Sunday, January 29, 2012

Personal Training

My back issues started in earnest when I first started working out with a personal trainer (about 5 years ago). It was my first experience with a personal trainer ever. And I was out of shape (of course) but had never really exercised before. (I don't think P.E. in Jr. High really qualifies.) I was exercise adverse. I don't mean that I was / am against physical activity. I just was against the kind that involved a gym, equipment, looking stupid and sweating. I had several times in my life where I went to Jazzercise or Aerobics class (back in the day when we all wanted to look like Olivia Newton John as she "Got Physical").  But I digress.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Oh My Aching Back

I am so appreciative of the comments on my last post. I planned on posting an update yesterday, but was so sleepy that I went to bed super early instead. My back is better. Not great but better. I will tell you what I'm contemplating.

I had physical therapy for this very same back issue about 5 years ago. I learned a lot about why I was hurt and how to begin to heal. The main reason I was hurt? A weak CORE. --By the way, I grew to hate hearing about my core. Even now, I have to stop myself from giving a stink eye to anyone that says something about working to strengthen my core.

So, if I strengthen my core muscles (abdomen and back) I am less likely to have my back fall out of alignment. (Which is pretty much what I think I experienced this week.)  Sometimes it's the chicken versus the egg question. How do I exercise my abdomen and / or back when I am in pain? Don't I need to heal first?

Well, I've done a lot of reading this week, and all of the literature I found says NOT to stay in bed if you have back pain. Everything recommends movement.  For me, I could feel the vertebrae in my lower back just kind of lock up. I felt that if I could get them to loosen up and be flexible (again), that I would be on my way to not hurting.

When I was in PT, I had regular PT and then was sent to a Pilates physical therapist. She was a certified physical therapist that used Pilates techniques and equipment for PT. I got such a huge benefit from working with her. Each time we started with me on the table and I had to warm up my spine by sitting up and then rolling down to the table vertebra by vertebra. This was not easy for me as my lower back usually collapsed without releasing incrementally (vertebra by vertebra).  This was an indicator that my lower back vertebrae were tightly locked and wanted to act as one instead of moving separately as connected joints.  But with each day that I worked my back in these very slow deliberate motions my back got looser and the pain eased.

We also discovered that one of my legs is shorter than the other. (Right leg). In fact, what we found in my non Pilates PT is that my actual leg bones are the same length. Instead, my right hip torks so that my right leg is torked into my pelvis (which has the effect of a shorter leg). Good news is that the leg can actually be pulled out of the pelvis and with some exercises I can help keep it out.

Sometime after graduating from PT, I re-injured myself. This injury was a little different and the PT was not as effective the second time around. Someone recommended a Chiropractor. I had previously been skeptical of Chiropractic care, but this time I was tired of hurting and tried it. Amazingly, working with him gave me tremendous relief. This practitioner was very gentle and believed in exercises for me to practice at home to help. The goal of the exercises? Strengthen my (wait for it) CORE.

Massage also helped.

So, now here I am again, and I live in a different town where I have to re-build my care team. I was sure I wanted to find a Chiropractor pronto. But truly, I'm not so sure this time. My reading shows that some practitioners still believe in a thrusting to move vertebrae into place. And I'm just not sure I want to trust that.

We already know I need PT. I was supposed to get PT for my knee last April. My guess is that the knee problem and the back problem are inter-related. I found a physical therapist I want to use. The big question now is will insurance cover it. The second big question is how to schedule the appointments.

I fully expect that my future holds exercises that involve strengthening the (say it with me) core. Below are some of the things I remember from my prior PT and core work. I remember using foam rollers to help with back pain.  I'm almost looking forward to this.

Tomorrow I will tell you more about my personal training experience.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Back Hurts

So, my back hurts. I've had lower back flair ups for a while.  My body is telling me it wants me to take notice. So now I've got physical pain to go along with my guilt for not being a good steward with my body.

My mind keeps thinking that I’ve just been on a short hiatus from exercise and overall taking care of my body. Somehow I've convinced my mind that we are still physically fit...or at least getting that way. But, I hate to admit it, I've been lying to my mind.

You know, not that long ago I became a runner. Actually, I was trying to become a runner. I was working on the couch to 5K workout plan. But, I injured my knee and was told to stop (by a Doctor). The doctor gave a referral for physical therapy that is needed before resuming running.

I convinced my mind that this is why we aren’t at the gym or walking or anything. My mind has accepted the story that the knee injury was was not long ago. It was APRIL! It was nine months ago. My knee is better. I haven't yet been to the physical therapist. Now, before you judge, there are two reasons for that.  One, my doctor wanted me to use a PT associated with his larger medical network. The PT department was supposed to call me to schedule. I never received a call.  (Really). And, two, timing. It is so difficult to schedule all these medical appointments during the work day. 

2X / year I have dental appointments. It looks like I realy need to go to a endontist because one of my root canals has lingering nerve issues. (Weird, right?) I got the referral to the endontist at my last dental appointment. I haven’t made the endontist appointment yet, either. Of course I have annual primary care appointments, Gyn. and mammos. That’s a doctor appointment every two months. PT will be/would be weekly. I struggle with the times.

So now, my back hurts. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Home Goals

Pinterest is one of my newest obsessions. I'd like to call it a hobby, but don't know if window shopping counts as a hobby.  No, it does. It totally counts. Pinterest is my hobby! But I digress.

