Friday, 23 November 2007

Putting up with the little things

For a year or two now I've had a slight problem with my right knee - a twinge of pain when stepping down from one level to another. I think it started after I slipped while hurrying down some steps in the rain and banged my knee hard on the concrete. I'd never done anything about it and had almost stopped noticing it. However, I recently started running once or twice a week and found that that made the pain worse.

Worried that the extra exercise might lead to a real injury, I resolved to do something positive to prevent it. I considered a visit to the doctor; but that didn't appeal, because I would have had to take time off work and probably would have got nothing out of it but a prescription for ibuprofen and a referral to a physiotherapist with a three month waiting list. Then I realised what might really help: and I resorted once more to Sarah Key's The Body in Action. There is, of course, a knee section in there, so I did all the knee exercises she recommended (they don't take long). Judging by what she writes about the initial difficulty of doing these excercises, both my knees are actually pretty healthy; so when I felt an improvement the very next day I wondered if it might just be a placebo effect. But I noticed, when I stepped down from the kitchen onto the back porch, that I had omitted to do something: I hadn't braced myself for the expected discomfort I would feel on bending my right knee. I'd got so used to something being wrong that compensating for it had become automatic. Now, it's normality that seems novel.

One of my reasons for writing this is just to say again how good Sarah Key's exercises are.

My other point, though, is that we shouldn't get used to something being wrong - physically or psychologically - without first finding out if it can be fixed. Some things can't be fixed, and we have to get used to those. But I wonder how many times we subconsciously wince before enduring yet another little niggle that could have been fixed without much difficulty, if only we'd stopped long enough to identify it, but that is gradually developing into a real problem because we're ignoring it.

To keep putting up with minor annoyances, enduring slight discomforts, and finding ways round small obstacles is to allow disorder to accumulate in our lives as more and more of our enerby becomes unavailable for useful work.

No comments:

Post a Comment