When you combine stubbornness with improper form it can lead to an injury. Ten days ago I was moving an area rug to a different room. This required removing all the furniture since the rug left only a foot of floor around all edges. I was getting impatient when I got to the filing cabinets and tried to lift them (while still full) and slide the rug underneath. In order to slide the rug while lifting I had to stand far away from the cabinet thus putting way too much strain on my back. Needless to say this wasn’t a good idea.
I did get smarter with the second filing cabinet and asked my son to slide the carpet while I lifted, but the damage had been done. Although, I didn’t know this right away. I still felt fine for the next few hours and continued my weekend chores. I cut the grass, worked in the garden, then I started moving some stones from the stream bed to the stream bank. Within minutes I was getting nauseated and felt pain in my mid back, I had done way too much.
At this point what would a chiropractor do to “fix” their injured spine?
- Did I take an anti-inflammatory?
- Did I ice the area?
- Did I put heat on the area?
- Did I use Arnica?
- Did I have the area of pain adjusted?
Before I answer those questions, it should be known that this wasn’t the first time I’ve injured this area of my spine, although it had been many years since it had bothered me.
This area of my spine was painful a couple times of year in my mid twenties, then about 10 years ago after being in practice for a few years I noticed my spine was sore after a full day of work. I realized I had poor mechanics when working with people, and my body had become weak from a lack of exercise. I had no interest in a temporary fix from a pain reliever just so I could re-injure myself again from using the same poor mechanics with a weak core.
As I was writing this I saw this post from Donald Epstein, which explains what I was thinking ten years ago, and what I was also thinking this past week.
Each moment the question is the same..Do I wish to go BACK to my familiar life and be restored, or do I choose to go beyond anything before?
I noticed a pattern in my life and took steps to make my body stronger than it ever was. I started doing Pilates exercises and increased the frequency of my workouts. About this time I started attending J’s Gym, the first time in my life I consistently went to any gym, previously choosing to workout on my bike.
After a few months my back wasn’t an issue anymore and I was fit for the first time in my life. I didn’t have to protect my spine by limiting anything I did for fear of being in pain. I felt powerful in knowing I had changed my body and changed a harmful pattern of movement.
Now back to the present. Today I did my first full workout at the gym, everything feels great even after having a relapse over the weekend, here is what I did to “fix” myself:
I lived my life as normal as possible, I went to work, I tried to keep mobile, which included some indoor cycling and walking. My spinal care consisted of one Network Spinal Analysis entrainment more than usual (my usual is once a week). I wasn’t comfortable enough to do my twice a week yoga routine so I skipped this until yesterday. I also added this Egoscue Exercise to my normal routine, which I did for 10 minutes a day. (The Egoscue Exercises I have been doing for over 10 years, but had been skipping it lately).
A couple of days of the last week it was difficult to do anything because of the discomfort, so I rested much more than usual and did some reading, but I know with the way I train my body I would be able to recover quickly. I also knew I wouldn’t need any extra help, this included pain relievers, ice/heat, gels, or manipulation of the “stuck” area. I had full confidence in my bodies’ ability to self regulate it’s own tension, and I also knew the pain was protection, the pain prevented me from doing too much. I didn’t want to artificially “feel better” until the tissues, muscles, tendons and ligaments actually were better.
I know this isn’t the path most people take, even most chiropractors, but it is the one that works for me. I know I am listening to my bodies’ cues. I am not ingesting anything that is harmful to my body or dulling my senses. Ultimately I come out of the process more inspired with how my body heals.