Most local gyms are closed due to COVID-19. They might have reopened when this essay publishes… or not. I’m glad I invested in a quiet rower, over even a gym membership, because even the apartment-mansion complex’s gym is closed for the unforeseeable future. How can we remain healthy when we are in implied quarantine? The US isn’t in a state-mandated curfew, like Greece, yet, but we can remain healthy partially by doing some stretches daily.
Throughout my past twelve physical therapy sessions, I saw this shape on one of the doors in the main room resembling a target, and I found their design wasn’t just novelty on my penultimate visit to fix the mindbenders that had impaired the better part of three months. Strapping into a headlamp with a laser pointer, the goal was simple: move my head around within the target lines. This was the most challenging exercise yet!
With two physical therapy sessions left before being discharged with a clean bill of health, in regards to my neck strain-induced mindbender headaches, the focus now is building endurance by practicing some of the more difficult stretches. I’ve been doing well with the more resistant bands and longer stretch times. When I look at myself in the mirror, I’ll either catch myself in bad posture and correct it sooner, or, I’m already in good posture.
Although I’ve just got into better health here over the past three weeks, I still want to get back to my old pace, and I keep having to remind myself to… no… take a break. If there’s anything I can do to get into better health, it’s not pushing myself as hard for so long. I’ve trained myself to be motivated through years of writing and rowing. It’s OK for me to take a break.
Physical therapy has been great for me to address some of the hidden patterns I had physically learned that, over thirty-plus years, caused the issues that sent me almost unnecessarily through the American Healthcare System. How much of that could have been avoided by simple preventative maintenance through learning the basics in compulsory education and having readily available gyms at trivial prices available to all? Well, that might just be being sensitive about the topic…
One month into taking the high blood pressure beta-blocker Propranolol, I’m finally seeing the long-term benefits. I’ve always felt anxious. It’s not that those feelings have gone away like when I’ve taken benzodiazepines. It’s just the biggest spikes have calmed down. Unlike the anti-depressants I’ve taken that have given me severe depression, here, I’m just not controlled by the largest spikes of anxiety or depression that always used to inhibit my thoughts toward progressing forward.
“Think of it like building blocks. You’re building yourself back up.” 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.
I missed rowing. I missed the notion of getting on my rower twice-daily and getting some of my physical stress out. It was never that much, especially lately, since I didn’t want to burn myself out. Now that we’ve figured out my neck was the source of my headaches, and my neck stretches are helping to fix the issue, I’m back and feeling better than ever. I’ll need to work on figuring out more stretches.
It feels good to be back into rowing again. Even at a light pace, there’s just something about getting on the machine and losing myself in the motions for a time that’s nice. After four physical therapy sessions with increasingly positive results after each other than mild back strains, an “unremarkable” MRI, and otherwise bouncing back well, I was told to get back into rowing. I noticed some minor pangs, but so far, so good.
Among the myriad triggers that can potentially cause headaches as outlined in Heal Your Headache by David Buchholz, M.D., the one dietary trigger I am not willing to give up yet is caffeine. My addiction to caffeine is complicated. I can live without caffeine in the short-term, it’s just not a life where I can do all I want to do. I could adapt if forced; I’d rather reduce any other headache triggers first.