The years roll on and after a while your body starts to remind you of all the knocks and bruising it’s had in the past. Unfortunately not everything is healed by time, and most end up as a serious retirement health problem.
We all have our Achilles heel, and mine sits fair and square in the small of my back, if that makes any sense. 45 years ago we briefly took up horse riding as a hobby/sport. That’s before the children came along and money started to get a bit tight.
Anyway, as in everything I tend to “go for it” and our instructor let me lose over the jumps in the manege. Everything went fine until me and the horse started to dance to a different rhythm. The result, I was going down into the saddle at the same time as my mount was coming up and my backside collided unexpextedly with half a ton of horsemeat.
Instant agony at the bottom of my spine, but I managed to get off, and drove home. Ibuprofin and a bit of rest works wonders, so after a while the pain went away and I carried on.
From time to time my back would literally seize up with excruciating pain, but you learn to deal with it. 10 years later I went to see a sports physiotherapist. She was quite surprised at what she found, but after several treatments with ultra-sound and a good deal of wrenching around she put me back on my feet. My back was quite damaged, but through exercise and building up muscles in my back I got on OK.
Now, apart from the occasional niggle we get along fine. I wonder just how long it will keep going. A dodgy back is a companion for life. You can tweek it in the middle of the night or anytime. Most mornings I wake up fine. Other times I get a sharp reminder it’s time to do some stretching exercises.
Amazingly I can still carry quite heavy loads without a problem, and all the digging down at the allotment has been OK. I have to be careful about sitting still for a long time, and while I am typing this I have to remind myself not to keep my shoulders back and not slump.
Of course I’m not the only one to suffer from back problems, and we all keep quiet about it because other people get bored – or start to tell you about their back problems which is even worse! The smallest thing can bring along a seizure. I have to be careful when shaving in the morning. Leaning forward to the mirror can cause real problems – though not so much now as age has cured my short-sight.
And then there are all the other knocks and injuries from the past. I dislocated my left shoulder skiing 25 years ago, and recently started to feel some twinges. Or maybe that’s just the after effects of the bruising it suffered when I fell off my bike earlier in the year. It’s amazing how complicated the shoulder joint, ligaments and surrounding muscles are. My right shoulder never really recovered from a sailing incident in New England, but that’s another story.
You have to keep active as you get older, but injuries take noticeably longer to heal. So maybe it’s time to take it easy a bit. I don’t want to give up skiing but it doesn’t matter how much care you take. It wont stop a beginner crashing into you out of control, as happened to me a few years ago and left me hobbling for the next 6 weeks.
As soon as I get the allotment sorted out I’ll start cycling again. It’s supposed to be a low impact sport, and we don’t have so many hills to worry about since we moved. On the other hand some of those potholes look a bit threatening.