Slam, snap, shatter

A little while ago, I unintentionally slammed a table with a lot of energy and ended up snapping a bone in my left hand. Too much excitement is a bad thing.

This 3D CT image from the palm side shows the shattered 5th metacarpal bone, the one at the root of the pinkie. The side view is like this:

The fractured part is a bit misaligned, like obvious enough in this picture. Then, when I went back to the hospital 10 days later, the gap was way bigger somehow. Having expected some magical healing power of mine, I was doubly shocked.

It plain sucks to get injured while NOT riding the bike. I’ll take good quick care of it so I can have a proper bike injury soon again.

Back pain diary

Now the sudden autumn thunder and rain are over, but I haven’t been riding much this week due to a lower back pain. It may be because of too much desk work, too little sleep, slacking in crunches, practicing on my bike nonetheless, or probably all of the above. It was even interfering with my daily life but is finally getting better after some days.

So let me talk a bit about back pain prevention, though I guess it’s rather common knowledge. To start with, the causes of back pain are said to be the lack of enough muscle strengths for your activity level or unbalanced status thereof, which constitute the underlying cause, and the bad body movement that pulls the trigger.

For the former element, it’s commonly said that the bad balance between the abs and back muscles causes it. From my experience, abs tend to stay dormant while back muscles have decent stimulation from daily life, shifting the balance towards the “abs < back” status. Therefore, you better do at least crunches if you are a natural athlete who don’t hit the gym often. By saying “for your activity level,” I mean that: If you experience back pains in daily life without sports, your muscles are weak so you want to train; and if you do sports that entail hard impacts or high loads, you want to train hard to match up.

I do feel the pain there – it is surely unreasonable that we need to make that much effort to just stay alive and kicking. However, it’s the fate we started to bear when we started walking on two feet. On the other hand it gave us the intellectual quality, civilization and bicycles, so I kind of feel it’s a fair trade.

As for the latter, more direct cause about the body movement, the typical error is to pick up something on the floor without bending the legs, just by bending the back. This is so easy to do and causes no problem if you are fully healthy and the stuff is light. But it’s the most common way to start your career of slipped disc problem if something goes wrong. Due to the intensive pressure on the discs between back bones in this position, it can crush the discs and cause permanent damages quite easily.

To avoid this, you need to bend your knees and ankles while keeping your back straight when lifting things positioned low. Just like in deadlifts, you need to take that jocky position. If you have ever experienced sports that entail precise body movements or done serious deadlifts, however, you’d rather never do the casual, dangerous way of lifting things. Being the two-legged creature that we are, athletic is the only way to survive.

Just for your reference, here’s a deadlift footage.

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(In the case of broken link, search on YouTube)

It’s impressive how he does it smoothly all the way until he puts the bar down, despite the heavy bar weighing around 460kg. He’s my hero.

Minor bone fractures

I went to the hospital yesterday since I was worried about the injury from the dirt jumping accident the other day. That is, since I was worried for by many people, fortunately.

So here is the verdict – bingo. There were slight fractures in the 6th and 7th ribs on the left. The doctor said it was like “how a willow branch can break when bent too much.” There is nothing majorly broken apart, and I should be fine in a few weeks. Regarding the suspected pneumothorax or hemothorax, there might have been some damage to the lung which caused the bleeding but there should be nothing to worry about since the blood has stopped, and there was no contraction of the lung judging from the x-ray.

In daily life, it would hurt to walk, lie in bed or get up from there at first. Over the last few days, however, things have turned so much towards the better.

So it seem like I’m getting back to normal life without much less stuff on my desk work list since I was taking it rather laid back due to the initial inconvenience. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, although I’m feeling good as if I’ve just paid the tax. Something has kept happening around August every year, but the toll was cheap this time around.

Alumni dirt jumping

Just hit the dirt trails for the first time in a while. I had been thinking about it, then the night before on Saturday, I bumped into old BMX friends I hadn’t seen for a while, and they totally talked me into it. So there were Mush and Takuma at the trails following that night, as well as Shoichi who just showed up there. All of these guys have been around in Hokkaido at some point and now are living in the mainland. I really should have taken some pictures of these guys and a bunch of Sapporo locals riding and digging together. I also brought a young gun, a skier I just made friends with recently. My bad habit was full on and left him unaccompanied while I was riding, but he seemed to manage it and have fun, so I was glad.

I was riding well, but the highlight was seeing great things from various riders. Notably Takuma, a top-notch flatlander, was super good at dirt jumping and I felt really inspired. As a result, we both ended up charging a big four-set line, and ate it as early as at the first landing, both of us. Some other guys were doing the line nonetheless, some to the third one, and I was reminded how good these guys were, including Mado who seems to have been progressing consistently for a long time since I met him, Keisuke who may not adapt to the society well but does to the trails damn well, and Makoto who is just coming back from a manhood-threatening injury. Real good stuff.

So I crashed, laughed, came back, took a shower to wash off itchy mosquito bites, took a nap to ease my crash-exhausted body, made ramen and ate, and am now coughing out some blood. It seems like the same old broken rib and traumatic pneumothorax, or in laymen’s terms, “broke a rib and it punctured the lung.” I’m not feeling as much suffocation as the last time, however, so my guess is it’s minor enough to be healed by just doing nothing and taking a rest. Here are other factors as well: doctors are less than decent and bills are ridiculous at night; if a rib is broken there’d be no putting it back in place or anything therefore no need to hurry; and if there is problem I haven’t noticed, they, at the late night/holiday hospital, may well overlook, so it’s pointless to go. Although, this is just my personal opinion on this specific case that I’m rather familiar with, and I don’t recommend you to do the same.

Since the left side of my torso hurts, I’ll have the right side work more for a while. I’ve had to work out more on the right side anyway to negate the imbalance of muscles anyway, so the timing is great. I also have a lot of desk work to do, so I’m not against not doing much physical activities for now either. Now I’m going to have a good rest with a good dream knowing I at least tried hard at the trails.

Back in skatepark

My last injury last autumn was actually pretty bad with broken bone in hand and broken rib that punctured the lung. The doctor first said my left collarbone was broken too, which turned out to be bone chips from old injuries. And the other shoulder kept aching for a long time despite the lack of any diagnosis for that part, which I guess was a bone bruise case. There also had been numbness in fingertips just until a few days ago.

Oh well, I’m back in the park again. I went to Edias today, the very place I got injured at and for the very first time to hit a skatepark after the injury. There were other riders as well, and it was fun. It was a good rehab for me in a lot of ways, since I haven’t been riding at parks much recently.

During the last few months of the last year, I was pretty seriously working out. I had to get back muscles after the injury, and it takes a lot of focus to get back in good and balanced shape when you hurt your limbs and lose power on one side. If you get back to sports before reclaiming the muscles and the balance thereof, you can easily end up with lower performance as well as a chain of injuries.

So, I restarted riding in October but now I’m finally glad that my body can listen to me and coordinate. And yes, I am going to keep working out so I can be even stronger.

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