Monday, April 30, 2007

Meet Mr. L. Dorsi

Last week, a minor disaster made me search for a better understanding of the term “muscle pain”.

Early one morning, I was lying belly-down on the floor, doing Yoga when my daughter – a preschooler - ran up from behind and jumped on to my back shouting, “Hello, Papa-Camel!”. She was referring to a little game between us and, at that point, I made the mistake of humoring her. I continued to exercise with her sitting on my back, playing the wobbly, giggly baby-camel.

I had forgotten all about this until I woke up the next morning with a strange pain on the left side of my lower back. It felt like somebody had quietly pushed in a small knife -- and left it there. Any movement of the body that needed the cooperation of the left leg or left arm resulted in a shooting pain. Ditto for rising from bed, turning and leaning back.

I’ve been acquainted with Mr. Backache but this fellow was quite different. He was completely localized and stubbornly resisted balms and ointments. He didn’t mind my sitting upright, driving or even my walking back home with a few kilos of groceries slung on my right shoulder. But the moment I tried to use the left side, he gave that little knife an exquisite twist...

The Web tells me that his name is Latissimus Dorsi. He is a “large, flat, dorso-lateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the spinotrapezius on its median dorsal region”. Function ? “to pull the limbs dorsally and caudally (towards hind side) ”. Great.

So how do you persuade him to get rid of his knife? The answer is simple – bed rest. Nothing else works, actually. Just go to bed early and let your body clear up the mess you left behind --it takes about three days.

Now I’m almost ready for the next camel-ride… :)

Links :

A straightforward illustration of back muscles

...and the not-so-straightforward stuff from Wiki

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