Back pain is the second-biggest reason that people do not go to work in the morning. The first reason is not having a job.
Recently, I’ve been going to a chiropractor who uses the traditional approach practiced by the Mafia for generations: They rough me up, inflict pain and then take my money. It was time for a different approach.
Irwin, my new physical therapist, instructed me to stand as I normally do when I talk to someone. He prefers to observe his subjects in their natural setting. This sounded like Jane Goodall justifying her first expense report. Suddenly, I became extremely self-conscious. My body has a number of extremities that pretty much fall into place when I’m chatting with someone. I don’t think about where to put my right leg or how to position each arm during a discussion. I just start yacking away, although I do try not to put my foot in my mouth.
When I got into my normal posture, Irwin shook his head.
“You lean too far to the left,” he said, which is exactly what WIBC said to me in l995 when they fired me from my talk show.
Then, Irwin put me on the massage table and rotated my head and neck to assess my range of motion.
“I don’t think your spine has a good relationship with your legs,” he commented. If there had been any conversation between the two, I would have overheard it.
To improve my posture, he suggested I walk with my arms at my sides, with the palms of both hands facing to the front, opened wide and turned skyward. I tried this while I was strolling downtown later that day. It felt odd, but I scored some loose change from sympathetic pedestrians.
Irwin told me to imagine there was a string running through my spine that went through my head to the ceiling, and then when I walked, to also concentrate on putting pressure on my big toes. My next appointment is with a neurologist. Not for my spine, but because I walked head-first into a wall.