I may have jinxed myself with this recent injury. Last weekend I was trying to think of a topic for my blog, I like to write about a personal experience and somehow tie it into health and chiropractic care, but I couldn’t come up with any idea. Do I write about the beach, triathlons, my family? Nothing seemed interesting enough. I was sitting in a seminar for the weekend, which was 12 hours of continuing education including two hours in the car. I got home Sunday afternoon and promptly sat on my indoor bike doing a short ride, standing up every now and then. At one point when I stood up, I felt a ping in my low back. Hmm, it caught my attention but wasn’t anything major. When finished, I walked upstairs & felt another sharp pain in my low back, so I sat down on the floor to stretch which normally is a good idea, but my body did not like that. My back seized up. It hurt to move.
I crawled around and had to pull myself up. I KNOW some of you know how I felt. It was pretty miserable. Since I didn’t really “do” anything, I knew it was from sitting for two days. My body is not use to that. I’m use to moving around, on my feet. I knew better, I should have stood more during the seminar, should have got up and moved around. I just wasn’t thinking.
The last time my back seized up this bad was six years ago. I’ve had minor incidences since then, but nothing like this. Normally my back hurts for a few hours, I stretch it out and I’m better. But I knew this was a bad one. So, I iced my back, stretched, and prayed that it would be fine by Monday morning.
When I woke up Monday morning and had to pull myself to roll over and almost fell out of bed, I wondered how I’d get through the day. This was not a good one. This was the classic “throwing my back out” from doing pretty much nothing. It was all that sitting that got to me. Fortunately, I have a great intern in the office (Maggie), so I trusted her to take care of people. I simply could not bend. It was not worth trying and making it worse. I could adjust little kids and babies as that didn’t require sitting or bending, and I could adjust necks (thank goodness for those elevation tables of mine!). But that was it. I knew that if I took care of myself, I’d be better within a few days. I got a light adjustment (meaning no drop table) and that helped as well.
On Tuesday morning I got up a went for a 1-mile walk on the treadmill, nice and steady. And it hurt, but I KNEW I had to move. Getting my body moving and stretching out helped a lot, as my back loosened up a bit and felt a little better. I got adjusted again as well and of course that helped. Maggie continued to adjust most people that day as my back was still a bit a sore and sudden movement hurt. On Wednesday I got up and went on a short, easy swim and then sat in the hot tub to stretch. Again, I KNEW I had to move in order for my back to feel better. And it did. I was able to work all day with some pain, but not much. And now it is Thursday and I’m back to 100%.
If you’ve read this far, then hopefully you have learned that movement is key. If your back hurts, staying still is often the worst thing you can do. Move, stretch, ice, get a light adjustment. Those are my keys to getting better. I didn’t do the normal hard workouts that I typically do, I did a short one-mile easy walk and a 20-minute swim. I got my body moving and I stretched and iced. That was so helpful.
I got a few laughs from patients who think it is funny that a chiropractor can hurt their back … but it does happen. We are human. Things happen. I’m usually more embarrassed (or mad) when I get sick since I think the adjustments help me stay healthy, so when I’m sick it’s usually because I haven’t been adjusted or have been stressed out or eating poorly. But those things happen too, every now and then. I’ve always said that chiropractic care is not about correcting pain, it’s about correcting subluxations so your body functions better and heals up. When the nervous system is working better, you can adapt and heal properly.
I need to remind myself to NOT sit for so long, and for those of you who sit all day at work I really don’t know how you do it. Get up and move. Get adjusted. Stretch. Those are my keys and I’m sure they will help you too.