Friday, March 20, 2009

bounce, bounce, wiggle

Some days I'm full of ideas on what to write and have no time to write. Some days I have no ideas but want to write. This is one of the latter. I feel like just posting another picture and let that do the talking, but that's the easy way out. I can't do wordless every day. It's the end of the week and I'm tired of being in front of a computer all week. It's sunny outside and I want to be outside (from the comfort of my office I can pretend it's not cold and windy and just think about how warm and nice is might be).

Let's see what's on my mind if I just let it go... I like my new exercise ball. It's shiny and new. And actually clear instead of scratched and kind of clearish in a past life. It's fun to sit on a shiny new ball. I started sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair about 7 years ago. Wow, that's a long time! I have chronic back problems and it got so bad that there were times when I physically could not walk. I thought that my useful life might be over. I didn't know if I would ever be able to have kids, etc. I felt terrible that my husband had married me and ended up getting more than he bargained for. I didn't know if I would ever be the active girl I used to be. I went to lots of doctors and they did lots of tests. Major back surgery was recommended. Major, major! But we opted not do that, and I went into physical therapy for 10 months. My physical therapist was not a traditional American physical therapist -she was from the Czech Republic and did some muscle work and some alternative things. She recommended that instead of injections or major surgery I sit on an exercise ball, and low and behold the $30 fix worked very well! Thank you Radka! It wasn't a complete fix, but between the ball and exercises and PT, life gradually returned to "normal". I still was not able to sit on chairs, and ended up standing through my classes for the last few months. I toted a huge bright yellow ball around campus for a few weeks and got the strangest looks. But my large yellow ball seemed to make people happy. They smiled at me. Probably thought I was completely loony, but they smiled. I eventually discovered the Opit-ball clear balls and got several so that I could have one at the kitchen table, one in the office, one in the computer lab, etc. And I chose to change my lifestyle from a sedentary graduate student to doing a large amount of strenuous field work. What I needed was to rebuild the muscle that I had lost during college and graduate school (I was very active and helped on the farm in high school, and we think that's part of what kept things from getting too bad previously). So off to the woods I went, and I felt great. Then I finished my degree and had to go get a real job. That meant more office work. I held up well through two pregnancies, but the desk job takes it's toll. At my best time in the last 7 years I could sit for about half an hour in a chair without the pain taking over my brain. Now some days I am in constant pain again, chair or no chair. There were a few years there where I didn't have pain every day, and that was great! Now it's in the back of my mind most of the time again. But at least I know that it's not doing to completely debilitate me (at least not any time soon) and that if I can just find a way to sit less and exercise more things will get better again. I don't immediately see how to do that, but the pain it's as scary to me as it used to be.

So a little bit more about the ball. Evidently sitting on an exercise ball redistributes the pressure on the disks of your spine and so can reduce pain in some people that way. It is also an active sitting - you bounce, sway, wiggle, etc. That keeps things loosened up and builds muscle. I'm not an expert in all this, but it works for me and I've seen it work for other people. It's also very handy to have a ball around for bouncing babies to make them happy/sleep, etc.

So, here I sit on my shiny new ball. I got a new one so that I don't have to keep taking my ball room to room. Oh, and if you're planning to sit on a ball full time, I recommend buying a good quality one. The cheap ones tend to make your bum go numb more quickly in my experience.

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