Homer's Travels: Aches And Other Bodily Issues

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aches And Other Bodily Issues

Since I got back from Spain, and the Route 66 vacation that followed, I have been suffering from various aches and pains.  I knew I would have some, everyone does after doing the Camino, but I expected them to fade away and that my general health would be improved by all the exercise and sunshine.  Sadly, that does not appear to be the case.  I went to the doctor on Monday and got back lots of results.  Let me use my favorite tool, a list:
  • About half way through the Camino my right leg started aching.  It would wake me up in the middle of the night, usually 3:00 AM, and just ache.  Ibuprofen did nothing but acetaminophen (Tylenol) did.  This ache was what got me started on the 1,000 mg of acetaminophen before bed habit.  This ache persisted.  The leg ached in the car all the way along Route 66, up the California coast, and back to Nebraska.  It got better and got worse but it never went away.
    • So what's causing it?  A twisted sacroiliac joint.  In other words, a twisted pelvis.  When the doctor examined me he notice that my right leg was a hair longer than the left, a result of the twisted pelvis.  The twisted pelvis is stretching the muscle between my right buttock and my knee. This stretching is making my muscle ache.  This would also explain the tight feel I have in my buttock (Please, no tight A$$ jokes).
    • What's the solution?  Stretching exercises twice a day.  If I'm not better in four weeks then I may have to undergo professional physical therapy.
  • During our Route 66 vacation, when we got to California, I wanted to do a hike.  The hike I chose, and will post about whenever I get to the Route 66 vacation - probably next year - was up Topa Topa ridge.  It was tough.  The day after the hike my right knee just killed me.  It was a little hard to walk.  The pain persisted for about five days.
    • So what's causing it?  Excessive Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome.  My patella (knee cap) is being pulled to one side out of the groove it usually moves in.  This causes pain and noise.  This is actually related to the twisted pelvis.  The stretched thigh muscle connects to the patella and is pulling it off center.
    • What's the solution?  More exercises to strengthen other thigh muscle to compensate for the stretched muscle.  Again, a month of exercising twice a day should do the trick.
  • A couple weeks ago, my second toe (the one next to my big toe) on my left foot started hurting.  It was painful when I walked barefoot but was not painful to the touch or when I flexed the toe.  It was tolerable when I wore sandals/shoes and it usually got better by the end of the day but then was bad again the next morning.  It's a weird pain.
    • So what's causing it?  Not really sure.  x-ray didn't show anything.  The doctor suspects an inflamed ligament or tendon.
    • What's the solution?  Anti-inflammatory pills - heavy duty stuff.
  • The final nail in the "Camino will make me healthier" self-delusion was the results of my blood test.  Six months ago all my numbers (Triglycerides, Cholesterol, LDL, ratios, Glucose, A1C), except HDL (good cholesterol) were in the normal range .  This time they were all out of spec.  The high Glucose number, the average blood sugar for the past three months, really wasn't a surprise to me. My eating habits in Spain, within the three month average window, were terrible.  Those who weren't there will find out why my blood sugar was so high once I reach the Burgos posts.  I developed a very unhealthy habit after Burgos.  I blame NV and LO
So, there you have it.  I'm officially a mess.  Any benefit I may have received from the Camino was effectively squashed by my bad eating habits.  I'm now home and I'm back on my usual routine.  I will be keeping a very close eye on my food and I am starting to ride my bike (RAGBRAI is just around the corner ... in two years).  Hopefully by January I will have wrestled my aches, pains, and numbers back into submission.


  1. You should take a trip to the chiropractor more often. That way, your spine becomes stronger and you're less likely to experience aches.

  2. Chiro Mel: I think I'll visit the chiropractor if the visits to the Witch doctor doesn't help.