Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fallng Apart

Quite literally. My body is failing me, after several decades of good service. The lower back pain I was dealing with late summer is an ongoing saga. I've been going to physical therapy regularly, and while I've learned some ways to ease the pain, I've also figured out that it is a disc issue and it is aggravated by certain kinds of exercise. My favorite kinds of exercise.

I was basically told by the PT last week not to do the following for a few weeks: high impact workouts, running more than 20-30 minutes, and exercising in the morning (when the disc is swollen and more prone to injury). Other exercise is on probation---I can try out a weight training or barre class, an evening run, etc... and see how I feel after ( I have pain running down my leg or not).

OK. So I decided this weekend would be the perfect test...I had to be at work pretty early, so I planned to run 3-ish miles (which took me about 25 minutes last week) after I got home. Then on Friday my right knee was achy. It got achier throughout the evening and I realized it was swollen. I have NO IDEA what happened but it still hurts. No running. No barre. No squats.

I have to do these back extension exercises multiple times daily which are basically like triceps pushups. Doing them one morning at 5:30, I felt a twinge in my shoulder. The twinge intensified and now I have a sore shoulder on top of everything else.

I HATE not being to exercise in the morning. A morning workout leaves me feeling amazing. Motivated, energized, ready to tackle the day. I want to do what I can to prevent anything from worsening (the PT said the next stop is the spine surgery center for imaging and possible steroid injections and...ugh) so I will follow instructions. But I hate it. 


  1. So sorry. I've had chronic back pain ever since I trained for a half marathon 12 years ago, and it sucks. I've actually given up on running because I don't seem to be able to do it without the back pain (and foot pain and knee pain). Hopefully you'll find a better solution!

  2. Ugh, that sucks :-( Would swimming, rowing, or riding a bike (either actual one or stationary,especially a recumbent one to be easier on your back) be options?

  3. Oh no! I am terrified of the eventual moment when I hurt myself and have to totally revamp my exercise regimen. Chronic pain can require a total change in how we live, and that is hard to do. I know it will happen to me at some point, and I know I won't handle it well.

    I hope you can find an exercise that makes you feel good without hurting.

  4. I was just with a bunch of economists who were talking about this over lunch (the link between exercise, mortality, and chronic pain)-- one of them, a younger guy, said he'd ruined his knees training for the Boston Marathon, but his wife had no problems and did marathons all the time.

    It seems really unfair that you're being so good about exercise and then your body isn't allowing you to do the kind you like.

    Good luck!

  5. Well, the steroid injections may calm things down so you can get back to your life sooner, but I get why you'd prefer not to go down that road. Back pain sucks so much! You will get better eventually it just takes freaking forever.

    I had radicular back pain for most of my 20s when I was training for triathlons and swimming a lot. Interestingly, as I've become less active, the pain has improved (sacrilege, I know). If I stick to running less than 3 miles, yoga, swimming <1000 yards, pilates, walking, that sort of thing, it stays at bay. Sitting is THE WORST THING EVER for it, and in a way, I am so happy a picked anesthesiology as my specialty because it minimizes the amount of time I have to do that, even if it is physically exhausting at times.

    1. This is exactly what I have. Sitting is the worst for it, though it helps sitting properly with support, and taking frequent breaks. I have no desire to even run more than 3 miles! I want to do 30-45 minute workouts 4 days a week, no major athletics. I think I'll stick to walking for now (yoga & pilates moves both really exacerbate it right now, but hopefully once the acute injury heals I can go back to that)