Jun. 12th, 2009

juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Title: Feminine Gospels
Author: Carol Ann Duffy
Published: New York: Faber and Faber, 2002
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 65
Total Page Count: 79,214
Text Number: 231
Read Because: I enjoyed the author's poems in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection
Short Review: A collection of 22 poems, Feminine Gospels can approximately be divided into: poems of sometimes comical feminine traits and archetypes, one long poem, and poems on women and metaphysical matters. It's a wide breadth for such a small book, all written in Duffy's sometimes-playful, sometimes-rhyming, empathetic language. The quality varies, but I believe the book gets better as it goes on. The archetypal poems didn't appeal to me, but the long poem, The Laughter of Stafford Girls' High, is brilliant and justifies the entire collection, and the denser, metaphysical poems that follow are all beautiful. Recommended.

Long review. )

Review posted here on Amazon.com.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I've been dealing with chronic lower back pain for the last nine years. The problems cropped up in my teens, and I have every reason (personal and professional opinion) to believe that they will continue for the rest of my life. My back pain originates from severe lordosis, which is commonly referred to as sway back: an exaggerated anterior curvature of the lower back. My lordorsis is so severe that, in my natural uncorrected posture, my lower back forms nearly a 90 degree angle. (See a picture of it here—I'm nude, but nothing sensitive is visible.) My lodorsis is complicated by 5 degree scoliosis (side-to-side curvature of the spine), one flat foot, and other minor body imbalances. I have been diagnosed (including x-rays) and have undergone a few months of physical therapy (including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to prevent and treat my back pain. I have been dealing with it on my own for many years.

My chronic condition is a dull throbbing, which I've largely learned to ignore and only causes a mild discomfort. However, if my back is aggravated by any number of causes, often as simple as sitting or standing, the baseline pain level climbs and the throbbing is punctuated by sharper pain spikes and infrequent, stabbing spasms. My back is chronically tense and tight—to the point that it hurts to stretch, and I have low sensitivity in the muscles and partial numbness in the skin of my lower back.

Which is all to say: I am not a medical professional. My back pain is an individual condition with unique causes. However, I have a fair bit of experience for dealing with chronic lower back pain, and would like to offer some advice for preventing and treating it. Not all of this advice is correct or useful for everyone, but hopefully it can help someone. If I'm in any way unclear, feel free to ask questions! Back problems are painful and frustrating, and I would love to help others deal with theirs.

Prevention and Treatment: some suggestions. Long, but hopefully useful! )

It's possible that there are other methods for coping with lower back problems, and you are welcome to discuss them in the comments. Questions and clarifications are also welcome. However, I'll mention one last time: Pain is a private, personal matter. Each suffer's pain has different traits, causes, and symptoms; each sufferer has different methods of coping and curing. The information and advice here is the product of my personal struggle with back pain, and I hope that it's useful to someone. Pain is emotional, frustrating, self-perpetuating—and always difficult. I wish the best of luck who those who are wrestling with this beast.

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