Tag Archives: physiotherapy

I Went Out And Got Pithed

No, I haven’t begun to lithp. I did actually mean ‘pithed’. Getting pissed would have been a whole lot more fun.

The story begins long ago in a little country school…

Nah, never mind. I’ve got the world’s shittiest memory, so anything I told you about my school days would be pure fabrication. That might be amusing for me (if not for the classmates I’d likely malign) but it’s not what I had in mind for today’s post.

The story actually begins when I learned what ‘pithing a frog’ meant. That was probably around the time I was in high school, but I won’t swear to it. (The swearing comes later. Wait for it…)

For those unfamiliar with pithing, it involves pushing a needle into a frog’s brain and moving the needle around to destroy the brain so the frog won’t suffer unnecessarily while it gets dissected alive. Needless to say, the procedure stimulates the somatic nervous system, causing the frog to kick and twitch involuntarily. I know; quelle surprise, right?

Fast-forward to last week.

I did some renovations on my step-mom’s deck while I was visiting in Manitoba. (No deck jokes in this post, though. Been there, done that.) I replaced a few boards, belt-sanded the whole thing, and re-stained it. That involved a couple of five-hour sessions bent double/kneeling/sitting/leaning forward. My back was sore and tired.

But I was fine. My muscles recovered after a day or two and I carried on, happily oblivious to the impending catastrophe.

I drove home:  twelve hours of straight driving. I got out of the car in Calgary and felt fine.

Went for a walk that evening and felt fine.

Went to bed that night and slept like a baby on our nice new mattress.

And woke up with a back spasm so bad I could barely walk.

Only I could hurt myself doing absolutely nothing.

Four days later I was still crippled, with my back muscles spasming so hard they reached around and yanked my abdominal muscles into the act, too. Every time I moved, it felt as though I had snakes writhing under the skin of my stomach. So I went to the physiotherapist.

I’ve mentioned before that modern physiotherapy techniques are barbaric. This was no exception. I signed a release form for IMS (Intra-Muscular Stimulation), which means they stick needles in the spasming spots and grind the needles around until the victim muscle submits.

You wanna see kicking and twitching? Wow.

If not for the fact that I had my pants around my knees and needle tracks from my ass to my shoulders, I would have loved to have videotaped it just for the laughs. I’m surprised the carpet didn’t melt from my swearing, because apparently IMS stimulates not only my somatic nervous system but also the profanity centres of my brain.

And for a few days I wondered if one of those needles had destroyed my brain, too, ‘cause I couldn’t even think. But that might have just been the muscle relaxants.

I’m much better now, but I have a whole new sympathy for frogs. Maybe I should befriend some so we could go out and get pithed together.

Tho how wath your week?

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Bonus Question: How do you pith a frog?

Answer: Tell him he thuckth at thwimming.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)


Filed under Humour, Life


A couple of days ago when I was lying helpless in a small dark room with a couple of dozen needles stuck in various parts of my body, I began to reflect on the state of modern medical science.

If you’re thinking that the combination of claustrophobia and needles might not to be conducive to philosophical reflection, you’re right.  The truth is I was trying to distract myself; not only from the pain and psychological discomfort, but also from the galling knowledge that I was paying for the privilege of enduring both.

I’ve been getting acupuncture on my arm in a futile attempt to speed its healing from my latest kickboxing injury.  (I should note that it’s my fault the acupuncture isn’t working as well as it should.  I’ve discovered it tends to be considerably less effective if I spend four or five hours digging dirt and moving heavy rocks immediately afterward.)

No; the acupuncture works well when I behave myself… but it’s ironic that with all of today’s cutting-edge medical science, the most effective treatment for tendonitis is 2,000 years old.  With fancy diagnostic machines and a lot of fiddling around, today’s doctors can tell me exactly which tendons are inflamed… but they still can’t fix them without sticking needles into me.

When I considered it, I realized most physiotherapy is actually a little on the barbaric side:

  • Ice and heat applied alternately to create the maximum possible discomfort.
  • TENS, which is basically electrocuting the sore spot.
  • Massage and active release techniques, which both boil down to ‘find the place that hurts the most and press really hard on it’.
  • And ultrasound, which is like hitting the sore spot with a zillion teensy-weensy invisible hammers. With blue slime as an added bonus.

The truth is we really haven’t even come very far from our Neolithic ancestors 6,000 years ago.  ‘Way back then, they used a technique called ‘trephining’ to drill holes in people’s skulls and let the bad out.  Sometimes the patients even survived.

Today we do pretty much the same thing for intracranial pressure, only with less screaming thanks to anaesthetics, and a slightly better survival rate thanks to antibiotics.  But we’re still drilling holes in people’s skulls, and we’re still trying to make their sore spots feel better by sticking needles in them.  The more things change, the more they stay the same…

And speaking of relieving intracranial pressure, here’s one thing off my mind:  The cover art is done for Book 8, and it even has a title!  And it’s halfway through the beta-reading process with only one minor revision so far.  Woohoo!

Here it is:

Spy Now Pay Later cover draft

Railroaded into acting as a secret agent, Aydan Kelly only wants to return to her peaceful former existence.  But when trusted co-workers go missing along with a deadly weapon prototype, she’s forced to take over the investigation to protect them from an agent with a personal vendetta. 

And when a violent criminal organization abducts her lover, Aydan discovers exactly how far she’s willing to push the limits of her new role.  The bad guys are about to learn an important lesson:  Don’t piss off a middle-aged bookkeeper. 

So what’s on your mind this week?  Go ahead, let off some pressure!  And… has anybody got a miracle cure for tendonitis besides “Stop doing stupid things and let it heal”?

* * *

I’m on the road today so I won’t be able to respond to comments until tomorrow.  I’ll look forward to “talking” to you then!


Filed under Life, Writing