Last Tuesday, everything changed, or so I thought at the time. No more tightness, no more ache, no more hesitating to stand up waiting to feel the knives shooting in my back. No more PAIN. Cortisone magic happened! I recognize now that I did not realize how much pain I had become accustomed to living with until it was no longer there. Every movement had been fraught with pain on some level, with the anticipation that any activity will be hindered by this pernicious ache. I still do not realize all of the ways my body had been attempting to compensate. The shot happened last Tuesday and I was instructed to engage in no strenuous activity for 48 hours. Then on Thursday, I took Spin Class at lunch, and ran that evening – 6 miles, nbd. I felt no pain while running, and just a bit of tightness afterwards, and strangely, some knee pain, which I have never experienced before. Compensation.
According to the MRI, I have minimal retrolisthesis of the L3 on L4 with a disc bulge and minimally centrally extruded disc components. Disc degeneration at L4-L5, slight extrusion.
All of these are described as mild, but when they are present together, and you add the amount of running I have been doing, they add up to a lot of pain. And for me, pain that was getting worse.
And because all of these problems are present together, my muscles were clenching around my spine in an attempt to protect it. I was trying all sorts of things that should have been helping – physical therapy (and all of those exercises), massage, pilates, yoga, acupuncture, inversion table, ad nauseum. And non of them were doing any good because my muscles were doing their job in protecting my spine.
So I ran 6 on Thursday, 9.6 (the River Run) on Saturday, spent an hour on the StairMill Sunday morning, ran about 12 Sunday afternoon, and 6 Monday evening. And I could feel it all coming back . . . . then, I got sick Monday night and haven’t run since. I think my body is protecting itself again. Today is Thursday and I am feeling like I will be well enough to run again by tomorrow. We’ll see.
My strategy from here is to continue doing:
And some running in there.
I think that maybe now that I am not in so much pain, my back muscles have relaxed enough o where all of these things I had been doing will actually help.
We’ll see about that, too.