Elbows are useful little joints. They bend up and down and also out and back across the body. They can be used to reach out to take something, or pull in and retrieve something. They can help with jostling in thick crowds or to support a kindly wave overhead.
Today I found another use for the elbow. To dig into one's back and cause force a stubborn back muscle to try to soften.
Many of my co-clinicians have been given massages by one of the physios. and I enviously at them lying on the ground while I puffed away at one of my exercises. This afternoon was my turn and I eagerly lay down and rested my head on my hands.
At the start it felt wonderful, skilled hands kneading and stretching my tight back muscles. Apparently there is an exercise I haven't learned yet because my back is too inflexible. This hurt a little to hear as I thought myself fairly open minded and flexible. I had to tell myself that an inflexibility of the muscle is not the same thing and I must not take it to heart. Besides, I had never actually seen any of my back muscles so had never had to take them to task for not being more relaxed about the state of affairs.
It wasn't long before my reverie was interrupted with a healthy elbow suddenly directed into the middle of my back where it ranged freely as far as it could go, which might not be as far as it was wont to or able to in other backs, but it felt quite far enough in mine. I tried to breathe my way through the intensity (i.e., the pain!) knowing it was exactly the kind of talking to a willful muscle needed, but ye gods it was excruciating! I was asked more than once if I was all right and I grunted a breathy "it's fine" in between spasms of elbow dance moves being performed on my flesh.
At the end I was told to sit up carefully as I will feel a bit woozy and beaten up. I did so dutifully and was a bit embarrassed to find myself looking enviously at the others who sat or lay or stood in their stretches calmly breathing through back muscles that could work at Cirque de Soleil or the United Nations they were so flexible!