Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pining for the past

There's a certain point in your life when you come to realize the immortality of youth isn't as long lasting as you thought it would be. Having done martial arts for 22 years, you gain a high tolerance for pain; actually it's more displacing the pain than anything else. I never thought I would see the day where I would be asking....err...more like begging my Dr. for pain killers. I always thought because of the way I conditioned my body it would always remain such. I think deep inside I knew what I was doing to myself but always kept myself in a state of denial.

While sciatica is not a serious condition, it's irritating and painful enough to disrupt your daily life. Something is putting pressure on my left sciatic nerve causing the entire erector spinae on the left side to be perpetually cramped and spasming. Because of this, pain has been radiating down into my elbow and left knee. The sad thing is I know what needs to be done to fix this.

I've learned stretching is the most important activity a person can do as they get older. There is going to be a point in my life where I won't be able to rigorously do the same work outs I've always done. I won't always be able to do 720's, butterfly twists, aerials and other fun tricks. While I have always understood age will eventually limit me from doing these things I never thought by not maintaining them that my body would also retaliate against me.

Because of how badly my body has been treated (doing flips and landing on your back on concrete isn't the most beneficial recreation) and now since I've been on sabbatical from my martial arts training I'm finding my body is starting to turn into cereal; it goes snap, crackle and pop in the morning. Doing the some of the things I used to consider mundane are now becoming difficult. I can no longer drop into the splits on a whim. I can no longer land as gracefully after a jump as I used to. My stomach isn't as close to my spine as it used to be. My gait is different because of my hips adjusting itself. Worst of all, the pain.

Like a rubberband that has been stretched out and then snapped back into place, my muscles are doing the same thing. This leaves me with a couple options which will ultimately determine my well being possibly for the rest of my life.

1) Pain killers and physical therapy. While this sounds like a fun option I would rather be in control of my own pain management rather than what a Dr. is telling me to do.

2) Surgery. This is the least favorable option of all. I've never been under the knife in the past and I have no intention of doing so. Not because the medical arts scare me, heck I even wanted to be a surgeon. It's because I have taken pride in myself as being whole and unaltered. Surgery has the highest risk for me in regards to recovery. Dr.'s can't tell me if I'll be able to do the splits again. They can't tell me if I'll ever be able to do a jinga or an au batido again.

3) Do martial arts and stretching for the rest of my life. This would be the ideal choice given I had enough time to do it. But where there's a will there's a way.

So with that in mind, I hope one day I can go back to being what I used to be.

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