Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I am a poorly adjusted bipedal hominid

I remember reading one of Stephen Jay Gould's essays on life, the universe and everything, and he was discussing our present bipedal form, and how as humans we generally suck at bipedalism (compared to other animals).  As Wikipedia notes:

     Even with much anatomical modification, some features of the human skeleton remain poorly adapted to bipedalism, leading to negative implications prevalent in humans today. The lower back and knee joints are plagued by osteological malfunction, lower back pain being a leading cause of lost working days, because the joints support more weight. Arthritis has been a problem since hominids became bipedal: scientists have discovered its traces in the vertebrae of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Physical constraints have made it difficult to modify the joints for further stability while maintaining efficiency of locomotion.

I was never more reminded of this than this weekend when I hurt my lower back - - what a typically bipedal hominid thing to do!  There I was, standing there, minding my own business when BLAMMO!  my back went out.

Saturday and Sunday were painful, but Monday was especially bad - - with all the water I drink in a day, sitting still is just not an option, and every time I got out of my chair to walk it was agony.  That is, until I wised up and took 3 extra strength Advils.  Once the pain was down to a dull ache, I could function again.

This morning my back is still sore, but I definitely see progress from yesterday and the day before.  And I will make a point of remembering that painkillers were invented for a reason - to stop my incessant whining - so I should stop trying to be a hero and take something when the discomfort is starting to impinge on my ability to function.

I predict tomorrow I will feel 100% better, at least according to my mother's scale of things.  For her, every day is 100% better than the last.  She's an incurable optimist, my mother.  A stoic with a high pain threshold, and an optimist at the same time, she possesses the perfect combination of traits to get over physical issues, and I am happy to have inherited these qualities from her.  Yay, mitochondrial DNA-linked traits!

On the good side, my back has not affected my ability to sweat on the elliptical machine, which is good.  I would hate to give back all my hard work due to inactivity.  As it is, the weight is trending in a very nice direction (i.e. downwards), and I just need to keep it up.  I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I don't notice my lower back any more...

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