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You know it’s time for a rest day when…


…you need four ice packs. FOUR.

One for your foot, one for each knee, and now, one for your godforsaken lower BACK?

The lower back that has never hurt this much, even when you used to train heavily for a sport so demanding on this part of the body that half your teammates were heavily medicated at all times in order to manage their herniated disks?

The Riveting Saga of Sweaty Kid’s Injury Whack-A-Mole continues…

(You know, Injury Whack-A-Mole! The game in which you manage to get one ache under control, only to find that another one pops up somewhere else. Just like the amusement park game, except you don’t win a creepy-looking stuffed animal at the end.)

In any case, that now-undetectable hamstring pain that cropped up mid-run a few weeks ago? That made sense. The knee pain? It’s tendonitis — no mysteries there. The foot pain? Fine. I get all of that. I understand all of those aches.

But this? This utterly debilitating back pain? This is completely out of left field.

It started without warning yesterday afternoon as I was going about my business. A mild aching, enough to make me pay attention. Simply to score injury prevention karma points with the universe, I iced it. I went to bed. I tossed and turned all night and it ached. I lay awake this morning and considered whether the elliptical, rowing machine, or stationary bike might be a decent course of action for loosening things up.

But as I struggled with basic tasks such as rolling over out of bed, picking my socks up off the floor, and sitting down on the toilet, it became blindingly clear that laying on the rug and crying would be the option least likely to cause additional damage.


I’ll make the 1.5 mile walk to work like usual in a little while and hopefully it will come to light that this is all a figment of my hypochondriacal imagination.

Suffice it to say, I’m struggling this winter. Maybe running as much as I did last week didn’t help. Maybe I’m imagining all of these aches. Maybe if I lost 20 pounds all the stress on my body would be decreased and I’d have fewer aches to navigate. Maybe if I keep this up I’ll wear out my knees by age 25 and spend the rest of my life feeling bitterly resentful any time someone runs past me as I hobble down the street. Maybe I have arthritis… everywhere. Maybe my SI joints are just a little wonky right now. Maybe this is still a matter of my body adjusting to the orthotics. Maybe I’m grossly overreacting and will wake up tomorrow feeling spritely as an elf.

Maybe I should just take up swimming from now on.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/31/2011 07:53

    Ooof, back pain is the worst. Would a little heat help it feel better? When I tripped (over nothing) and fell down my stairs a couple of years ago (shush), I bought out the local CVS’s supply of those stick-on icy-hot patch thingies. They were a godsend.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  2. 01/31/2011 09:04

    You poor gal! So sorry everything seems to be breaking down on your body lately. Back pain is seriously debilitating, and it seems espeically weird that yours just came out of nowhere.

    Lately I’m a captive audience for my chiropractor and massage therapist, but I’m also noticing that my back is feeling better and looser than it even did before my accident. Maybe something to consider?

    P.S. In spite of how crappy this situation is, you have an awesome way with words that makes even this post fun to read.

  3. 01/31/2011 09:32

    Sorry to hear about yet another injury. I agree with Shelby about the icy-hot patches. Chris is Mr. LowerBackPain and he swears by them.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  4. 01/31/2011 10:10

    i get intermittent back pain and it is terrible! i wish i had words of advice but i just deal with it by trying to minimize the pain. although i like shelbys suggestion of heat. i’ve tried it and it feels good, although i don’t think it really helped with the pain. good call on the rest day. i took one too *gasp* 😉

  5. 01/31/2011 14:27

    I’ve had intermittent problems with my back (scoliosis – well that’s ongoing but occasionally gives me problems, sciatica, weird cannot-be-explained-sh** which is probably due to improper form when lifting things) and I swear by heat, swimming, and yoga. Occasional physical therapy to tell me that I’m imbalanced and need to be doing more for my core, which I am finally heeding.

    I wish you much luck! And yes, the orthotics may be part of it.

  6. 01/31/2011 15:36

    “Injury Whack-a-Mole” … this needs to go into a runner’s dictionary of common terms!

    Feel better!

  7. 01/31/2011 16:13

    Ugh. I hope this is just a roving mole and will disappear as quickly as it popped up. But if not, I really find swimming helps my back – if that is an option. I can’t find much enthusiasm to jump in a pool in mid-winter, even an indoor “heated” pool.

  8. 01/31/2011 18:47

    Boo, sorry to hear you’re suffering with these assorted hurties. Hope this is the peak and that they’ll all start receding to nothing asap.

  9. 02/01/2011 02:02

    My general feeling is, once the injury reaches your back, you have received a personal email from the injury gods to lay off. The knee and foot stuff? That’s like a mass newsletter. But having tweaked my back in the past (thank you, trying to lift air conditioner), I know how much it can make your life pure living hell. And ooooooh I feel your pain. But it does not mean you will be crippled by 25 (which I can’t believe you aren’t, yet). I hope you heal up, friend.

    • 02/01/2011 20:34

      I laughed out loud at the personal email/mass newsletter bit. Thanks. =)

  10. 02/01/2011 10:24

    ouchie 😦 Last summer I got some lower back pain – mine was really easy to solve though, and this probably isn’t your problem, but I’ll say it just in case: get enough sleep! Mine only comes back if I pull too many nights of short rest.

  11. 02/01/2011 21:45

    No, swimming would be boring — following that black line in the same temperature year-round.

    I’ve had lower back pain (thankfully years ago). What works for me (as a prevention) is regimented daily stretching of that area. The latest news is that being too flexible isn’t good for distance runners, but I think that’s more for the legs/hips, not the back.

  12. 02/02/2011 12:33

    +1 to the suggestions for the icy-hot patches. they also make patches infused with ibuprofen. as a gal who has her fair share of backaches, i (literally) feel your pain. i just got some accupuncture and that helped too!

  13. 02/02/2011 18:36

    Does your hamstring still hurt? Because that might be causing the back pain.

    Since I”m playing catch-up: the “I’m too busy” excuse infuriates me! Also, I do want to see a food journal post. 😉

  14. 02/03/2011 04:53

    Just catching up.

    UGHHH Sorry! That blows. My husband has told me I need a full body ice pack. I am picturing a Hefty-size bag full of ice except with a zipper-opening instead of draw-string. Did I just invent something awesome? I THINK SO.

  15. kenny permalink
    02/03/2011 19:15

    mix it up, swim sounds good. though i feel all grandma-ish when i hear you talk of year 25 in the distant future. it will pass, i am sure. and everyone needs a rest day (or two)!


  1. Where will you be with your running in thirty years? « Sweaty Kid.

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