Saturday, July 16, 2011

Proper Form is Important - Or OUCH my aching back!

A few days ago I was at the end of a really good workout that included a 20 minute kettle ball routine. with only 15 seconds left in the final movement with the kettle ball I suddenly felt my back strain. The pain started at the waist and went to the mid thighs and it included every inch of space between - front and back.  It was an incredibly intense stabbing pain that immediately stopped the split second it took for me to change position. I could still feel the strain after I halted from using the kettle ball but it was not anywhere near as painful. The rest of the day it felt tender and I was careful of my movements. During the night pain woke me up every time I changed position in bed. The next two mornings I was able to walk/run 4.5 miles on the treadmill. There was no pain during the workout but it hurts like hell to lower into a sitting position and get up again. Today is my no-exercise day, which is good because and it hurt like heck walking around a few stores this afternoon. 
This was caused by my own poor form during that final part of the kettle ball routine. I wasn't holding in my abdomen and I did not take care of protect my back. It is a good (but painful) reminder of the importance of proper form all through a workout. In my case the workout was almost over and I got sloppy. I think I have learned this lesson. Hopefully the nerves will not remain inflamed and my back pain will let up soon. 

I have had this happen before, as often as every month, from various other activities, when I was much heavier. When I was morbidly obese I rested from a few days to 2 weeks, until the pain went away. I usually spent a great deal of time in a recliner because it was a position that got get the stress off my back. Once I lost the weight we got rid of the recliner. After I lost a couple of hundred pounds I found that the best thing to do when my back felt this way was to wear pants that are tight in the hips, buttocks and upper thighs. Tight fitting pants give support to all the redundant skin so the excess pull from my own skin on the affected muscles and nerves is diminished. This helps me to sit at my desk and work and walk around the house without being hunched over like the proverbial crooked man. For the past two days I have been wearing dresses because I forgot about the tight pants treatment. This shows me how long it has been since my back has been in pain. 

I am okay scaling back the intensity of my workouts until my back is better. I am grateful I can do small things so that I can remain functional. Most importantly I am grateful that I have no desire to eat with abandon. You have no idea how much ice cream I consumed while nursing my back on a recliner back in the days before I was keeping the pounds off. I do know this: ice cream never took away the pain in my back and it will not help me today. Neither will pizza, or Chinese take out, or freshly baked anything. 
My back will feel better soon because I am not adding to the problem with more inflammation, more pounds and more excuses.

Do you have any back recovery stories to share? Any natural remedies for the pain you want to pass along? Please share! 



Cenandra said...

Ah, you poor thing. I have had many back episodes in my life. My Physical Therapist had to get me back to position and I had to do certain exercises to get me stronger.

I haven't had an episode since losing my weight and lifting weights. I truly believe its the weight lifting and the abs workout that has held me together this long.

Feel better soon Jane!

Vickie said...

I have discs 'out' in my lower back. I am careful of my positioning in everything I do, every minute of every day. And I do a lot.

I take a lumbar support pillow with me everywhere I go (when I will be sitting for long periods of time - train, movie, car, etc).

I ditto the call for physical therapy training for anyone reading this who is plagued by chronic back pain. (like someone who feels they just have to live with chronic and there is nothing to be done short of surgery).

I spent 2 1/2 months with a physical therapist experienced with athletes (vs someone used to working with people on daily skills like on/off the toilet and in/out of cars).

She taught me to work out around/with my lower back. I now work at a higher level than I did before.

My workouts now - strengthen my core and stretch my hamstrings, which are the key factors in protecting my back.

My expectation is NO lower back pain all day, every day. (and kettle ball is one of the things I never do, asking for trouble).

And Jane, I so totally agree, one of the most important parts is to get off all the weight. this is a big part of successful weight loss and maintenance for me. My lower back, knees, asthma, migraines, GI system are all very happy and cause NO problems when I eat real foods, eat proportionally from food groups (carbs, fat, protein within total calories), and keep my weight LOW.

I like living with NO pain.

Vickie said...

I totally relate to only goofing up occassionally and having to baby back for a bit. Says a lot that you know exactly what you did and it doesn't happen very often!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,

Hope your back is feeling much better!

I really like how you stress that food is NOT the solution to helping someone 'get' well when they (or someone else) is injured, sick, etc. I really need to remember this!!

I think it's a great idea to support your back (skin) with those snug pants!! I'll remember that! They probably wouldn't be comfortable to work out in though? ;o)

I don't have any suggestions to help your back recovery, except REST, and a heating pad if that is comfortable for you.

Take care,

Heather :O)

Anonymous said...

What a great freaking idea to wear the tight around the back and hips pants.

I long to wear a dress without sweating between my legs. TMI? Ah well.

I DO have an idea of how much ice cream and freshly baked this and thats you probably ate.

I have scoliosis and highly annoying trouble with my psoas and lower back problems from having no ab strength... I could pull a muscle unloading the dishwasher! Embarrassing. But I am getting better. And I stretch. And I power through it. But I HAVE reclined. A LOT.

Feel better my friend.

Julie said...

Hi Munchberry - totally get you on the between the legs sweating thing - couldn't measure the baby powder I used .... One of the things I love most about being at a lower weight is that I don't wear out the inside seam on pants before everything else ... maybe TMI for some but believe me it is a miracle in my life :)

Jane Cartelli said...

Sheri - I normally am obsessive about keeping the abs tight. What a sloppy mistake I made! I need to stop wearing my loose undies to work out!

Vicki - The pain has moved to the left side and hip now, which is not better but it not worse. I have re-discovered my tighter spandex underwear - it helps. Thank you for sharing your story. It helps.

Anonymous - For working out I have spandex pants to hold me in and central AC to make the heat bearable. I am using heat and I also use the generic Ben gay products. They help.

Munch - I have scoliosis, too! Guess what - it didn't stop me from losing the weight and I will not let it stop me from keeping the pounds off. For today I realize I have to keep my work outs simple and light until my back is . All that is important is that I keep moving at all.

Julie - Where would we be without powder for our thighs? Have you ever heard the comedian John Pinette? His Feed me I'm Starving stand up skits are hysterical. He does one on Gold Bond powder.