Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Achilles Back

There are certain parts of me I wish I could transplant. Not really the usual "body image" kinds of things like my gut, but parts that occasionally cause me significant pain and discomfort. There are:

  • The inner areas of my knees that generate sharp pains from "partially torn ligaments"
  • Headaches that largely seem allergy related
  • My right shoulder which always seems to be biting down on the tendons that run over the top of it.
  • My big left toe which seems to have some calcification and is leftover from football
  • My neck that gets stiff when I sleep on it wrong 

  • My back.
I remember first "tweaking" my back doing squats in high school. Lifting much like the #TBT I showed off previously.  That resulted in nerve pain sharply traversing up and down me, but was mainly centered in my lumbar region. In all honesty I don't think that pain ever really left me. Every day I feel it in one form or another, particularly down my right leg and into my foot. It feels like something should be able to stretch and or pop and the pain would go away. That would be fooling myself. I've tried massages, stretching, cracking, etc. It really seems to be more of an inflamation issue, a chronic sciatica. Pummeling only facilitates inflamation. Fortuntately, ibuprofin helps a small amount as does icing.

The worst I ever hurt my back though was putting my son into his carseat as a borderline toddler. The seat was in the rear middle of my Ford Taurus. I remember reaching in and actually feeling the stretch and pull of my Latissimus Dorsi. The weird part about this injury was that when I was "warmed up" and on my feet working and being active I felt fine. However, when I slept or gave it a chance to cool I could not get up. I remember crawling and trying so hard to get moving to nearly no avail. Physical therapy helped some and I still use many of the stretching and strengthening techniques I learned there.

I have found that most of the time I just need to be cautious. Don't over-exert. There's no need to. Stretch often and try to avoid situations where I bend at the hip without support. Ice and ibuprofin if it acts up.

Last night it acted up. Probably from a combination of helping my dad move his boat into "winter storage position", i.e. flipped over on the trailer on the side of their house, and a solid back workout the next day that involved lots exercise, but also lots of stretching.

I knew I was in for it when I laid down last night and something didn't feel right. I soon feel asleep though only to be awoken at the peak of pain around 2 a.m. The throbbing was excruciating. I wanted to get up, but I couldn't. I did some stretches in an attempt to limber and warm up. I needed ibuprofin. I needed ice. I needed to be put down like Old Yeller! Finally, in one deliberate motion I went for it and was on my feet. The nerve pain engulfed me and my whole core winced and then felt excessively warm and achy. Arriving at the kitchen and the bottle of generic analgesic the ferocity of the pain was enough to achieve the desire to vomit in the dish-filled sink.

I took 800 mg, something my athletic trainer called "zapping" with four pills every four hours and limped back to bed. There I fell asleep on my back. The pain of the journey had taken my energy and I don't remember beyond my head hitting the pillow and me clicking off of the light.

I awoke weary of my condition, but also noticed that the night journey may have helped some. I was actually able to move. It still hurt like holding a torch to my back, but I was able to get ready and go to work. Another dose of little matte maroon pills and I am actually negotiating the day better than I thought I would. Soon, I'll need another dose and to stretch.

As per the cycle this pain will settle down in a day or two and I'll be ready for the next thing.  This does make me wonder. I'm only 38 now, what will 50, 60, 70 and 80 look like from a pain standpoint. It's hard to see that far ahead, I still want to think I can play full-contact sports, run races, power lift hundreds of pounds, but where would a couple marathons or a hockey or football league leave my knees and my back?

Fitness and staying healthy is a one-day-at-a-time ordeal. I will get better. I need to keep working, but it's important to consider staying healthy for the long run. Having the ability to be of service to family and friends. To be able to play catch with potential grand children of the future, etc.

But in the moment, my back hurts and I would trade it in if I could.

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