My return from my quick Christmas visits to family, and immersion into the Great Dissertation Push has resulted in something entirely unforeseen: my first dissertation injury.
Who knew that such a thing was possible? I'm not sure what caused it, but I think it was a combination of a few factors. For the few nights that I stayed over at my Mom's place, I used a new, inflatable mattress, which, even when fully inflated tended to sag a bit in the middle when I was on it, on account of even my skinny self being a bit heavier around the booty than anywhere else. But no problems there: several nights of comfortable sleep, in fact. I then came back to the dissertation work – I was even working on the dissertation on the whole trip back – and enjoying the work and the freedom from teaching. But I spent the last few days working where I tended to work when not in the library: at my living room coffee table. Now, I know that my lower back could get a bit stiff, seated in such a way on the edge of the couch that I tended to be bent forward while writing on the computer on the table. No big deal. Stretch, work out the stiffness, and continue. It always made me feel like I was doing something, even if it far less physically strenuous than power-lifting and pole-vaulting. But yesterday, this stiffness increased and increased until it was something more like crippling back pain in the lower back, leaving me moving like C-3PO. Go figure.
So I'm guessing that the combination of odd mattress with poor posture done did me in. I've responded with obsessively ramrod-straight Prussian posture and Tylenol, and I think maybe the ache is fading, but I'm definitely moving to the kitchen table for the rest of the Push. I've never suffered from back pain before – although it feels very déjà vu as I write that, so maybe I had a brief, almost-forgettable something a year or three ago – but I'm feeling nothing but sympathy for those I've heard complain out it on a more chronic basis.
So anyone know any good stretches for such things?