Sunday, May 6, 2012

How to Heal

Megill & Company has its big Annual concert (2nd annual actually) on June 2nd. So I have been thinking a lot about it as a director. . .  but also as a dancer. 

As I have written previously, I have unfortunately suffered from (off-again on-again) chronic lower back pain... in the SI joint for those who know it (or have suffered a similar fate). 

I have begun swimming again in preparation, because I need this to heal and I need to be conservative with my body while still keeping in shape.  It is hard because my gut wants to walk, jog, take a yoga class, take a dance class, stretch, aerobics, anything. But, I have to do less. I have to limit my range of motion. Lessen the demand on my ligaments at the SI joint. 

Ligaments are tough because they are like silly putty once they stretche they don't go back like rubber bands.  A ligament may slowly, over time, recoil a little and become stable again, but the original tightness will not be had.  Injury to a muscle is relatively easy to heal in that the muscle has fantastic blood flow and will heal nicely if tended with massage and easy activity and work.  It can heal.  Tendon and ligaments don't work that way.  They are formed of connective tissue that is tightly formed to allow for strength and stability.  When a ligament gets injured, it does not have the regenerative powers of muscle. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of time. And even then, it may never be the same.  Potentially lax and unstable for years to come.

The Si joint is not supposed to move that much (if at all). It is connected by ligaments that most bodies will never notice in sensation.  For many the pelvis feels like one unit-- solid.  Not me.  My pelvis has distinct parts, and I can feel the shifts that occur between the bones of the pelvis and the sacrum (base of the spine).  I wish I couldn't, but I do. 

But, this "woe is me" blog, is not meant to garner pity.  Rather, it is my own reality check.  After my second day of swimming, I see more clearly what I need to do and what I can NOT do.

I can NOT stretch my hips.  Hips pull on the back and that is no good for my overstretched ligaments.
I can NOT do high impact exercise.  Not yet at least
I can NOT feel sorry for myself. And if I do, then I should ice because at least I can do that.

I can and NEED to keep swimming (its boring, and I feel like I am not really doing a whole lot because it is so low impact, but it does build my core and poses little to no risk of over stretching my SI)
I can and NEED to stop wishing my body were something else (someone else's)
I can and NEED to re-implement the boring stability exercises I know and hate to do.  
I NEED to keep my eye on the prize.  A wonderful performance June 2nd which doesn't render me incapacitated.  

The problem with being injured is that you can't help but want to fix it. IMMEDIATELY.  But, that is the lesson of injuries.  How committed are you to healing?  To the boring and the mundane in order to heal? 

I have to commit.  Wish me luck.