Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Isn't that a lovely word? It sounds quaint, chronic, kind of English, like chilblains. I've decided that I'm tired of having a "bad back," and from now on I refer to what I have as Lumbago. There is nothing bad about my back. Lumbago is something old people have, and I like being an old person. One fringe benefit to living in Israel is the lack of generation gap...old people are people, not a niche market or a Problem to Society.

I started standing incorrectly when I developed breasts, at age 12-13. In order not to shrink from my newly-adult protrusions I stood with my shoulders far back, causing pressure on my lower back. I didn't know this until four years ago, which is roughly 50 years later. I was sitting on the floor pushing boxes full of papers from here to there, and suddenly my back "went out." The orthopedist who examined it prescribed physical therapy. The physical therapist was so skillful that I've been going to weekly exercise sessions with her ever since, long after the pain subsided and mobility returned. She promised me that my back would never be the way it had been originally, but I would learn exactly what to do by myself to stay comfortable and mobile. And she kept her promise!

Before her, I had never met a physical trainer who was so rational and minimalistc. She doesn't believe in special equipment, although she has it at her studio, and there are no mirrors on her walls. She got me to work from the inside, and it was the first time since childhood that I made friends with my muscles. We are working on general strength and flexibility, not body-building or sculpting. My "exercises" are carried out upon waking in bed (!), or while doing other things like eating, walking, talking on the phone, waiting for red lights to change, watching TV. Nobody knows that I am "doing exercises" and I am doing them all day long, on and off.

I love my lumbago for what it and my physiotherapist have given me.


That Girl said...

I am so stealing this from you. It sounds so much more exotic. "I couldnt do the wash today, my lumbago, you know." Perfect. Beautiful. I may also take up chilbains.

Bubbi said...

LOl--I love it! I have "lumbago" too.
It was my physical therapist that taught me how to care for it and she too was a genius!

Noorster said...

I have discus hernia and so far now one has taught me how to care for it. I get free massages at a local spa, though.

Savtadotty said...

Noorster: 'll be glad to introduce you to my physical therapist. She's not free, but her fees are reasonable. You don't have to sign on for life, the way I seem to have done: it should be easier to change bad habits when they haven't been around for 50 years.