My dad says you know you’re old when all you talk about is the weather and your health. Well, maybe I’m getting old, but it’s hot here, and I’m about to write about my health.
Don’t worry! I’m fine. I’ve been lucky to be healthy my whole life. I’ve never had surgery or any other major procedure, and I see doctors rarely enough that even routine things seem new and interesting. In the last half a year, though, I’ve found some great new solutions to common problems: neti pot for sinus infections, The Stick for neck strain, and mid-foot striking for runner’s knee.
I’ve been prone to sinus infections my whole life. My usual approach was to stay home, wait it out, and take antibiotics if necessary. They gradually got more frequent, though, so I finally went to an ENT. A CT scan showed her that my sinuses were normal size and shape, so she recommended saline rinses, ie neti pot, before anything more drastic. I tried it, quickly graduated to the “positive pressure” squeeze bottle version, and haven’t had a sinus infection since! One down, two to go.
Around the same time, I stopped running due to pain in my left knee. It developed gradually over years, only while running, and finally got bad enough that I couldn’t run more than a half mile. A doctor quickly diagnosed it as patello-femoral syndrome, aka runner’s knee. Sigh.
A physical therapist checked me out and found two problems: too much impact from heel-striking and weak obliques. She helped me change my form, prescribed strength-building exercises and stretches, and a month later I was back up to my normal five mile run. Two down, only one left!
My knee wasn’t my only low grade, chronic problem. I’d always paid attention to ergonomics, but even so, my neck had gradually stiffened over the last couple years until it was uncomfortably tight and strained. It didn’t help that I’ve slept on my stomach, the worst possible way, for my whole life.
My doctor diagnosed “monitor neck” due to sitting in a static position for long periods of time. I started stretching, switched to sleeping on my side and back, and attacked my neck muscles with The Stick, which relaxes them and works out knots and kinks. It’s working well so far.
I was a bit fascinated by all this. Other than a common cold here and a minor trauma there, I’ve been very healthy. I’d never really had the experience of having something go wrong with my body, seeing a doctor, and getting it fixed. Modern medicine is all well and good, but it was a pleasant surprise to find low tech, non-medical solutions to these problems that actually worked.