walkingwoundedI’m hurt.  Sidelined by sciatic pain that is aggravating (at best) and excruciating (at worst), I’m one of millions of people that have intermittent back pain.  Mostly, it’s fine and I never have to give it a thought.  I’ve strengthened my back over the years and I know that lifting while twisting,  without proper thought, is a big no-no.

This back pain originated when I was 22 with an injury — actually a series of them in the span of a week.  Injury one: walking on an icy sidewalk, arms loaded with files and — boom —  feet in the air, flat of my back, resulting in bruises (to body and pride) and low back pain.  Injury two: icy, snowy boots hit concrete staircase and away I went, except I caught the railing with my right hand, resulting in a cracked vertebra (from hitting the stairs) and torn muscles in my right mid and lower back (from catching myself).   Injury three: carrying a full basket of laundry into the basement and already injured and limping, I missed the third step and fell to the bottom, resulting in a level of back pain that was simply breathtaking.  The next day I left on a 14 hour road trip, exacerbating an already painful situation, and so began the next three decades of managing my back.

One of the worst re-injuries I’ve had was when I had to turn quickly to catch a sturdy 5-year-old who was headed backwards off a barstool as a result of his obsessive rocking on the legs.  Little brat cost me five days flat of my back, popping muscle relaxers and trying to find a comfortable position on the floor.  I’ve now discovered, the reverse crunch is another no-no for me.   Whoopsie.

So what can we do if we are hurting in one spot or another which, frankly, is bound to happen now and then?  Avoid your first inclination, which is to have a stiff drink and lay on the couch for the duration.  It won’t help your back and I say this from experience.  It may, however, significantly improve your attitude!

Knowing that going prone only makes matters worse, I did a little reading on the topic and found this great article (posted on our Facebook page, also) about Training Through Sports Injuries.  The article includees great ideas for workouts to do while you’re recovering from an injury.

Of course, the best thing to do is avoid injury, so you might want to follow the guidelines in Exercise Tips for Baby Boomers, which tells us what we already know but have a hard time understanding — we need to warm up, cool down, stretch, and not try to go full speed at everything we do!

While injured, some therapeutic interventions can be very helpful to the healing process, including chiropractic, acupuncture, and sports massage.  (Sounds good, right about now!)  Depending on the injury, you may need short term use of anti-inflammatory and painkiller meds, but make sure you take them with LOTS of water because they can be toxic to the system.  Of course there’s always ice and heat, which used properly can actually do an amazing job of getting your body back to normal.

For me, this was exactly the motivation I needed to get back to yoga, which is the best thing I’ve found for relieving and preventing back pain.  Stay tuned for a little namaste moment when I blog about returning to yoga after a four-year hiatus.  Oh dear …

Yours in fitness ~ Puff

Leave a Reply