Posted by: drrozkaplan | April 26, 2010

Back Out

My back is out.  Out where? Out to lunch? Out on a walk? Where is it?  Not sticking out.  It’s not like I have some strange lump that anyone can see, or even that it is out of ‘alignment’ in the chiropractic sense of the word.  It is just out of whack.

Patients will tell me they ‘put their back out.’  While I understand this generally to mean they have low back pain, often a strain or mechanical low back pain from some activity, I never quite understood the phrase the way I do now.  I was never a low back pain sufferer.  I never had a back injury, and as an avid Pilates fan (I’ve done Pilates for years and even have teacher certification- I take a class, a lesson or do some mat Pilates myself around 4 times a week) I have a very strong core, so I’m less likely than the average person to hurt my low back.  Still, I woke up yesterday morning in excruciating pain, and had to kind of roll out of bed.  Then I couldn’t quite stand up straight.  Sitting was worse.  Lying down wasn’t so good either. 

What caused this?  Oh, I knew.  It wasn’t sports.  It wasn’t heavy lifting, or any lifting, or really any activity at all.  It was THE DRESS AND THE SHOES.  I knew from the beginning they’d been a mistake.  Yet I couldn’t resist.

My husband and I had a black tie event to go to.  I had a nice enough dress to wear.  I don’t usually love going to formal events anyway, so I didn’t think much about it.  But I happened to mention it to my friend.  My gorgeous, blond, 5-foot-8, 35-year-old friend.  Who went running into her closet and came back with a killer, drop-dead, backless gown and told me I needed to wear it.  It was my size.  Just a couple inches too long.  But NO PROBLEM, because VERY HIGH heels would fix that. 

I wore the killer gown with killer heels.  It almost killed me.  My husband kept telling me to hike the very low neckline up all evening. I felt like I was pitching forward onto my toes.  Still, I managed to walk.  Even to dance.  But obviously, that was temporary. I made it through Saturday night.  But Sunday morning, my back was OUT. 

Driving with my daughter two hours to and from a college visit on Sunday could not have helped this situation.  I was loaded up with Aleve and adrenaline at that point, but when I got home, all I could do was lie flat on my heating pad.  My husband tried massaging it, but we couldn’t even find the spasm.

 Next time, I’m trusting my instinct to go with the nice-enough dress and skipping the stillettos.  Dare I say, I am getting too old for so much vanity?

I’m making myself stretch gently today.  All the literature on mechanical low back pain says it will resolve itself.  Unless there is radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness, in which case there may be a more serious issue. Immobilization is bad.  Heat and anti-inflammatory medicine (Ibuprofen or naproxen), if one can tolerate it, are good.  So I’m trying to do what I’d tell a patient to do.  And hoping that my back will decide to come back in soon.

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