The temperatures have dropped in the last few weeks here in the UK, giving us brilliant conditions. However, although I don’t want to be negative, these temperatures have been too cold for me. I am a lucky climber in that I have pretty durable, strong, non-sweaty, non-splitting skin on my fingertips, thus meaning that I don’t always need the coldest of cold days to feel good friction. Having said this, I have been out and about on the rocks and have climbed some cool problems like Flatworld (7b+) at Baslow. I have also been up to sample some problems in Northumberland, spending a couple of days at Bowden Doors. I was really impressed with the area and am keen to go back to climb some more.

I have also been struggling a bit lately to train/climb as much as I would like due to a recurrent shoulder/neck problem – nerve pain down my arm with numbness, tingling and weakness. I have been seeing a Chiropractor (Matt Pigden at Element Chiropratic Clinic in Belper) and I was doing very well with recovery before Christmas, only to have a bad relapse in the last few weeks. Initially, when I first saw Matt, he tested out how my piercings may be affecting my neural system and found that removing my earlobe piercings and tongue piercing had a dramatic effect, instantly improving my performance on specific proprioceptive muscle tests. He also tested my nose piercing but back then it seemed not to be an issue. My shoulder/neck pain had settled down dramatically until this recent relapse. The sudden change for the worse didn’t seem to make sense so Matt retested my remaining nose stud and we found that all of a sudden it too was having an impact. Matt explained that previously it may not have shown up as the tongue piercing was the main stress on my nervous system but when that settled and when I increased my training it seemed it was stressing my system. The day before seeing Matt and removing this piercing I had struggled to climb an easy circuit at the Climbing Works because of the pain but the next day I was on the 45 degree board, feeling strong and pain free! Very interesting. I will never be getting a piercing again. Obviously there will be skeptics to these ideas, all I can say is that it has been an eye opening experience for me and all I can report are the results!