Things That Set You Back: Dealing With Injuries

On a weight-loss journey, many things cross your path that throw you off course. Many of those things you have control of. Some things you don’t. One those things happened to cross my particular path.

About three weeks ago, I started to feel a sharp pain on my lower back. At first I thought it was a result of increasing the intensity of my workouts but after a while, I noticed it wasn’t going away. It started as what seemed to me, a pinched nerve. (I don’t know if it really was a pinched nerve but that’s how it “felt” to me) The pain would start at my lower back and go down my left buttocks. Al little research on the subject popped up that those were symptoms of psyatic nerve pain so I went to the doctor who told me to get some X-Rays taken. During the time between that visit and the follow up visit after the X-Rays, the pain evolved to what felt to me like a muscular spasm. It began very strongly and went away over some days. After seeing the X-Rays, the doctor told me I had mild osteoarthritis, a very common condition and that it was normal. He basically told me I was getting old. (I’m 32 so come on! I’m not THAT old) Suffice it to say, I did not take that well at all.

First, it didn’t feel like arthritis to me. Granted, I don’t know what arthritis feels like but osteoarthritis is the erosion of cartilege in your joints which should should(I think) give you the sensation of pain in and around your affected bones. In my case the lower back. It doesn’t feel like that at all. Second, what’s with this getting old crap??!! Third, He didn’t give me any solution to the problem. I realize that arthritis doesn’t really have cure and it’s degenerative but what about exercise? Can  I still do it? What kind of execise can I do then? How can ease the pain in the long term? I don’t want live off pain medication to continue exercising. The doctor’s answer was: “It’s gonna come and go, so exercise when you can. If you feel pain, stop.” Yeah. That made me feel better.

Truth be told, the Dr. is not a specialist so I shouldn’t expect him to be an expert on this but the problem is, he really bummed me out. A couple of days after seeing him, the pain was gone like he said it would so the very next morning I woke up and exercised. Three hours later, my back had tighten up to the point were sitting down was extremely painful. That was over a week ago. I’m still in pain to this day. THis was extremely depressing. After losing all this weight, I wasn’t going to be able to finish? That feeling better than I had in years would mean I couldn’t be active now that I was beggining to be able to do so many things? I still have more than half the weight to lose. Without exercise it would very hard to continue. And what about my black belt? The one goal I wanted to reach so badly. Could I still do Martial Arts? I needed a second opinion.

I set up an appointment with Sports Medicine specialist. The one doctor I never thought I have to visit. After all, my main concerns about this were about exercising so who better to answer my questions. I showed him my X-Rays and told him the whole story. Right off the bat, he told my problem was not the arthritis. It was too mild a case to immobilize a person so severely. The problem turned out to be the bottom-most disc in my back. the space between that disc and the next one is too close. It’s called compression. Not a good thing apprently. It seems the compression of the discs is causing instability in my lower back which the body tries to stabilize by using the muscles in the surrounding area and creates a spasm. THAT is what’s causing the pain and the stiffness. Problem identified. But it gets better. The condition is completely treatable.

The doctor told me I needed to solve this in two stages: First treat and get rid of the spasm with medication and therapy. He gave anti-inflamatory medication and a muscle relaxant to take before I go to sleep. After I finish writing this I will go to my first therapy session. Second stage is strengthening the lower back to avoid future spasms with more therapy. The great thing about all this is that even though I have to take it easy for a while, I will probably be able to continue doing Turbo Jam and Martial Arts without any major problems. For the first time in several weeks, I’m feeling much better and at ease.

They say all things happen for a reason and this is no exception. Although I got a bit depressed and was pretty worried for a ttime there, I learned a few very positive things about where I’m at as a person trying to change his lifestyle. First, I found out just how important exercise has become to me. The prospect of having to stop really got me down which means it has developed into a habit. A good one for a change. Second, that first visit to the doctor, despite being so depressing wasn’t all bad. He told me to get some blood work done and the results were great. Everything normal across the board. My cholesterol is 120. Very low for someone my size and weight. I don’t know what it was before I started to lose weight but that is certainly very good news.

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2 Responses to “Things That Set You Back: Dealing With Injuries”

  1. great information in this post! Thanks for sharing =) cheers!

  2. af3gyr Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

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