He said he may need surgery on his back. Never good news for an extreme athlete.
When he continued to tell me it had been suggested as a solution for sciatic pain, I thought a) that sounds over the top and b) I can probably help.
We met up for a chat at a Caffe Nero on Piccadilly, as it had been a while since we'd seen each other, Jason Auld, Street Unicyclist Extraordinaire and member of Voodoo Unicycles, and I; friends for a good few years.
Our friendly catch-up moved through topics to this pain he had been enduring with for quite some time. Unperturbed by the inappropriate environment, we decided to have a play around to see if Jason could resolve whatever he was doing that was responsible for his pain.
He shifted his weight around while sat on his seat. He moved his arms and head around when I asked. At points, he stood up to do similar, all the while paying keen attention to HOW he was doing these things.
After 10 or so minutes of such play, he tested some of the movements he'd initially had pain doing. They seemed easier and I assured him that given a little time and some further play, he could make them easier and more comfortable still.
After our play around in that coffee shop, Jason got much better. Better to the point where he could ditch all the painkillers he was taking. Better to the point where surgery wasn't a worry. Better to the point where he could just concentrate on enjoying his sport again. The little we've done since that day has been around improving his sports performance rather than rehabbing a sports injury. Here's what Jason has to say about our work together:
"Float Sting is truly redefining the age old maxim of "Give a man a fish..."
Most movement specialists aim to correct the problem you approach them with, promising to be at your service when one encounters the next inevitable bump in the road, Arton offers only one solution, he will teach you how to fish.
My friendly, comfortable and concise sessions with Arton have not consisted of back-breaking and pseudo scientific exercises, they've been a true education, aimed at not only improving my performance by rectifying my wrongs but by providing me with a format and framework to consistently move better in my daily life. He's created a state of mind which has increased my awareness of my body in my chosen sport but also when sitting on a bus or standing watching a gig, as these are often the innocent scenarios that reinforce negative patterns.
For over a year I suffered from debilitating sciatica, waking every morning to a cocktail of painkillers just to tie my shoe laces. Float Sting provided me with the ability to help myself live a pain free life and optimised my performance, allowing me to continue to progress as a full time extreme sports athlete."
Sciatica, in all my experience with people who have it, in not a thing. Sciatica is a word that describes pain in an area and that pain is created by unconscious movement habits. Change those habits with a bit of attention and non-habitual movement and pain can be quickly replaced by comfort.
If you've been suffering from such pain through your lower back and leg, the odds are you can help yourself in a similar way too. You may even be able to get back to having fun like this!
Arton "Apparently teaching men to fish" Baleci
Float Sting - Sports Injury Rehab and Performance, Harley Street, London W1