June 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Wisconsin: The Spine of Politics

Photo of the interior the Wisconsin State Capital in Madison Courtesy of Wah-Kai NgaiI’ve gotten a lot of advice about my bad back over the years as I moaned and walked like Mr. McGoo of cartoons long ago. The tips ranged rom wise to absurd but all included sleeping on a supportive surface.   Thus, I have a firm mattress and manageable pain in my back. 

But what about the backs of those protesting in Madison, Wisconsin.  Forget about that state’s budget woes or the paradigm shifting fight that state’s public union workers and politicians are waging… what it’s like to sleep on the floor of an historical landmark?  How are the protestor’s spines holding up when they must supine on a marble floor?  

“Generally speaking, the best physical environment during sleep, will allow the spine to be in a neutral position regardless of sleep position.  By neutral position I mean normal lumbar curve (lordosis),” says Arya Nick Shamie, MD Associate, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurosurgery Director, Spinal Deformity Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA whose title is as long as his quote but don’t worry, I wont site it with each of his quotations.   Can this be achieved on the aforementioned Grecian marble floor of a building completed in 1917?  Doubtful; do any of those protestors look like they’ve had a restful night sleep when interviewed on television? Nope — and their aching’ backs are likely a cause.

“There are several drawbacks sleeping on a floor; the normal curvature of the spine is not supported and maintained which may, in the long term (years), lead to more rapid degeneration of the discs in the spine. Secondly, the pelvis and the shoulders, being the most prominent pressure points, will bear the brunt of the surface and thus floor sleepers may wake up feeling bruised,” warns Dr. Shamie.

Thus another reason for the stalemate to end by either a. getting Democrats back to the jobs they’re paid to do or b. getting Governor Walker to cede on the collective bargaining point since the unions have agreed his fiscal cuts; the public sector workers may literally break their backs.  And budget wrangling aside, this may cost Wisconsin taxpayers more in medical treatments and possible disability payments to unionized state employees.

However, since brinksmanship seems to be the real victor here, Dr. Shamie has several suggestions  if the protestors plan to a. continue to stink up the capitol building or b. continue to exercise their constitutional rights (it’s all about perspective, but then again, isn’t it always); “use a thick sleeping bag to help cushion your pressure points and pillows to cushion and support the parts of the body not in contact with the floor including a neck pillow to keep the neck in a neutral position,” advices Shamie.

Regardless of the political outcome it looks like Governor Scott Walker will break the backs of the public sector unions literally if not metaphorically.

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