Of sneezes, coughs and stretches

Nursing Vincent for the last two months has been a real challenge. More so because of my back injury. My back was so painful (and probably weak) that I could not even pick up a cat from the floor. Even picking up their food and water bowls led to excruciating pain.

Thank goodness I am learning Stretch Therapy now and my back has improved so, so much. Within a week, I can now bend and pick up things with minimal discomfort. Imagine the numerous times I have to bend down each session to serve Vincent if I still had a bad back. I wouldn’t have been able to cope at all.

Also, from March until yesterday, I had not been able to have a “complete” sneeze or cough because of the severe pull of my tight back muscles. I would have to suppress the sneeze or cough, even then, the pull of the muscles is excruciating, to say the least. But today, I found that I could “completely”sneeze! And what a great sneeze that was!

It was such a wonderful feeling! Wow…I can sneeze again, without having to suppress it!

We’ll never truly appreciate these seemingly “little” things which we take for granted in life (to be able to sneeze, to be able to cough) until we suffer disabilities that prevent us from doing it.

Well-being is so, so, so important.

Chatting with a friend about this, she told me about people who have been for spinal surgeries and all kinds of treatment which didn’t help when in actual fact, the problem was just due to tight muscles.

I’m so glad I was fortunate enough to find a treatment that is working well for me.

So, I will definitely make it a point to practise the four basic exercises we have learnt from Stretch Therapy every evening. Taiji in the morning, Stretches in the evening. I must.

While these exercises “look” easy – they are not easy to learn, if one wants to do them correctly and properly. There are so many small but important details that one must adhere to, in order to reap maximum benefits from these stretches. If wrongly done, I think it might have no effect or could even cause more harm than good.

The instructors at Stretch Therapy are excellent, providing detailed explanations and personal guidance. I also need to practise so that I can remember all the details.

When I saw the spine specialist, he only taught me one exercise to do for my back. It was a very advanced form of the Cobra (without arm support – they call it the “Superman”). He said it would be good if there was improvement after 8 weeks. From then, it might take 4-6 months for my back to slowly heal. Well, that exercise turned out to be too advanced and difficult. I have since stopped doing it. Instead, I do this Mini Cobra (see above) taught at Stretch Therapy.

As easy as it looks, one has to get into this position by first lying down completely, as in below.

You cannot take a short cut to get into that Mini Cobra position because then, you would not be working the muscles correctly.

See…it isn’t that easy.  So, proper instructions are of paramount importance if one wants to reap the desired results. I wouldn’t dare give instructions to anyone as I am not qualified, so please do not look at these photos and start doing!

Before this, one of the chiropractors told me to do the Yoga Cobra for my back. As you know, the Cobra in Yoga is much more difficult than this Mini Cobra. So I diligently did the Yoga Cobra, but it didn’t provide any relief, only more pain.

No proper instructor, no proper instructions – this is what happens.

But now, who would think that a Mini Cobra (which looks so easy) can alleviate the pain of the last 5 months?!!  But there are so many details that come with this Mini Cobra – how to get into the position correctly, which muscles to soften and relax, how to breathe. I didn’t know there is a “breathing to the front” and “breathing to the back”!

As narrated a few days ago, two chiropractors claimed they could cure me, but instead, gave me more pain. At least one more chiropractor was honest enough to say that there was nothing more he could do for me and that I should consult a specialist at the hospital. He was worried I may have an infection in my spine. Yikes!

I would still be suffering in pain and agony had I not discovered Stretch Therapy. In just one week, it has relieved so much of the excruciating pain of the last 5 months!

Now, I can pick up the cats (even our heavyweights like Cow, Bunny and Ginger), carry Vincent in the carrier, bend down multiple times a day to serve Vincent and clean after all the cats, I can sneeze, I can cough, I can get up from a seated position and lying down position with minimal pain. I can do my taiji without pain and hopefully soon, I can do those taiji kicks again!

Wow!! I am not disabled anymore!

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