Baby Got Concrete Back

Or, as Sir Mix-a-lot would say, “My chir-o-prac-tor don’t want none unless he cracks bones, hon!” And to Nathan, my Magnolia Seattle chiropractor, I’m probably the Mack Daddy or Swass of patients. You see, I visit a chiropractor and a physical therapist for various maladies, and both of them have pretty harsh things to say about my neck and back. In their words, working on my back is like “pressing down on concrete.” While a healthy back, muscles and joints should have a bit of spongy give to them, my back is as hard as Sharon Stone’s face in Catwoman (I apologize for the terrible movie reference). Both the chiro and the PT recommended I get massage therapy at least once a month to help loosen my tight muscles.

I’ve previously gotten three massages in my life. Here’s a brief drill down of each one:

Massage #1 was given to me by my triathlete coach’s massage therapist, Richard. She referred me to him after I was complaining of pain near my right shoulder blade. He’s a pleasant, calm Asian man who works out of his house. I spent an hour laying face-down listening to Jack Johnson while Richard worked on my shoulder (at one point, he took what felt like a running start and leaned all of his body weight onto my back, which I found pretty amusing). I liked Richard a lot but found him to be a bit out of my price range for regular visits.

Massage #2 was courtesy of a no-nonsense woman I tried out for a session. Her hands were brutally magical (I’m a fan of deep, hard massages to the point of being unbearable — the harder, the better) but she talked non-stop and complained about how expensive it is to travel nowadays. I don’t particularly care to have conversations with surly masseuses, so I ruled her out for subsequent visits.

Massage #3 was in Cancun, Mexico, after the Ironman Cancun 70.3 (I’ll write a separate post about that race soon). Jason and I booked a couple’s massage at our resort, and two Mexican masseuses poked and prodded at us for what was probably ninety minutes but seemed like an eternity. The whole ordeal was uncomfortable for both of us. Jason was uneasy because it was his first ever massage, and he was paranoid about virtually everything the woman did. When she rubbed some aromatic cream on her hands and stuck them under his nose, instructing him to “Breathe deep,” he wondered if he was going to get knocked out and wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing. Also, he put up a stink about having to get nekkid. I, meanwhile, had the pleasure of my masseuse giving me a long, grueling massage all over my horribly sunburned back (that deserves its own post as well), which felt more like I was being viciously tenderized for a lavish cannibal buffet.

I don’t particularly like getting massages, but since my doctors urged me to consider them for health purposes I booked an appointment with a massage therapy facility for Attempt #4. The massage was good timing since my back and neck had been bothering me recently and I had been having frustrating workouts. It also doesn’t help that I get paid to hunch in front of a computer all day. The fact that I don’t have a Quasimodo hump yet is astounding.

Anyway, I booked a massage at a new place in Capitol Hill. After filling out a rough approximation of my medical history, I met with a woman who looked vaguely like tailie Ana Lucia from Lost but wasn’t quite as surly scowly (sorry, Michelle Rodriguez). She was refreshingly non-hippie and kept pretty quiet for the entire hour, save for the occasional stomach gurgle (I bet she hadn’t eaten dinner yet). The massage was ok — I wish she would have abused me more, but she did do this one maneuver I dubbed the “attempt to rip my arm off at the shoulder blade,” and that felt pretty satisfying.

Since I don’t find massages relaxing, my mind couldn’t help but randomly wander for sixty minutes. Here’s a snippet of thoughts:

  • After noticing one of those flashing fire alarm lights directly above me on the ceiling, I suppressed a giggle at the thought of it going off, forcing a dozen naked massage patients to come running out of the building.
  • If I had to attribute the music to a particular movie score, I’d say it vacillated between crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Desperado, and any stupid scene where a couple runs at each other in slow motion (most likely in a field).
  • Every time the massage therapist yanked my arm up or adjusted something, I worriedly wondered if my boob was exposed.
  • I thought of how hilarious it’d be if, while the therapist was working on my neck, my head spontaneously fell off and landed on her feet.
  • When I was instructed to flip over, I stared at the therapist’s nondescript shoes and felt disappointed. She should really mix things up a bit and wear clown shoes or flippers as a joke (you know, to lighten the mood — she is kneading the skin of a naked person, after all).

Thus concluded my first massage in about four months. I’ll try to start getting them more regularly (doctors suggested once a month and, unsurprisingly, the massage therapist recommended once every couple weeks), since there’s nothing more relaxing than dropping trou and allowing a complete stranger to mildly molest you for an hour. (And you’ve got to tip them afterward. That’s pretty messed up.)

7 Responses to “ “Baby Got Concrete Back”

  1. Teresa says:

    your most hilarious post by far!!! I had to stop reading a gazillion times ….I think my abs will be sore tomorrow.

  2. Rebecca says:

    We’re even then, because my legs are noodles after Monday’s strength training workout!

  3. The best was when I was getting a massage from a new person and I was really sweaty (I am a sweater by nature). It wasn’t just the usual sweat out the armpits either, this was full on butt sweat and I am sure it looked like I wet the massage table. I never went back.

  4. Rebecca says:

    When I got my awkward Mexican massage, my back was burned to a crisp and I had chafe scabs forming right above my buttcrack from my water pack, so I’m convinced the masseuse thought I was some sort of diseased weirdo.

  5. Massage is bullshit. I can’t stand sitting there being touched up by some person. Most of them don’t even really know what they’re doing. Ugh. 😉

  6. Diego Gray says:

    i am often amazed by chiropractors who can sometimes treat me in a matter of hours*~.

  7. Poul says:

    This was one of the funniest blogs I have read in a while. It’s probably best you stick with your Chiropractor and get some serious soft tissue work when you need it!

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