Tag Archives: heavy purses

An update: arthritis, discs, and other tales of a boney sort

My last post that posited my injuries were due to a psoas pull or perhaps Greater Trochantic Pain Syndrome was, in a nutshell, wrong. I have oste0-arthritis in my left hip, bone spurs on my illiac crest and femoral head, a labral tear, impingement of the sciatic nerve, and degenerative disc disease (that sounds so awful, doesn’t it!? Thanks, Western Medicine).

How did all this happen? This is part of what I will spend probably the next several months and years figuring out, and the next however-many-years-I-live working with.

Some hints, which I would like to pass on as caveats to the young and (hyper) active:

1. Lighten your load. Ladies, this means pocketbooks. New York women are champions of the enormous 20 lb. sack as pocketbook style. In this sack, we put a change of clothes, make-up, a spare pair of shoes, yoga clothes, food, a 1.5 liter bottle of water (heavy!), books, smartphones, Blackberries, wallets (laden with credit cards and frequent-buyer reward cards…more weight!), notebooks, and God knows what else.

Although designer bags have become larger and larger over the years, just because they make it bigger doesn’t mean you have to fill it. This is also an exercise in discovering your essentials. Even five pounds worn on one shoulder exclusively can have effects on the gait and distribution of weight across the hips if not addressed.

2. High heels look great but are not great for you. Wearing high heels creates a tilt in the pelvis that shifts the weight forward, onto the ball of the foot. This creates lordosis (sway back), effectively compressing the lower vertebrae, and may have resulted in both the wearing I have in the anterior superior region of the hip joint as well as my lumbar discs.

3. Slow down. I have, for nearly two decades, literally stomped across New York City in very high heels carrying a gigantic purse, along with whatever else I picked up along the day (packages, groceries, etc) at breakneck speeds. The result: increased impact with the concrete (no shock absorption) on an already mis-aligned skeleton due to carrying too much weight and not having it properly balanced across the foot, knee, and hip due to wearing heels.

There is also something insidious about this fast paced way. The inner dialogue is one of pressure, shoulds and musts, and lack of forgiveness. It was unthinkable to me I could not accomplish the 20 things I set out to do on any given day, while wearing heels, carrying a 20 lb. purse, and booking my day to within an inch of its life. The pressure to check things off this ever-intensifying list was relentless. I walked fast and hard because I felt such profound internal pressure to do it all.

Healing from this type of thing will probably prove more lasting than many of the more physically visible injuries or conditions such a mental schema has caused.

There is a silver lining to all of this though. I will detail some of that in a subsequent post, and also update as I find out more about my various musco-skeletal conditions.

I am still practicing and teaching through all of this. I do not really feel pain or inflammation on most days. On some days, I do feel the hip become a bit stiffer and more sensitive, but overall, my life has not been capsized by these discoveries. If anything, I am grateful to have discovered them now so I can begin working with these conditions through increased awareness, sane modifications and practice, environmental and dietary therapy, movement therapy, and whatever other modalities I discover along the way.

And that’s the amazing thing about holistic health and mind-body work…there are so many modalities for healing and for bringing increased awareness and relief to people, and I am grateful and honored to be a part of that community.

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