Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who's got the freakiest spinal curvature of them all?

A horrifying thing happened to me the other day, just horrifying.  Before I tell you, I'm going to give you a little back ground info on myself so you can put this into perspective.  When I was in grade 8 I was teased and tortured all the time, and I was freakishly thin.  My hateful concerned schoolmates would sometimes come up to me and say "What's wrong with you?  Are you anorexic or something?" or "You look sick.  You're emaciated.".  Thanks guys!  So, as a result of my pals helpful urgings, I started working out and trying to bulk up, Cartman style.  I started biking every day, walking or running before school in the morning, lifting weights and doing other exercises in my room at night.  Before long, I had a sweet set of guns, the most muscular back I've ever seen on a 16 year old girl, and my rack felt like it was made of steel.  Good times!  (For the record, it didn't stop the teasing.  They just hassled me about other things)

I've always really enjoyed being active and healthy, and then I got pregnant.  I kept walking the whole time and had a pretty decent pregnancy actually.  Then came the delivery...eugh.  Long and painful, and my mal-aligned body made it really difficult for me to get the baby out without some interference from my friend Scissors.  :(  That's when it all fell apart.  I couldn't stand for almost 2 weeks, let alone walk.  I was in pain for over a month, which severely limited my ability to move.  Then childcare got in the way of self care.  Fast forward to a year later, and I'm carrying a 20lb toddler on my right hip like she's fused to my body (ie, all the time.)

So, back to the original story.  The other day, I decide to take a look at myself in the mirror.  I mean a really good look.  I've been having an extreme amount of pain in my lower thoracic spine on the left side for some time now, so I wanted to see if I could see a problem..  The first thing I notice is that my waist has more curve on one side than the other.  The right side, of course, b/c that's where Myriam lives.  So I get the hand mirror and turn around, and my life is CRUSHED.    All I see is bone.  My spine, my ribs, my scapulae are all pronouncing themselves for the world to see.  Then I look closer at my ribs.  The left side is bulging out.  I mean BULGING.  And the muscle on the left (hurting) side is twice the size of the right.  I'm all "WTF IS THAT?!  RIB SLIDE?!".  When I took in the whole picture, I could see that my whole rib cage was no longer centered over my pelvis, but was slid over to the left of my body. I'm not sure if you guys have ever had a moment like that, where you realize something is really wrong with you, but it is not fun. 

After coming to terms with the fact that I am NOT 16 anymore, I got down to business and started coming up with a plan for myself.  First I took a day to really think about my habits, because one's body does not rearrange itself into a deformity over night.  I noticed that when I sit,  I  always sit on my left cheek, tuck my legs to the right, and let my ribs slide on over.  Too much sitting.  When I'm standing, I put my weight on the right leg and let my ribs slide on over to the left.  That's craptastic.  When I nurse Myriam, I lay on my left side and let my ribs fall to the level of the bed, and my right hip is lifting into the air.  All of these things feel super comfortable to me, but it's because I've been training my body for years into a very unnatural position.  Now that I'm not compensating as much with other parts of my body (alignment exercises and being mindful about my body), and carrying Myriam more instead of using a stroller, it's starting to really stick out like a sore thumb. 

I can't believe that I've got a problem with my back.  After taking so much care to work on it over the years, I've been sabotaging my own health the whole time.  Wild.  Tonight is my first appointment with a massage therapist to help me with the pain while I transition back into alignment.  I'm really surprised about the amount of pain I have while I retrain my muscles, but as another alignment junkie said to me "You didn't think they would give up without a fight, did you?"  Yup.  I did actually.  I thought it would be easier, I thought I was in better shape.  It just goes to show that anyone can be thrown out of alignment, it's sneaky and subtle, but in the end it WILL cause you a serious problem.  We need to remember to always be mindful about what position we're in, and not to stay in one position all the time.  Our habits, no matter how insignificant they seem at the time, can greatly impact our health over the years.

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