After decades of lumbar trauma at L4-L5 that finally resulted in a stenosis
or 'lumber decompression' surgical procedure after 6 months lying on my back watching Star Trek Voyager and working on a big 'ol set of custard cream moobs, I undertook an extended re-education, in terms of my approach to health and fitness, that is still evolving. I had to reconcile myself to the inherent implausibility and dysfunctional nature of modern gym based isolation concepts and the deeply sobering realisation that my active participation in my beloved martial arts was probably at an end.
I was told in no uncertain terms that my chronic lumbar anomaly and the damage I had done would severely limit my activities post surgery.
I started to test that theory while still in recovery, doing QiGong exercises
behind the curtain at my hospital bed with a pipe still in my spine draining off
excessive blood and puss. I determined there and then I would do my best to prove the surgeons wrong.
Over the coming weeks I tried to activate my core as best I could through Pilates and Yoga but it was a real struggle. I obsessively engaged in an ongoing reeducation process based around functional and progressive compound patterns and working directly with my obvious imbalances. I had great support from my QiGong/Bagua instructor and my hugely experienced yoga teacher.
Gradually I learned more, discovered the revelatory calisthenics of Al Kovadlo,
focused on basic functional mobility patterns learned at a number of spinal health clinics, took part in a variety of supporting activities including being encouraged by a friend to go to introductory modern dancing structures (a hugely embarrassing affair for a 52 year old slap head, but I learned some very practical lumbar mobilisations and 'spirals') and even vainly tried to go back to Judo and BJJ.
After a while I definitely saw structural changes, especially I believe from the
intensive squat progressions of Al Kovadlos calisthenics. I felt increased
neuro muscular connections through concentrating and awakening dormant areas of my hips, psoas, piriformis and spinal chain. I am now confident enough to seek an intuitive focus in selectively fine tuning yoga, pilates and other movement modalities to suit my specific personal structural integration needs.
Its interesting when he raises the question "what are we doing to ourselves to
ignite this epidemic of lumbar pain?" My issue was a chronic congenital anomaly compounded by outdated and unnatural training methods. In my case excessive amounts of weighted crunches, sits ups and leg raises with decades of hyper extension and spinal flexion and posterior and anterior pressure on the spinal discs at L4- L5.
Now I prioritise my spinal health above all other concerns. As his issues led him to Functional Patterns so mine has led me to MovNat and the ancestral approach of the legendary Georges Hebert and his modern interpreter Erwan Le Corre.
It's taken me decades to come to terms with the serious damage I've done to myself. Erwan Le Corre suggests ecstatic levels of health and fitness are our birthright well into old age through engaging (as best as we can) in a movement based lifestyle evolutionary biology designed us for.
I am aiming to spend at least the next couple of decades doing just that.