Silver Lining: Cherry DropsJune 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
For a little over a year I had been going to a chiropractor for back pain which probably stemmed from old martial arts injuries, as well as the sudden jump in time I’d been spending on the computer due to work. I should start by saying that I was incredibly cautious about going to a chiropractor; in fact, the only reason I went was because the pain got so bad that I was miserable all the time, and because this particular chiropractor came with a word of mouth referral from one of my friends. It was scary getting my neck cracked for the first time, and a lot of the treatments seemed a bit (for lack of a better word) hokey. But after a few visits the pain had disappeared, and I was so happy and relieved that I could feel normal again. I was at a point where I’d go about once every other month for check-ups, and I was feeling great.
Unfortunately, my chiropractor decided to sell his practice because he’s moving. I thought that since chiropractic work had been so helpful, it would be a good idea to keep going every now and then. So I made an appointment with the new chiropractor. Let me tell you, all chiropractors are NOT THE SAME. Shortly after the first appointment (which was after several months of feeling fine), something in my back had slipped out of place and it was very painful. That night I couldn’t get any sleep because my back kept going into spasm, causing me to yelp and scream throughout the night. I was so afraid, and so angry that this had been done to me. I was even more angry that contacting the new chiropractor yielded nothing but a 10 minute lecture about how it wasn’t his fault. I don’t even know why I sat there listening the entire time, tearing up in pain and periodically shaking from the back spasms… I should have just hung up.
Long story short, I was able to seek help elsewhere (never, ever go to a chiropractor unless he or she has come with word of mouth referral: a good one can do wonders, but a bad one can seriously mess you up). I feel a lot better now, but that one spot in my back is still incredibly fragile. So in an attempt to further heal myself, I’ve been doing everything I can possibly think of to help. This includes eating foods high in magnesium (like wakame soup, almonds, and leafy green vegetables), lots of stretching and strength training, limiting the amount of time I spend on the computer, and my favorite: really lengthy daily walks which have turned into mini-adventures…
The other day we found a set of pull-up bars and I thought to myself: It would feel SO good on my spine to hang upside-down by my legs. I haven’t played on the bars in ages (my hands lack any sort of calluses so it stings my palms to go across the monkey bars), so naturally I was a bit apprehensive about it. I’m an adult now, and far more aware of things like falling and breaking my neck. But I really wanted to feel that wonderful spinal decompression that comes with hanging upside-down… so I pulled myself up and sat for a bit, head full of thoughts like, “this could lead to paralysis or death.” And then I finally went backwards into a full upside-down position (with George spotting me of course). IT FELT GREAT! On my spine that is… on the back of my knees as they hugged the bar on the other hand… pretty uncomfortable. So soon after I climbed back down again, slightly giddy about the fact that I could still hang upside-down like that after all those years. After a few minutes I decided I wanted to do it again… so I tried a couple more times to hang longer. The third time, this thought came into my mind:
“I wonder if I could still do a Cherry Drop?”
For those who don’t know, “cherry drop” was a slang term at my elementary school for hanging upside-down on the bars by your legs (like a trapeze artist), swinging back and forth, and then letting go so that you fly off and land on your feet. It was sort of like a right of passage in my group of friends… When you finally learned how to do one hands-free it was a momentous occasion. Even more impressive (read: dangerous) was the “Dead Man’s Drop.” With this move, you’d sit on top of the pull-up bar and then fall backwards into the upside-down position, let go as you reached the highest point on your single swing, release your legs and land all in one fell swoop.
So yes, now I was convinced that I needed to see whether or not I could still do Cherry Drops. I asked George to spot me again because I’m not 12 and therefore quite afraid of breaking my neck. I was a bit nervous, but really pumped at the same time… And after several swings, I let go and landed on my feet! After all these years, I could actually still do a Cherry Drop! High off of the excitement of the first successful attempt, I climbed right back up and did it again. Now I have this new found motivation to spend time each day improving my flexibility. It’s kind of an odd silver lining to say that all this back pain led to Cherry Drops, but part of getting better is keeping a positive outlook right?
Next goal: Being able to go into a bridge from standing position. I’ve got the bridge part down, but I still need the going backwards part…