What Hurts Now….. by Barbara Wintroub
They say you know you are getting old(er) when you go to sleep at night feeling great and awaken in the morning and your ankle (back, knee, shoulder, etc) doesn’t work. What happened? Did I have an “out of body experience” during my sleep? How could something go wrong in bed sleeping? What a mystery to me and everyone else.
For many years, I worked for a pain management doctor teaching Pilates to chronically injured patients. Most of them suffered from “sleep injuries”. The doctor was correctly named the “pillow queen” because she would design a sleep position that would create a safe environment for the patient. Then, she would align pillows all around their body and between their knees to keep them in this position. Here’s the good news, it worked. Here’s the bad news, it worked, but the sleep position was drastically different than the original way they slept. Some of the patients even traveled with an extra suitcase filled with pillows (before suitcase charges). If you have back pain, don’t sleep on your stomach, if you have shoulder pain don’t sleep on your shoulder. I now have feet pain. Because I am playing so much tennis and Pickle ball, my feet are killing me. I have a metal toe joint that hurts but the other toe joint hurts more. My right ankle kills me from nerve pain if I keep my foot under the covers. The covers make my foot throb. I just refuse to take meds unless the pain is too great to sleep. My body is telling me I need to stretch my feet and legs (especially the muscles in my lower leg). It’s just too easy to be on meds all the time that will eventually kill my liver. So all of this brings me to stretching all your parts every chance you get. Recently, I spoke to many of my tennis friends who are injured. I asked about stretching and watched their eyes glaze over. NEVER, was their reply!
Over-use syndrome is rampant among senior athletes. Doing the same movements over and over again break you down; they do not make you stronger. Learning to stretch correctly is key for all of us. Doing the stretches often but when you are warmed up is also very important. I’ll make you all a deal, try for two weeks to stretch carefully every day and see if you feel better. If you don’t, then buy lots of pillows, some pain meds and watch those “out of body journeys”.