Today I scheduled an emergency visit to the massage therapist because my legs have been aching like crazy for ten days and I finally couldn’t take it another minute. Both legs were achy, antsy, irritable and whiny. I marched them on over to the Elgin Street Massage Therapy Clinic.
“So,” said Kim, “What’s up?”
I launched into a litany of complaints about my legs, but refrained from talking about them like they were badly behaved children. I showed her where they hurt.
“Aha!” said Kim, “Ilio-tibial band.”
I’ve been getting this chronic leg achiness for at least 15 years. It comes and goes. It lasts a few weeks at a time. It demands to be rubbed, but I can never rub hard enough, and the relief only lasts for as long as the rubbing lasts.
And now, suddenly, all that chronic achiness has a name. It is not just achy legs. It has a name! I am inordinately delighted.
I’d heard of ilio-tibial band syndrome, or ITBS, from my running days. It’s a pernicious little syndrome, one that’s difficult to get rid of. If you have to have a running disorder, it isn’t the one you want. On the other hand, if you’re no longer a runner, it’s kind of nice to have a disorder with such a respectable athletic pedigree.
My delight didn’t stop there. No-sir-ee. There was more delight where that came from!
“How long have you had this problem with your legs?” asked Kim.
“Well, about 10 days this time,” I said, “But off and on since I was in my 30s.”
The massage was excellent: therapeutic and pleasurable both.
Afterwards, she asked me how old I was, because when I had said “since I was in my 30s” it made it sound like that was a long time ago. I told her my age and she was very surprised. She said that my muscle strength and tone and the condition of my skin were all ten years younger than my chronological age! AND she said that I had obviously taken good care of myself all my life.
I was thrilled and she was on a roll, so I didn’t tell her about my misspent youth, the drug abuse, the alcohol, the 212,000 cigarettes I’d smoked, the dead cows I’d eaten, the cheap chocolate, the years of sloth.
I just took my ilio-tibial band syndrome and my bright shiny compliment, and stepped out into the sunny fall day on my well-massaged legs. I noticed I had a brand new spring in my step.