Give me five years and several stretches of fifteen-hour days behind the computer, though, and an osteopathe becomes a savior.
Not a chiropractor or a physical therapist, the osteopathe as far as I can tell is someone who uses manual manipulation to treat musculoskeletal problems.
It’s not exactly a newsflash that the human body isn’t meant to sit at a work station staring at a screen all day. And yet, alas, this is the fate of so many of us.
Back in May I had a crick in my neck that wouldn’t go away. After a few days it was not just a crick in the neck but a major pain in the….well, still the neck. I couldn’t move my head, I’d moan when I had to turn in bed, I felt almost paralyzed.
The old ‘it will go away on its own’ strategy wasn’t really panning out. Someone in my dance class (I had to stop going to dance class) gave me the name of her osteopathe and said I’d be amazed at what she could do.
After two sessions the crick magically disappeared (or, I guess the point is that it wasn’t magic. After a few strange adjustments and contortions all the tension was released and I could move my head again.)
But do I ever learn the first time?
Right, so last week, I’m doing some mundane household task – looking up in my kitchen cupboard or something – when all of sudden: crack! There goes the neck again.
Are you kidding? I am now prone to injury just by simply looking at something on a high shelf?
It wasn’t as bad as in May so I try to ignore it. I even go out dancing on Friday, but find I can’t lift my left arm at all. (I did not win the miss Sexypants award out on the dance floor.)
By the next day, oh yes. Moaning again. It hurt just to lie still in bed.
So, ok, call up magical osteopathe who does work on Saturdays. Can’t get a hold of her. By Sunday, I’m panicking as I’m walking like a robot.
Then Monday she calls me back and asks if I can make it that day. I say YES! not only because I’d like to move my head again, but because, um, my monthly visitor was due very, very soon and I knew later in the week it would be a little, erm, awkward.
An hour before my appointment…yep, I get my period. I realize that’s a lot of information, but just trying to paint the full portrait here. I believe I’ve established before that they don’t really do the cover-up gown here, even at routine medical visits. And with the osteopathe where you strip down to just your undies and then they spend a lot of time manipulating your coccyx (gosh, even that sounds dirty!), they’re um, very near your undies. So let’s just say I was feeling a wee bit self-conscious.
ANYWAY, human body is beautiful and everything is natural, so I tell myself to fuggedaboutit and go.
I have to say, the whole thing is still fascinating. I’m nearly naked in a chilly room, lying on my back with a beautiful woman’s hand under my coccyx (tailbone). She closes her eyes and gently, gently manipulates my tailbone for a long time. The only way to describe it is that I feel she’s listening to my body.
So that happens. Then she moves to my belly and starts making circular motions for awhile there. I have absolutely no idea what this is doing and what my belly has to do with it, but ok!
So the majority of the séance is very serene; she has her eyes closed in extreme concentration. And then for about 15 minutes a whole bunch of action happens. She starts tugging on my legs. She tells me to relax! (I’m apparently not good at relaxing) She says she can hurt me if I don’t relax. (It’s hard to relax when someone says they will hurt you if you don’t relax.)
Apparently there’s really something wrong with my left leg – are you sure you’ve never had anything happen to your ankle? she asks as she’s trying to snap my foot off.
Then I return to my back, cross my arms tight across my body. She scoops me up with her hand cradling my head and then swooshes across my body pressing all of her weight into me to try to release some pressure along my spine.
At some point I’m sitting with my hands clasped behind my head elbows wide and she inserts herself into this position to tug me upward.
None of this really hurts or is violent. I just have a moment where I’m looking at myself from the outside (ever have those moments?) and thinking, wow, that looks weird!
And more to the point, wow, I actually need someone else to realign my body for me.
Like I actually need to budget into my life that every few months I need to go see someone to put me in strange positions so they can readjust my entire vertebral column.
Somehow this just seems like a sad commentary.
But no matter. It’s another Friday and I can lift my arms! Think I’ll go try to pick up my Sexypants dancer award tonight.