Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Bodies are weird, episode 26

My right wrist hurt the other day. A sudden sharp annoying pain. Maybe a tendon, maybe my arthritis acting up.

So I did my usual amateur self-therapy. I avoided the sharp ouch, but I moved with weights and resistance through a proximal path that was sometimes achy but not ouchy. I had lots of opportunities to load the wrist with weights, I am obliged to do CrossFit six times a week [3].

After about 4 or 5 days of this I noticed the wrist was pretty good. No more sharp pains.

It seemed … familiar. Eventually I remembered it happened before, back in Oct 2015, a bit before my formal Dec 2015 arthritis diagnosis. Resistance work was the fix then too.

This isn’t what we were taught in the medieval medical school of my youth. We were taught to rest sore joints, not to put them under painless load. We weren’t taught that running might make knee cartilage better.

Bodies are weird. Back in 2015 my knees were quite sore. I figured my CrossFit days were numbered; I even tried underwater hockey.

But then the knees got better. I continued my back squats and lunges and all the CrossFit rest. Maybe it was the exercise, maybe it was the hydroxychloroquine my atypical rheumatologist prescribed [2] maybe it was both.

Over the next four years I sometimes had knee and wrist effusions, sometimes not. Lots of things came and went. My hands got beat up, but they didn't bother me much.

Then this past summer came around. I felt weaker. My back was fragile in late July. I developed “pseudo-claudication” (look it up). I lost a bet with my daughter when I missed my birthday Bar Muscle Up. I figured age had caught up.

But then it turned out I had the pseudo-claudication was pseudo-pseudo. Probably a protruding disc. It got 80% better after 6-8 weeks of modified exercise and 100% better after 8-10 weeks. (Discs do that — it’s even in the textbooks.) I hit new lifetime best lifts in clean & jerk and back and front squat. Equaled some others. Got even closer to that elusive bar muscle up.

It’s not like I’ve stopped aging. I look a few years older than my age. I feel pretty old. Everything could fall apart tomorrow. So I’m not expecting to carry on like this. I’m just saying bodies are weird and “osteoarthritis” / “idiopathic arthropathy” [2] is weird. We do not understand. We might as well keep moving.

- fn -

[1] The process likely began with some rogue antibodies before 2010 and a single acutely inflamed distal finger joint in 2012.

[2] The one study I’ve seen on HCQ and OA says it doesn’t work. OTOH, I think “osteoarthritis” should be renamed “idiopathic osteopathy” to underscore our ignorance of what’s likely many different conditions with similar appearances. My mother did relatively well on it FWIW — before she went full RA.

[3] I leave it as an exercise for the reader to imagine why a sane person would actually need to go 6 times a week, even foregoing my ice hockey. It’s not for (my) health or training!

No comments: