Nagle and I have been geeking out about somatic awareness, posture, physiology, and pain (neck/back pain for him, hands/wrists/arms for me) lately. I overdid it Friday, which is why I've been off computers for a while - but since I can only really type one thing this evening, here's what I've been discovering.

  • Driving also makes my hands unhappy (discovered while in Chicago last week). Nikki says that's because my shoulders are also extended forward when I drive.
  • Rolling my shoulders back also hurts in the tender "I don't think there's supposed to be a knot under my collarbones on either side" sort of way. Attempting to stretch. Over the past two weeks I have discovered that my right shoulder is often close to frozen, that my elbows are double-jointed*, and that hip flexibility is eerily great in one direction (I can butterfly with no pain or stretch feeling whatsoever) but doesn't otherwise exist. Yea, verily, I am messed up. Fixing!
  • Pain seems to manifest first in the pinky, then the ring finger of my right hand, followed by the back of the web of my left thumb radiating out into the base of my thumb. Then my hands begin to mirror each other, then my forearms start getting sore and there's a sharp pain in the inside of my left wrist, followed by a sharper (but later) one in the right. If I'm hyperfocusing and carry on too long (this only happened once) my pinky and ring fingers begin curling under in self-preservation as the muscles there get stiff and involuntarily contract-o-riffic, and I'm wincing as I poke at the keyboard with my index and middle fingers and an occasional thumb. This would be why I haven't posted for a bit.
  • I am ridiculously not aware of where my muscles and bones are. I borrowed Nagle's Feldenkrais book and it is kicking my ass. I think I spent about a half-hour last night trying to figure out where my lower back muscles were and how to relax them while sitting on a chair. I can't stand up from a chair without slamming my feet into the floor, either. Apparently my default method of moving is "begin acceleration! stop when you crash into something!" which is really interesting. Also, cantilevering neck forward == ow, but how else do I read? When I balance my head nicely on my spine, it's like my muscles are trying to pull it back out to where they're used to being.
  • The muscles around my eyes and the base of my jaw are perpetually tense. Walking without my glasses on and periodically rubbing them (around my eyes/jaw, not my glasses) seems to help.
  • Piano-playing does not cause pain, even when pursued for extended (3+ hours) periods. I wonder why. This may change if I decide to pick up the Rachmaninoff piece again (playing his stuff seriously hyperextends my fingers, and I can only practice it in 10-30 minute spurts).

*I was reading Spang's book on RSI and saw a "doublejointedness may cause problems" paragraph along with a picture of a normally extended elbow. "That's odd," I thought. "My elbow goes way farther." I walked to the dining room and asked the nearest few people there to extend their elbows, which they did. I blinked. "That's it? Um... guys, does this look weird to you?" I asked, and threw mine out. In unison, the table shouted "Holy shit!"

I took that as a yes.