know some of these systems we can better understand our own back. And maybe even Ginjr’s.
The psoas muscle is the biggest and longest muscle in the body. Actually, two. It begins at the 12th Thoracic vertebra and connects all the way down to the beginning of the thigh bone. That’s really long! It is the muscle that allows you to bend over, and to bring your legs up. It is involved in that lovely swinging motion forward and back of your leg while in walking. If your psoas muscle is too tight or too loose or imbalanced, then standing upright or bending over, (and good luck with getting back up from the ground if you bend over too much, I know), or walking upright like a modern day Homo sapien, will be severely impaired. If you’re one of the lucky ones you might just walk a little crooked. But, if it all has just gone kaput like mine, well then you’re up a whole other creek.
Some other aspects of a tweaked psoas is knee pain and imbalance there too. It can effect the digestive organs, and even cause pain all the way up to the shoulder.
After having to cancel my flight and trip up north to get to assist my very dear friend, Linda Tellington-Jones on a ranch working with riders and horses I finally sat down to put this all together for myself. Feldenkrais practitioner heal thyself. Nope, I needed to pull out the big guns. I called my mother! God blesses this amazing healer who is a Feldenkrais practitioner, Moshe Feldenkrais’ cousin, and a Reiki Master. She barely had to do much and most of my pain went away for most of that day. I truly appreciate gentle work. My body can have the opportunity to listen better and make its own learning patterns.
But, because I also happen to have the real culprit and that is a very old broken down mattress, I didn’t have the nighttime to rest and heal. Rather, woke up each morning barely getting out of bed.
Yesterday I was attending another colleague’s online Feldenkrais class for practitioners, Jeff Haller, and he taught us an age old lesson lying lengthwise on a semi firm roller. That made all the difference right then and there. It gave me the strength and energy to go out with my beloved to try to find a better mattress. Unfortunately, everything in the stores are made with horrible memory foam products that are made from polyurethane foam, a petroleum-based material which is known as a neurotoxin. No thank you. I like my brain just the ways she is.
By the time we got home my husband concurred that I would take the leap of faith I was hoping to do and that was to order a new mattress from an online company made completely from natural plant based latex. Look ma, no chemicals!!!! This one is a hybrid, it actually has springs in it to give it added support, and then covered with organic wool and organic cotton. I spoke with one of the creators of this company this morning. Today was the “inception” for our new mattress as it is made to order. It should be birthed to this world in about 10 days or so and home delivered and set up. I’ll let you know how it goes. I have very high hopes. Believe me, I have been doing my homework hours a day. What else to do, right?
Meanwhile, I am going to lie on my roller for more easy movement and hopefully get a Feldenkrais lesson tomorrow.
You know what they say, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.”
But first I needed to understand what was really going on. Call me slow, but I think I might be getting a handle on it.
Always with healing heart and hands, Elinor Silverstein
Dear sweet Elinor,
I just discovered you yesterday on Youtube, so if addressing you as “sweet” seems presumptuous, forgive me, but that is what appeared on the screen. I so appreciate your postings and your curiosity and generous sharing. And as I read, with concern, of your current “adventure,” I wanted to send you and Ginjr my best wishes on your exploration of this frontier. And mention to you the name of Liz Koch: perhaps you know of her? She specializes in the psoas. I love how she describes the psoas as “the primal messenger from the core of your being.” And she has been helpful to me in realizing how involved the psoas is with fear – and flight/flight/freeze postures emotionally and physically.
Best wishes and thanks.
Ah… Curious at which mattress you ordered? And how is it turning out?