Monday, January 11, 2010

Back to the Back: Session 1

As promised I'm going to try and post after every session of my back rehab and overall rebuilding of the body - for cycling and life. Today was the first real workout with Phil. After time for the holidays and giving Phil a chance to analyze an approach, we got down to actual gym time this morning. I was coming in as a blank slate - mentally letting go, putting my body in Phil's hands and focusing on building this body into something better than it was before.

A focus of today was a new term to me - Proprioception. It's something that I'm, ...well, maybe more accurately I'm not. Ya see, I can't dance (except that silly excuse for a thing Jenn is kind enough to laugh at with great kindness) or anything else that requires independence and rhythm from my arms, my hands, feet and brain. Coordinated communication is proprioception:
"Proprioception (PRO-pree-o-SEP-shən) is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. Unlike the six exteroceptive senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and balance) by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and movement of internal organs, proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other."
Today's first session was about dumping old data, and rebooting Ger's mental hard-drive so we can start reprogramming the new Ger. According to Phil that's the first step before we can ever get to rebuilding what 50 years of active living on this planet has damaged.

This first session was about "bookend" as Phil called it - teaching me how to warm up properly, and cool down. As he says, "We're gunna go slow, and do this right". That began by telling me he was going to break me of the habit of stretching before warming up. See how little I know - I thought stretching was warming up?

We began with a light easy (a word I'm going to become reacquainted with) with a few laps of jogging. Then a series of walking, then walking while bending, walking lifting legs, and walking swinging arms, etc. None of these to any length or extreme. C'mon how tough could thsi be? After 45 mins of stopping and starting to focus on my back position, proper body alignment, proper movement and technique I finished extremely "worked" and completed the warm-up that someday I'll do on my own in 10-12 mins max. For now that was it.

Then he pops out the "roller" - I thought I knew about this - a 6" x 15" hard solid foam tube. But like everything else today, it was time to learn. We started with the IT band (Iliotibia band). Ouch! This is good, I kept telling myself, Phil called it, from where he was comfortably sitting, "pain is your friend", and then remind me to slooooooow down. The goal here was to sit for 15-20 secs on pain spots in the IT band before rolling slowly on up towards my hip. If stoping at pain was my goal, then I wasn't going to be making swift progress - but "slow is good" Phil kept reminding me.

After the IT band was adequately mutilated - so it felt - we moved on to the interior of the upper leg and the same slow roll from interior knee. It's truly amazing the body parts and pain you can find when you go looking for them. OUCH! Slowly I was reminded. Repeat on left leg with equal pain and then it was off to ice the back for ten minutes - more on iceing later.

Session 2 on Wednesday..... think proprioception

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