Saturday, December 19, 2009

We can rebuild it, we have the technology

No, not the environment or Tiger Wood's reputation, I'm focused on something simpler and closer to home. In fact, it can't get any closer and more personal - my spine.

Specifically I'm facing a degenerative disc (see x ray - not mine but similar) and I have what's referred to as Spondylolisthesis: The word spondylolisthesis derives from two parts - spondylo which means spine, and listhesis which means slippage. So, a spondylolisthesis is a forward slip of one vertebra (i.e., one of the 33 bones of the spinal column) relative to another. Spondylolisthesis usually occurs towards the base of your spine in the lumbar area. And then there are a range of issues, some from previous bike crashes (broken ribs, clavicle, scapula, etc) and the wear-n-tear of 53 very active years on this planet as a photographer, as I found out yesterday.

Spondylolisthesis can be described according to its degree of severity. One commonly used description grades spondylolisthesis, with grade 1 being least advanced, and grade 5 being most advanced. The spondylolisthesis is graded by measuring how much of a vertebral body has slipped forward over the body beneath it.

I have grade 1 Spondylolisthesis, painful, but good news - we can rebuild it, we have the technology... now I need the patience and determination to stay focused.

So I'm dealing with two phases - recovery and reconditioning

I initially started seeing a chiropractor, Dr. Jason Lindekugel, who has initiated the recovery portion - with regular visits to correct alignment, and egoscue static stretching as well as yoga.

And today Jason and I met with cycling and fitness coach Phil Claud. It was Jason's recommendation I (and he) meet with Phil to be part of my back rehab team. Phil became a professional cyclist and joined the USA national team, eventually racing in Europe for five years. More about Phil.

What is clear from our first meeting Friday - I have a lot of work to do. Phil's first objective is going to be to try reteaching my brain/nervous system to be more adaptive. He does know I can't dance (dance lessons may also be in my future - more on that later).

Funny - one of the last things he commented on was my saddle alignment - I had ridden my race bike over in case - he said, see that saddle position, nose is down, we'll get to that later, we have other things to work on first.

Over the next several weeks and months, maybe years, I'm going to try, with the help of some very skilled, experienced folks, try and rebuild this anatomy into something that will motor me more efficiently, faster and pain free on the bike, but also my life. If you are interested I hope to share as much as I can - please feel free to comment here or write me. I'll post all of these entries with the Label: Cycling pain free

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