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Ernie's House of Whoopass! February 01, 2011
February 01, 2011

Upper Back Pain > Lower Back Pain.

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous out. I'm talking mid 70's, quite sunny, slight breeze, not a cloud in the sky. It was the picturesque Florida winter day. Jealous? Don't be, because I spent the whole fucking thing inside, more miserable than I've ever been in my entire life, my body wracked with pain. And no, I was not partying with Charlie Sheen.

The fun started Saturday morning while started working on the weekend post, which was around 8am. By 9am I started to feel the first symptoms of a stiff neck; turning my head to the right was causing some pain and stiffness in the left side of my back, right between the shoulder blades. "Eh no big deal," I thought, "I just slept a little funny. It'll go away in an hour or so." Well by noon, I couldn't left my head up to look at my computer monitor. I actually had to lift my head with my hand. By early afternoon, I couldn't look either way or lift my head without some industrial grade discomfort. By 5pm I was downright miserable; pacing around the house in a cold sweat and trying to hold the only position that caused the least amount of pain -- arms crossed and head down. I made the mistake of laying down in bed once, and literally could not get back up without assistance. And even I was seething in pain between clenched teeth. By a quarter after five, I decide to pull the ripcord and head ot the urgent care clinic for some pain meds. The only thing we have around the house was a single vicodin left over from a kidney infection, and a big Costco bottle of ibuprofen. I had already taken the vic and five (1000mg) of ibuprofen and I was still in agony. What times does the urgent care clinic close? Ten minutes ago, at 5pm. Fuck me. Plus their message says they don't open until 11am the following morning.

Now I wasn't so hard up as to actually head to the emergency room, I decided I'd make do for the remainder of the evening with what I had on hand; which included a bottle of Makers Mark. Now I know what you're thinking: combining alcohol and ibuprofen is bad for your stomach. And guess what - I didn't fucking care. I'd have eaten rat shit if I thought it would have made my back scream less. As I'm writing this, I just now remembered that Bianca has some pain pills left over from when we had a cyst removed last year; had I remember we had those, I'd have taken them too. It really was a sell-your-soul-to-the-devil moment. I was sweating and nauseous with pain.

And it's here I'd like to draw a distinction between upper and lower back pain. Besides the obvious difference in geography, of course. When you tweak something in your lower back, there are positions that you can lay in to alleviate the pain. It's only when you move that you feel that stab. So the 1-10 pain scale with lower back pain goes something like this -- (1... 1... 1... 1... 10... 1... 1...). As long as you don't do move, the inflamed muscles don't get used and the pain remains pretty tolerable. With upper back pain, you're fucked. Why? Because you have a fucking head, that's why. You don't realize it right now because nothing hurts, but you're using a lot of back muscles to hold your head up. So when you fuck up your upper back, there really isn't any way to rest those muscles, and thus the pain scale kind of goes like this -- (7... 7... 7... 8.. 9... 10... 7... 7...). Laying down lets your head fall backwards, compresses the inflamed muscles and hurts. Leaning forward stretched the inflamed muscles and hurts. Sitting up right makes those muscles work and hurts. There is no position that makes the hurt go away, only a position that hurts the least. There simply is no escape from it.

I spent Saturday night on the couch, trying to sleep upon a mountains of pillows stuffed under my back. I got maybe an hour, hour and a half of sleep, all thile counting down the hours until the urgent care clinic opened at 11am on Sunday morning. And with about 25-30 ibuprofen under my belt, I show up right at 10:55 so I'm the first one in line. Except I'm not. Because the clinic actually opened at 9am, and their after hours voicemail wasn't updated to reflect their new in-season hours. So blah-blah-blah, meet the doc, he pushes on my back and wrenches my head around causing me to threaten to skullfuck him to death. He diagnoses me with a muscle spasm and I get a prescription for muscle relaxers and steroids, and get told to drink lots of fluids. I would go on to spend the remainder of Sunday and all of Monday on the couch and as high as a motherfucking kite. This morning I am pleased to say that I feel considerably better. And still high, actually. A little stiffness and only moderate pain when looking from side to side. So believe me when I tell you, upper back pain is always greater than lower back pain, much like shotguns are always greater than field goal kickers. But so help me fucking God, if this ever happens again, I'm opting for the medically induced coma.

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As a film aficionado, you learn to keep your expectations to a minimum, because more often than not, the movie in question is never as good as you hoped. That doesn’t change the fact that there are still some movies that you want to see more than others, and as long as you don’t mind the possibility of disappointment, it’s okay to let your inner fanboy out every once in a while. This year certainly has plenty of movies to get excited about – at least, that’s what Hollywood is banking on with an upcoming slate that includes "Pirates of the Caribbean 4," "Cars 2," "Green Lantern," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Thor" – but there’s a lot more great stuff out there than just the usual summer tentpole films. To give you a better idea of what’s coming to theaters this year, I’ve assembled the most anticipated movies of 2011 with the hope that you might discover one or two titles to add to your own must-see list. Although I highly doubt that any of these films will top the most memorable movie sex scenes of all time.

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