[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 12 {219.0} “Physical Therapy Blocks, Part 7”

“Think of it like building blocks. You’re building yourself back up.[1]” The physical therapist then exaggerated how I was slouched over, most comfortable for me, with having a hyper-corrected posture, to a middle ground that was more focused on better posture from the lower back than the upper back. He continued by telling me that the trick is to catch myself when my posture is not ideal, and practice better posture frequently throughout the day.

Dedicated times for this is good, but catching myself is better.

When I look at the mirror, I notice that I tend to hunch over a little. It’s nothing major, but that the dextroscoliosis causing issues with my back, shoulders, neck, and causing my headaches. They may be different for others, but for me, that’s been the main source of my mysterious pressure headaches that happened because of a combination of poor ergonomics at my work desk, weak muscles, poor posture, an overly-stiff pillow that pushed my neck forward when I slept, and perhaps the cold weather preventing my muscles from being limber enough.

It would be nicer if the pain didn’t transfer to where it didn’t originate.

If my neck would have hurt, then great, I would have spotted it sooner and cheaper than I did. Having gone through rigorous medical tests until we found the root cause was as easy as physical fitness, having been writing about it for the better part of three years now, it might seem embarrassing but it just goes to show how deceptive life can be for anyone. I am learning all these things for the first time, so it’s not like I was negligent, which caused these issues to happen.

I think it was many minor changes over many months that caused my headaches.

That would explain why it took so long to figure out the root cause, because there was no acute symptom that would show itself an immediate fix. It’s not like burning your arm where you can see the burned skin, treat the wound, and see how it heals. My headaches are almost like a constant readjustment, where I have to rebuild my lifestyle around better habits. I noticed I was slouching when I was writing what I had written so far, and that my back was sore.

My chair at work is still not comfortable for me long-term.

They’re ordering a new one for me but the corporate bureaucracy red-tape is a thick thing to cut through, even if it’s actively causing me to feel back pain. Fortunately, my desk is a sit/stand desk, so I can switch to that. Unfortunately, because of how all of our desks are arranged, when people sit in my chair when they train other people, they sit down, don’t like how it feels for them, adjust it to how it feels comfortable for them, then they leave with the chair all screwed up.

When I get the new chair, I’ll see how I can keep these settings blocked in for me.

I’ve thought of locking the settings in place by placing a physical block over the adjustment levers and putting a label saying “ERGONOMICS, DO NOT MODIFY” but politeness and reading are all common sense, which is dead in Corporate America, so I shouldn’t expect people to respect me any more than they respect anyone that isn’t themselves. So I should learn to modify the chair, like I should learn to modify my sitting or standing position when I notice when points throughout my body are hurting for various reasons.

The way to go might be scheduling time throughout the day to check on everything.

The ideal might be to check while talking to someone, driving, or doing anything at all where there might be idle periods, but before it becomes subconscious, we have to dedicate the block of time daily to practice it consciously. I haven’t been practicing the exercises I was given since my last PT session quite as much as maybe I should have, but for these long stretches of idle time, it is a matter of practicing my stretches as I would closing my eyes to practice those eye muscles that had weakened to the point of remaining open for far longer than maybe they should.

How can I practice these blocks of physical therapy?

I have the time currently to practice my posture, so I will. I am standing. I will start by planting my feet on the ground, about parallel to my shoulders, toes not pointed too far outward. I will stand more straight with my lower back straighter, to allow my upper back and shoulders to rest there. From there, I’ll keep my neck in a good spot. OK, that feels a little strange.

That’s my more formal position, so the physical therapist recommended finding my middle ground.

That might be with my legs a little looser, my lower back a little less strict, and my shoulders more relaxed. This also feels different than my normal standing position, which fortunately isn’t leaning on one foot with awkward curves, anymore, but that’s only because I corrected that within the past year or so. When I stand like this, the chin tucks I’ve been practicing daily exaggerate in less, because everything is more in order. When my muscles are less orderly, that’s when those chin tucks have a more exaggerated popping sound.

At least, that’s how it seems to me right now.

I still have a handful of PT sessions to go from my original schedule. I don’t know if I’ll still go twice-weekly as I have been going since my headaches have gone away. Although it is cheap enough for me to go with my current insurance, there is a time and usefulness factor as well, because if my headaches have gone away, and if it takes up maybe two hours of time, then I have to learn many more new things to keep going.

Practicing these building blocks should help.

Quotes: [1] Would I still consider a physical therapist to be part of the doctor-number rotation when this is different than my main physical therapist?
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 219.0
Last week’s weight: 218.0
Difference: One pound heavier, but I’m not concerned. I’ve been eating more fruits and vegetables [apples, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli] at work, so there’s more volume of food. I think, too, I wasn’t eating that great during my days away from work.  I also drank a liter of water before bed, where I started off at 221.5 and after peeing I was at 218.0.
Inspirations: Writing about my seventh physical therapy session.
Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.
Picture: Generic template picture.
Written On: 2020 February 21 [12:02am to “don’t like how it feels for them” 12:12am, then from 12:54am to 1:06am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 February 21 [Second draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.