Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of the wheel of life, reminding us of our mortality on the one hand and of all we have accomplished and have yet to achieve during our time on earth on the other.
A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be reasonably asserted that our musculoskeletal systems were not designed for such repeated motion sequences utilizing small muscle groups, but rather for a wide variety of tasks involving bending, lifting, twisting and turning, and walking and running that confronted early human progenitors a million and more years ago.
Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. But we live in an overwhelmingly right-handed environment, the most notorious example of which is the traditional schoolroom desk with the writing surface attached to the right side.
The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep." One of Thoreau's primary methods for maintaining such wakefulness was to explore the natural world and spend significant time outdoors every day.
In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on a certain day, at a certain time, during one of these innocuous activities you suddenly experience a sharp, excruciating, grabbing pain in your lower back. You might be unable to fully straighten up after such an episode, and it might take a week or more for you to recover completely. In the meantime, you have a lot of pain and it seems as if the slightest movement causes substantial discomfort. You may say to yourself that you'll do anything to avoid a recurrence of such a troublesome injury.