Backing up a bit

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We use our whole bodies when working in the shop. I’ve recently realized just how much I use a particular part of my body: my back.

I’ve had some back pain for not quite two weeks. Since it started bothering me right about the same time Sally and I did a ton of yard work and fall landscaping, I naturally just assumed I overdid it. You’ve been there – you overdo it, pull a muscle or whatever and you pay for it with aches and pains for a while. After a week or so, you’re back to full form again. Well, I’m not.

The pain isn’t excruciating by any means, but rather more bothersome in that certain movements make it worse, sometimes sharply and unexpectedly. And I’ve realized that I make those certain movements a lot in the shop. It can be just turning in a certain way or maybe reaching for something or bending over – boom, bang, ouch.

The thing is that enough time has passed that a simple yard work-related muscle pull probably isn’t the culprit, and as a result I’m heading to the doctor today to get things checked out. I’m sure it’s something minor, but better to let an expert tell me that rather than relying on a diagnosis from Dr. Google.

In the meantime, I’m still working out in the shop but I’m doing it more carefully. As the joke goes, whenever “It hurts when I do that,” I don’t do that. Sudden bending, twisting and reaching require thought, and a slower approach to things. Like many of you, as I age I’m already doing a lot of that anyway.

And a slower approach to woodworking has two side benefits: The process is more enjoyable, and the results are generally better.

A.J.

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