a 45 record

Age Is Just a Number

One morning a few months ago, I rolled over in bed and stretched my arms over my head. Just like I do every morning. On this day though, a horrible popping crunch and pain in my left shoulder area ensued.

It hurt. A lot.

I was so busy at work that I couldn’t get to my chiropractor right away. By the time I saw her (Dr. Amber Capra — go to her!), about two-three weeks had passed. The pain was less, but hadn’t disappeared yet.

She checked me out, and then informed me that I had actually not “injured” my shoulder, but had popped my ribs out of position and they were misaligned.

“Stretching my arms over my head?” I asked, incredulous.

“Um. Yes.”

God bless Dr. Capra. The poor woman had to tell me — and probably has to break it to many of her patients — that age is a terrible terrible curse that makes the body do stupid things like pop ribs when one stretches her arms over her head.

Those are not the words she used, but that’s what it boiled down to.

So, she put my ribs back in. It hurt.

This has been a cycle since that first time I did this. It seems to be when I reach and then twist my torso, my ribs, where they are connected to my sternum, stretch and pop. It hurts when it happens, and it hurts when Dr. Capra fixes me, and it hurts when it happens again.


When I was a teen, maybe 13 or 15, I woke up to the sound of my mother crying in our upstairs hallway. She was rummaging through our upstairs linen closet / medicine pantry. Being the sensitive teen I was, I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. (Empathetic, I know.)

The next day, I asked her about it.

“Oh, it’s so stupid!” she said angrily. (Sadness and anger in 24 hours was a lot of emotion for my mom. She’s a rather stoic woman, always has been.) “I think I have bursitis in my shoulder. Bursitis! That’s an old person’s disease.”

My mother wasn’t yet 40.


Dr. Capra and I have discussed how to keep the rib popping thing from happening, but so far, it hasn’t helped — or only helps until I forget that I’m not supposed to reach and twist at the same time, and I pop shit out of alignment doing something perfectly normal like putting away groceries. I’m doing planks and pushups to try to strengthen the rhomboid and stretch the pectoral, but so far, it hasn’t prevented the ribs from moving.

I have never felt old until now. I feel I am young at heart, that my children keep me young feeling, that even though I’m 45, I feel like a 30-year-old. I am stronger than I’ve been in a long time, and even though I can’t run (I have the left hip of a 72-year-old; I’ve named it Gertrude), I am in good, even great, shape.

But here I am, unable to downward dog because something stupid could happen.

And I need to find a new chiropractor, because Dr. Capra practices in Upper St. Claire and Shadyside, neither of which are convenient to my new office.


Another reason I struggle with the concept of being “old” is that I really, really like new music. Like, I am always listening to new stuff, and finding bands — young, newish bands, that excite me.

I’ve become obsessed with twenty one pilots — which if you follow me on Twitter, you already know. It started with “Stressed Out” from their latest album. The obsession really took hold once I started watching their videos.

If you notice, the lead singer’s neck and hands are black — colored with marker or something. I mused about it on Twitter, and one of my young cousins, who loves the band too, tipped me off to the fact that Tyler (the singer) uses the black as an outward expression of his inner anxiety.

I know, I know, two white boys from Columbus, expressing the millennial angst.

But I don’t know. twenty one pilots is, IMO, expressing something, capturing something, that maybe some of us would do well to watch without the usual eye-rolling that an older generation does toward the latest generation. Just give it a pause for these guys.

Also, I can’t stop listening to this song, or watching this video, or singing along to it in the car while chair dancing behind the wheel.

Flora is mortified, so I’m doing my job there.

Copyright for featured image: whitestone / 123RF Stock Photo

7 thoughts on “Age Is Just a Number

  1. I wish I felt the same way about age you do. The years have not been nice to my body. about 25 years ago I fell and messed up my back. My ankles are weak. My right pinky has been twisted so my grip is no longer what it was. My hairline sucks. Etc. BUT to that end, to you main point about not letting how old you are dictate how you act or interact with the world around you, then I totally agree. I love “discovering” new bands and music, though I don’t get to much these days. This was a good find and I’m going to be exploring them a bit more.

    1. I feel pretty fortunate to be in generally good health. I recovered fairly well from four pregnancies, and I do think I have luck in terms of having good genes (seriously, my mother does not look her age), a good relationship to food, and the ability to exercise. One thing I have never been is seriously overweight, which I think has consequences on health.

      I try to focus on what makes me feel young, instead of thinking about what makes me feel old! 🙂

  2. Umm… it has never once hurt when my massage therapist OR physical therapist has put my ribs (and sacroiliac and vertebrae and even that one time with my radius. Oh, and that time in November, after I twisted my ankle and jammed it good ’cause one of the small bones slipped under something) back. I think if it was painful, I’d probably have slit my wrists by now because yes, I dislocate on an hourly basis.

  3. I was in a wheelchair at 21, so if I was the age my body seems to think it is I’d be Methuselah. Although I did have a few lovely years after that without it afterwards. I was really upset having to go to a scooter; old people use scooters. They don’t sell cool looking scooters. Wheelchairs are cool, and they are good exercise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *