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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Physical Gripes

As always, I approach any complaints of mine by first recognizing that I am generally fortunate and others have worse complaints.  But mine are mine and they are the only ones *I* have ever experienced.  And so many ailments are impossible to compare; a person with a constant itch, a person with occasional migraines, and a person with sciatica can never really compare how they feel.

Me, I get muscle cramps in my legs, my hands and my upper rib side.  Not at the same time fortunately, but always by surprise and every few days or nights.

I understand the hand cramps, where all of a sudden my whole left hand will claw up.  It happens about 2 hours after I've been doing yardwork.  I'm technically right-handed, but I suspect I was a natural lefty as a child and was taught not to be.  That used to be common.  Regardless, I tend to do many things left-handed.  Like pulling weeds and sometimes in tool use.

I try not to overdo it.  But sometimes I'm fine working for hours and no problems; sometimes an hour work causes left-hand cramps.  And the cramps always start as I'm preparing dinner.  I like to prepare fresh food (lots of raw vegetable work), so there is a lot of knife-work involved.  And that's when the cramps start.

I'm considering the possibility that I actually don't get enough salt...  That may seem strange given modern eating habits, but I eat mostly fresh food  and don't add much salt to my food.  It's not especially deliberate, but I think I may start drinking more Gatorade (an electrolyte drink for anyone not familiar with it).

Then there are the ribside cramps.  I originally thought "heart problem", but they occur on both sides randomly.  Usually after I twist around too much.  So its not a heart threat.  Oddly, it used to occur mostly while I was kneeling on the floor cleaning the cat litter boxes.  I have to pound on my afflicted side and do "wall push-ups" to stretch the rib muscles.

And I got a surprise the past few months.  Because I twisted my right knee in April and kneeling became painful (a whole different problem) I started lifting the litter boxes onto my workbench

[Bizarre but true timing.  I just had a leg cramp and had to walk around for 15 minutes and stretched the right leg each step.  I took a small amount of salt and large glass of water.  It helped.]

and cleaning them up there.  It is actually MUCH easier that way and I will continue to do it that way even if/when my knee heals.  Lets me sweep away loose litter from around them too.

Usually, the leg cramps happen while I am laying in bed.  No reason I know; I'm just laying there motionless and it starts.  Always the right quadricep.  It feels like the muscle is going to tear loose from the bone.   

I suppose it was because I was weeding and planting in some crowded space so I had to squat awkwardly, so it happened while I was still awake.  But usually, I'll just be laying there in bed and it happens.  

Speaking of the right knee, it has been 3 months since I originally injured it.  I wish I had a good cause to blame but it is only stupid.  All my life, I have tended to sit with one ankle up on the opposite knee (both ways).  And I fidget!  So I shake my on-the-knee foot.  I have probably loosened my knee joints that way (though some thought says that OUGHT to strengthen the muscles there).

I can walk almost normally again, but I still can't put my right ankle on my left knee because it seems to twist the knee.  It has happened before but healed after a couple weeks.  I hope it is not permanent.  To kneel while doing yardwork, I have to wear knee pads.  You know those knee pads that carpet installers wear?  I use them.

I'm used to injuring myself and healing fast.  Or at least "eventually".  Years ago, I threw a rock at a groundhog and strained my rotator cuff.  Couldn't raise my arm above the shoulder for 2 months, but it healed just fine after that.

I think I had better start being more careful.  And some preventative exercises might be in order.  I have a bicycle, maybe I better start using it.  Or at least walking a mile a few days a week.

I sure don't want to be using a walker in 10 years.  Or taking medications either... 

1 comment:

William's Kith & Kin said...

I finally figured out that not drinking enough water during the day can cause me to have terrible leg or foot cramps at night. I'm not one of those you-need-8-glasses-of-water-a-day believers but I do make myself drink a couple of glasses to avoid the pain. You might try this first.