Back Talk

Mobility Problems
I spent a little part of the day analyzing my back pain and function.
vertebra identification
used leash hung down back while I sat and marked the points with a pen. The location of the pain was 2 1/2 dollar bills down from the prominent protrusion in spine at neck (I guess C7 – not my picture but looks like it’s about the right position), and 1 and 1/2 dollar bills up from the seat of the chair I was sitting in (one dollar bill = 6 inches).

pressing below this point inhibited the pain. muscles do not seem sore. pain has improved in the past 24 hours.
motions tested and ranked for pain (4 hours after 325 mg of aspirin taken, and after a morning walk, and a short bike ride which loosened up the muscles considerably improving performance and lessening pain):
bending over to touch toes medium (beginning part), mild the end part (bending the knees)
squat with support mild-none
sitting down moderate
getting up from sitting position after sitting for short time
with hand use mild
without hand use mild
getting up from sitting position after sitting for long time
with hand use major
without hand use almost impossible
lying down major
getting up from lying position major
walking medium, some major transient pain/instability where it feels like back is going to go or collapse. maybe 4-6 events in a 1 mile walk. pain improves with stiffness at beginning to feeling much less pain with walking.
running able to achieve low impact kind of run for several feet with mild pain
sitting indian style major
placing right ankle on left knee mild using hands, unable to accomplish wo hands
placing left ankle on right knee same as above
placing right ankle on left knee and twisting trunk moderate
placing left ankle on right knee and twisting trunk moderate
tying shoes moderate
going to bathroom moderate
raising shoulders pain improves
pusing shoulders forward pain worsens
pushing shoulders back pain improves even more
lifting the bike in and out of trunk mild
riding a bike medium-major moments
twisting to right medium
twisting trunk to left medium
lying down and rolling up knees, mild
push up position impossible to achieve pain so severe when knees are lifted off of ground
doing a situp impossible
swinging right leg up major
swinging left leg up mild
swinging right leg out mild-medium
swinging left leg out mild
standing on toes mild
swinging right leg back mild
swinging left leg back mild
arching arms backwards mild-none
clasping arms in front mild-none
climbing stairs
down mild
up mild
taking a bath improves pain accomplished with handbar
mostly sudden attempts to move without thinking about it are painful. Estimate today’s pain at 40% of yesterday’s.
Trying to find exercises that will help my pain.
Basically, the observation is that anything that requires a lot of use of lower back muscles in a bent forward position causes pain. Also, there is an element of stiffness that worsens with inactivity. I am guessing because of the acuteness of the severe pain sometimes when I walk, that a nerve is pinched at these times and activated or inflamed. This inflammation is likely lessened with aspirin – a COX-2 inhibitor, but it probably causes an adjacent muscle to contract over long periods of time which causes stiffness. So, the point of exercise is 2-fold:
a) improve functionality/lessen pain
2) relax contracted muscle, or stimulate circulation in that area so that molecules that cause contracture can move out of the area.
In order to accomplish this, I tried 2 different sets of exercises, in a specific order. The first exercise involved me laying on my back on the floor with my legs bent on a chair. I put 2 pillows lengthwise from my head to my upper back and adopted a situp position with my hands putting them behind my head. I then did 10X10reps of stomach crunches, being careful not to induce pain. So, the idea was to strengthen the abdominal muscles which also work when your back bends. This way, my back muscles would workless under a load. By having the arched position with the pillows, I could feel my back stretched and comfortable. For the 2nd exercise, I wanted to stimulate the circulation and work the heart, so after observing that stairs did not really hurt to much, I did 5X up and down 30 stairs. This got my circulation going (I broke a sweat), and I could do this exercise with my dogs. So, analyzing the position of the injury, it comes to 37.5% of the distance between sacrum and C8 starting from the bottom. I used this picture of the spinal cord, using shift PrtSc to copy it into Paint on the computer, which reports pixel values at the bottom right of where you point. Calculating the distance in a picture of the spinal cord, and converting the ratio, this comes to upper lumbar or L1 or maybe T12. I am guessing that because of the transient trunk instability I experience, it is T12 and not lumbar. Not completely sure: info is a little confusing, and it’s hard for me to read with limited internet time and screen problems. So enough back talk.
A little later, I had tried to use the headboard of the hotel bed to help me get up yesterday not realizing that it was attached to the wall, not the floor. It fell down off the wall. Obviously, after inspecting the drywall screws, it had happened more than once in the past. There were no anchors for the drywall screws. So, I spent $1.58 on some anchors and screws at the dollar general, and put the anchors in the wall, and then reattached the board bar driving the screws into the anchors with a philips – each of about 10 screws a little at a time. I then rehung the headboard.

I also dissassembled my soldering iron because my microphone leads had become unsoldered on the stethoscope. The iron had worked once, but I’m not sure if the leads are directional. Anyway, unable to pick up a signal with the resoldered leads, and I’m not the world’s best solderer anyway. But, determined to try again, I discover that the iron was no longer functional. So I disassemble it, and sure enough the power was detached in an unusual way. It didn’t really seem that hard to fix, but then I realized after more dissassembly that the rather thin wire was very rusted inside from water damage. it pretty much crumbles when you touch it, so to get any continuous reliable power at all through the iron will involve rewiring it.

Spanish words or phrases:
muchas suerte
que tanto amo
tan deliciosos
fue una produccion
etapa final
diganos sobre su estancia
nivel de satisfaccion con la estancia total
amistad del personal
limpieza del cuarto
todo funciona correctamente
limpieza y aspecto del hotel
se quedaria usted aqui otra vez
deje por favor esta tarjeta en su cuarto o en recepcion. Gracias por su visita, esperamos volverlo a ver pronto.
Nombre del ama de llaves:
Que tenga buen dia!
Daily log:
1. you spent 2 hours and 1/2 letting spin and petey out off-leash, and chasing spin around trying to catch him either walking or biking. He returned to the hotel lot, waiting by the truck, very happy to see me.
2. you spent 1 hour and 20 min. evaluating back pain and range of movement.
3. you spent 19 minutes separating clean and dirty clothes, folding and putting clean clothes away, making bed, clearing desk and table.
4. you spent 120 minutes to walk the dogs 1/2 mile over to the store to get drywall screw anchors, and then use the internet at Hardees until it rained.
5. you spent 34 minutes on stomach crunches and stair climbing.
6. you spent 60 minutes reattaching the headboard to the bed, and trying to fix the soldering iron.
7. you spent 45 minutes watching spanish TV, identifying several phrases that you could look up, and reading/understanding the hotel guest evaluation form in spanish.
8. you spent 60 minutes unsuccessfully trying to get the soundcard to work in linux (arecord and aplay). Booting now issues a horribly loud alarm sound if microphone is not plugged in. Something wasn’t done right.

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