Mobility progresses and hand pain as challenge

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on October 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

So, the good news: bipedal mobility proceeds joyfully, 20 months after injury!  Although running on flat surfaces is still too much impact for my injured (patella fracture) knee, my morning hill runs go along with incrementally increasing ease.

I am also able to pursue vigorous exploration of Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise on a continuously challenging basis.  Although I require knee pads for kneeling, I can now do most of a Gyrokinesis class without fear of knee pain.

The formerly inflamed metatarsal area has also quieted, and only signals when I am pushing beyond current elastic condition of self.  Between my knee and my foot, I now have an excellent cueing system for end-gaining!

I have worked hard to get to this state of recovery, and with the assistance of wise experts in other modalities.  20 months after injury, I remain dedicated to achieving full function and mobility, and very happy to be making good progress!

Now, you would think after all the pain and frustration I have experienced that I would get a reprieve. But no, there is yet more to learn about pain and response to pain!  Now my left thumb joint is hugely painful from an as yet undiagnosed cause.  This means that even the simplest opposable digit action in my left hand causes a great wince of pain.  Hand use being rather essential to being an upright primate, and especially for an Alexander teacher, this is both a concern and an opportunity for learning.

Pain in my hand/thumb causes me to narrow and shorten in an unproductive attempt to guard and protect.  In activities other than teaching, I am having to quiet a fixed attention on a part, and instead  expand to a larger view.  As previously stated in this blog, I am not suggesting a repression of pain signals, but an expansion of attention to the wider, larger self.

I notice that while teaching, when my attention is large and my intention is global, my thumb joint rarely hurts.  So, according to F.M. Alexander’s described experience of his own challenges with voicing, this indicates there is something I am not doing while teaching that diminishes cause of pain, and something I am doing that increases pain otherwise.  Whether this is a structural imbalance, an arthritic condition or a perceptual inaccuracy is as yet unclear.  The choice I have as a student and a teacher of the Alexander Technique is to apply principles of dynamic non-interference, and seek expert assistance beyond my skill set.  I can refuse to narrow or shorten in response to pain.  There are physical rules over which I have no control, but I can choose my response.

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