Zen and the Art of Muscle Spasm Maintenance

It’s been three days now.

Three long, tedious, mind-numbing days of lying in ungainly positions with multiple pillows arranged under, behind, and beside the various and sundry (as in unmentionable) parts of my body. My back is my Achilles heel, and three days ago it decided to kick me in its own ass when I tried to lift a heavy box.

If you’re surprised to hear me talking about my very own back that way, consider this: I’m on the maximum dose of ibuprofen washed down with half a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I’m lying flat on my back with an ice pack tied around myself using one of my favorite, now probably ruined, scarves. My hands keep falling asleep from holding my iPhone up in the air while I type this. My back does, indeed, feel exactly as if it twisted itself around and planted its heel squarely in the middle of its own ass. But things could be worse.

About an hour ago, I made an important scientific discovery: Pleasure cancels out pain.

How did I stumble upon this amazing fact? Well, as we all know, great scientific discoveries are often borne of necessity, and this one is no exception. Earlier, I had been a bit hungry, and my empty stomach needed something in it to keep the ibuprofen company. I’d tried to walk to the kitchen to grab a cracker, but my back rebelled, driving me back to bed in a hunched up fog of pain.

It was too early to gulp down any more painkillers, so I lay there for about twenty minutes until Chuck came home with groceries, and then I asked him to fix me up a little lunch. Even though it meant having to sit up in bed in an even more painful position, I decided to try and force myself to eat something.

I moaned and groaned and finally had positioned myself for minimal food spillage. The food was arranged on a cutting board and balanced precariously on my outstretched legs. I grimaced and resolved to get this over with as quickly as possible so I could go back to painfully lying down instead of painfully sitting up. But at the moment that I tasted my first mouthful of the delicious food Chuck had prepared, my taste buds exploded, and so did the pleasure receptors in my brain.

It was only a microwaveable meal from Trader Joe’s, the kind that looks like an upscale TV dinner. I must have been really hungry, because that Chicken Marsala with Mashed Potatoes (emphasis on the mashed potatoes) tasted like Thanksgiving dinner. And, for that first fleeting second or two while I savored the surprisingly delicious flavors (emphasis on the Marsala), my pain disappeared! It seemed I was incapable of feeling pain simultaneously with pleasure.

Unfortunately, the second that I paused to consider this, the pleasure receded and the pain came rushing in to fill the void. But all it took to send the pain away was another forkful of food.

I then took two sips of wine that I’d had the forethought to ask Chuck to place next to me on the bedside table, and this helped matters even more. Then I went ahead and took two, or maybe six, more sips. There. Much better.

I also started thinking about how I really should try to meditate in order to relax my back — and no sooner had I thought this, than again I felt a slight easing of the pain.

And occasionally, instead of thinking about meditation, I just took another sip of wine.

I continued this cycle of “eat-sip-think about meditation-or-sip” (TM) until my Trader Joe’s meal-in-a-tray was gone, and then I was feeling so much better that I decided to write this post about it.

I am now a firm believer in the “eat-sip-think about meditation-or-sip” (TM — or maybe © ) method. And I’m shortening it to ESTAMOS, Spanish for “we are.” It makes a great hashtag.

But, unless you’re determined to get a stomach ulcer, please don’t mix ibuprofen with alcohol. The label says there can be some nasty results.

I hope to be fully recovered from my back problems in time to accept the Nobel Prize for Home Remedies next year. And just to increase my odds of winning, I’m going to try some actual meditation now. If it works, I may change the name of my method to MEATS (meditate-eat-and-take-sips), but I’m afraid PETA (People Enraged by Trite Acronyms) might not like it.

12 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Muscle Spasm Maintenance

  1. LOL! I’m no stranger to back injuries. Get well soon — but not so soon you put yourself right back in bed! PS Are you familiar with the practice of “tightening the core”? I’ve gone from several debilitating back injuries a year to none using that technique. Blessings to you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ana! I’m much better today. Went to yoga class today, which helped. I do know about tightening the core, I think that’s why I’ve kept my back problems to a minimum so far. They run in the family.


  2. Hi Lori,

    I feel so bad that you are hurting. I have a suggestion for pain management. M – M, aka Medicinal Marijuana. I have heard that MM helps with chronic pain, including muscle spasms. See your physician and inquire about it. If you can, research the benefits from MM, the medical list of illnesses that qualify, and the laws that pertain to it in AZ. Add MM to MEATS, it just may help you. Just a suggestion. I hope you can get some relief from your pain soon.

    Much love,


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had the year from hell myself – My right knee and left ankle. Slowly they are improving. One thing I have discovered about pain, it makes us appreciate the little things in life.

    It’s as if our bodies are saying – You are taking advantage of all the good things I am offering you. Now it’s time to pay the price.

    Take it slow, my friend. You’re on the road to recovery. it just takes time. Good wishes headed your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bryan. I’m doing much better today. Doc says to stretch and use “heat, heat, heat.” In Tucson, I can accomplish both by going for a walk outside! May try that later today. Sorry to hear about your ordeals, though! Sending good thoughts to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi loristory! This post is hilarious! My favorite line is the one where you TM or (c) your catch phrase. I noticed you like something on my formidableWoman earlier, so I hopped on over here to read some of your writing. Boy! Am I glad I did. I’ll be back! Hilarious. Just hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

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