Fittingly, as it's the new year, The Nester had been writing about goals for 2012. The Nester's motto is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful". I told you she was inspiring. I think sometimes we I forget that it doesn't have to be perfect. And in it's own way, not being perfect is perfect. (That may not make sense to everyone. At least not immediately).

It's kind of a neat idea to think about "Home Goals". It's a good time for me to think about that too, because I have been mulling over what to commit to as a New Year's resolution. I know January is half over but, as I told some of my friends last week, I have until the 31st to finalize my resolutions. Yep, don't know if you go the memo, but we have a full month to decide what we will set out to accomplish for the year. Cool, huh?

Everyday, I tell my husband how happy this home makes me. It does make me incredibly happy. One reason is how much fun we have had in deciding things like new paint colors and new light fixtures. Hubby even used a drill to do some handy type things. You may recall some of my posts as describing our changes to the house. If you missed them, you may want to check out the Kitchen Makeover post.

Hubby and I have felt more free to make changes and be bold. We have a RED kitchen for goodness sake. That is something I have always wanted. I painted the fireplace black as well as the stair banister. We sanded down the hardwood floors eliminating the wood stain as well as the beveled edges in the floor. The natural floor was unexpectedly beautiful. So we decided to keep them natural. All of these bold choices made this house a home that makes me incredibly happy. We have felt free to make our bold choices because we believe this to be where we will stay for, like, ever.

But this isn't a post about what we have done. It's a post about my 2012 Home Goals. To tell you about these goals, I must share a few of the things that Hubby and I have left undone not finished.

When we were changing out light fixtures, we took ceiling fans down in the family room as well as the master bedroom. Funny enough, we couldn't agree decide on the right fixture for replacement. We took the fans down thinking we would figure it out by the time the rest of the fixtures arrived. We are so happy with our choices of fixtures in the kitchen, dining room, stairway and foyer I think we felt a little frozen for choosing these last two. Also, we had splurged on the foyer light (LOVE), so we wanted to be a little pragmatic on the last two fixtures. And after the rest of the lighting was installed we lost our momentum.

I'd like to find the right fixture for both of these rooms at a reasonable price. This would help the rooms become "finished". But I will also say, it has felt somewhat liberating to allow these small items to remain unfinished. It hasn't stopped me from feeling completely at home and it hasn't stopped me from feeling the home is beautiful. But, as far as goals go, I think it would be reasonable to try to get something up in these rooms in the next eleven months or so.

Hubby also changed out all of our hardware.  Things like drawer pulls in the kitchen and bathrooms. He also changed out door handles. All have been replaced with brushed nickel. However, master bath door handles? Still missing. The old handles are gone, the new ones just aren't on. There was some sort of problem with the fit and the project stalled. Funny how we have just the smallest things for these major projects that are waiting. It's like we don't want to finish. Maybe we don't. Maybe there is something comforting about having a project waiting for you. I had a friend once, that said he loved a book so much that he decided not to finish it. That way it's always waiting for him to come back to.

One thing that I really want to have "fixed" is the garage door.  Something odd has happened and we can't open the garage door with our remotes. That means we can't close it with our remotes either. It's just an inconvenience really. It's really the mystery of it that has me vexed.

Lastly, I am seriously thinking of converting an unused bedroom into a closet/dressing room. As I think about this idea, I've been pinning examples on Pinterest for inspiration. Feel free to check it out: Closet Ideas.  I know someone that has actually done this and it is wonderful. I love going over to her house and hanging in her dressing room. She loans me things to wear and shows me her new finds. I just love that room.

I'm struggling with this decision because the spare bedrooms in my house are not conveniently near the master bedroom. Plus, even though the bedrooms are not being used, I also have dreams of making one of the rooms a reading room. Though, the reality is that if I made it a reading room, it would be beautiful but unused. So a decision on a spare bedroom / closet conversion is my Home Goal for 2012.

Bottom line for my 2012 Home Goals: Arrive at decisions for two light fixtures and a closet. Execution is not a requirement.

Let me know if you have 2012 Home Goals.  I'd love to hear about them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Already Friday the 13th...

This is a pic of "my" calculator at work. Of course, it's not really MY in I can't take it home or anything. But this is the actual calculator that is on my desk at work and I heart it.

My affection for this machine became relevant this week. On Monday, someone (me) MAY or may NOT have spilled a drink on her desk. And the liquid MAY or may NOT have somehow gotten in the calculator. But we are talking only droplets. Not an entire can of soda or anything...because as we all know, I gave up soda.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

John Mellencamp still R.O.C.K.S.

It's kind of embarrassing that I'm just now writing about seeing John Mellencamp in concert. As you can guess from prior posts my hubby and I love live music. 2011 was a great year for us to see some really amazing concerts. We saw seven concerts last year. Seven!

Mellencamp was our first concert in 2011. It was the first time I'd ever seen him live. I have loved Mellencamp's music since the summer of 1979. The songs "A Little Night Dancin'" and "I Need a Lover (that won't drive me crazy)" played frequently on the radio. I remember the songs playing as I drove home from friends' houses. The car windows were down and the breeze tickled my arms as I listened to the newest, hottest singer on the air waves.