Monday, May 31, 2010

Slow and Steady

Well, I'm happy to report that I'm on the road to recovery (again). Got confirmation that the pain in my right leg was due to a rather nastily inflamed nerve caused by the good old sacrum in my lower back. Also found out that I have early stage plantar fascitis in my right foot, but that's really a minor issue overall -- we'll address that next. But for now, the focus is getting the pain in my leg to settle down, and to get my lower back stabilized so that I don't continually reactivate this stupid injury.

So, I did a nice round of methylprednisolone tablets for a week. On the upside, it dropped the pain by a solid 50%. On the downside, I spent the first 4-5 days feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin at any moment. Man, I hate that stuff. Now, we're onto physical therapy and manual therapy once per week -- adjusting my spine, massaging the tissue around the nerve, stretching, etc. Progress is slower than I'd prefer, but steady. I'm also continuing to modify my workouts to focus more on technique, less on power and speed.

Frankly, the focus on technique comes at a good time, as in yet another example of how everything is connnected, physically, I've developed some bad habits in my kicking as a result of my injuries that need to be addressed. About 2 weeks ago, my instructor noticed that lately I'd begun pointing my toes when I did front kicks. Now, the proper way to execute a front kick is with the toes pulled back, striking the target with the ball of the foot. And that's the way I've done that kicks for years. But lately, I'd begun pointing my toes: I caught myself on occasion, and he spotted it while we were doing some line drills too.

Inititally I had no idea why I'd begun doing this: I know it's incorrect, and I tend to be a stickler for technique, focusing on fine points and tormenting myself to get them right. But this one had slipped in, and I really hadn't noticed at first. But then, after I began physical therapy and started focusing more on how I move, where I put my leg when I kick, how I tend to arch my lower back (bad) instead of activating my abs and keeping my lower back stable (good), I put it together.

One of the things I pride myself on is the height of my kicks. Not that they're like insanely astronomicaly high, exactly, but when compared with the vast majority of men at my age, with my level of experience, I think I'm comfortable top 10%. However, when I realized I was pointing my toes when I kicked, I pulled them back and kicked to my normal height and ... whammo! Pain in my leg. However, if I point my toes, it prevents the inflamed nerve from being strectched, and I can kick higher. It's a shitty kick, sure, but it's high.

Sigh.

So yeah, now I'm forcing myself to kick a little lower, but correctly. I'm also constantly reminding myself to not arch my lower back as I setle into a front stance. All in all it's odd: I'm having to be much more "present" mentally when training than I'm used to. I can usually detach and let go, relax more, when I train, but until I can get my body retrained and straightened out, it's more important that I maintain focus and monitor my body mechanics so that I can put this latest round of physical nonsense behind me.

One year until my Ee Dan test. Gotta focus on the real goal, here.

Mood: A bit punchy
Now Playing: Nothing

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gregg,

This entry reminds me of documentary I saw about Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg. A world-class violinist, she lopped off the tip of her finger while chopping vegetables for dinner. They performed reattachment surgury and she eventually recovered. During rehabilitation, she would practice using only three fingers and her thumb.

After she recovered full use of her injured finger, she claimed that being able to finally use all fingers again was like having extra fingers!

I wouldn't ever wish pain on you, but maybe the gift (that you are so wise to develop) is a more refined technique, so that you can practice for decades to come? I'd like to think optimistically on you behalf, so that's what I'm hoping for you. You'll be back stronger than ever, like Nadja.

xoxo

T

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