i don’t recognize u

another day, another post about my back.

the last time i hurt my back was late august of last year. i had been feeling pretty good after implementing some new treatment methods when i got cocky and lifted some heavy stuff with poor technique. my back felt a little weird after that but not too bad. after a day or two of taking it easy and still feeling not quite recovered, i was like ‘i need to get back to working out ASAP!’ and foolishly jumped into it quite hard. i felt a familiar ‘pop’ in my low back, and it didn’t hurt too bad at first, but over the next 30 minutes it gradually got worse. it became apparent i’d done something serious, and a few hours later i found myself unable to stand or lay down with my back straight. i had to bend forward and to one side. i knew i must have bulged a disc again. i was so mad at myself for being such a blockhead, for lifting heavy stuff prematurely, for rushing the recovery, for making multiple poor decisions and putting myself back at square one yet again: sore and immobile.

the worst part was jenn and i were supposed to leave on a 3-week road trip in 2 days. so those plans got put on hold while we waited to see how i recovered. amazingly, the bulge suddenly went back in after a day or two, and i could straighten up again. it was still very sore so i had to move slowly and avoid bending forward but at least we were able to go on our trip. i know spending 4 or 5 hours per day sitting in a truck is not the ideal treatment for a recovering back injury but fuck, that’s life. i didn’t want to tell my wife “we’re staying home” and cancel all our plans on my account. as it turned out, the road trip didn’t make much difference in that recovery. i didn’t notice it taking any longer than usual or any other setbacks.

it’s now been over 8 months since that last injury. this is the longest back injury-free period i’ve had in 6 years so that’s a big deal. what’s more remarkable though is that the last time i went almost 8 months without an injury, i was constantly in pain, weak, uncomfortable, and incredibly fragile, whereas i now feel the best i have in those 6 years. i’m looser and stronger. i’m able to be active like i haven’t been in years. i’ve even started running again. it feels great to have a functional body again.

obviously, i still need to be very careful so i’m mindful of how i move and lift things, and i do tons of exercising and stretching. i also go to massage every two or three weeks, and do self massage on foam rollers and whatever else feels good to lie on. it’s quite possible that back problems will continue to be an issue for me throughout the short remainder of my miserable life, that i will always need to be mindful about regular stretching and exercising, but that’s just fine by me. it beats the hell out of being scared to go to work or even get out of bed, being depressed and worried that i will always be in pain, that i will always be an invalid. the memory of how i felt when i last hurt my back is still crystal clear in my mind, and i hate it. i never want to feel like that again.

fear is an unpleasant thing but i find it to be an extremely effective motivator.


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