Back pain slows me down


When you hurt your back, everyone, from your chiropractor to a casual acquaintance, asks you the same thing: What did you do?

And I have the same answer: I have no idea.

I am fortunate that I don’t have a “bad back,” where I am in constant pain. I have a couple of friends with chronic back pain and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Instead, I have a back that periodically acts up. I sleep on the wrong angle, lift something incorrectly, or just reach the wrong way, and my back muscles will yell at me.

Earlier this month, mere days before my birthday and the Thanksgiving long weekend, I did one, or all of the above, and my back didn’t like it. It began on a Tuesday afternoon, and by the Wednesday morning, I couldn’t put on my shoes. Mary had to help me put on my socks and shoes for days as I struggled with the pain.

Walking led to back spasms. So too did standing for any length of time.

When I walked from my truck to my chiropractor’s front door, it seemed to take forever. The spasms forced me to bend over to straighten out the muscles, except if I bent all the way over, it would trigger another spasm.

What a mess.

Doc Steve hooked me up to current, applied ultrasound and adjusted my very stiff back.

Of course, he asked what I did. And I had no answer, other than, “I’m getting old,” as my 54th birthday loomed.

I’m slowly improving these days, but can’t do much around the house, or move much out and about. But each day, the pain seems to lessen and the mobility increases.

Regular trips to be zapped and cracked have certainly helped.

My evenings and weekends have been spent in a recliner, icing my back or just trying to let it heal.

That’s one thing about the aging process; it takes longer to heal.

This is my second-worst back injury in my life. The worst was in my late 20s. At least I know what caused it: a snowball fight.

I was having fun with a friend’s kids and just leaned over to scoop up more snow when I felt a snap or a twinge. Soon thereafter, I had to go to bed.

I spent the better part of five days staring at the ceiling in our bedroom, getting into the chiropractor for adjustments and returning home to lie out on my back.

The spasms then were merciless. The chiropractor found me on all fours on the floor of one of his examination rooms.

At least this time around, the pain is nowhere near as bad, and I only missed one day at the office.

Still, as the leaves begin to fall and the yard work piles up, I can only look out the window and watch.

I tried doing some dishes and cleaning a bathroom one afternoon, only to spend the rest of the day in pain.

If you see me wandering around, with one hand on my lower back, walking slowly and gingerly around, I’ll save you a question, as the answer is, “I am getting old.”


Taking time

One thing I could do with back pain was drive. My truck seat is quite comfy. So when our daughter had to go to London on the weekend, I offered to drive.

This is normally something Mary Beth does, as they listen to music they both like (most of what our kid Brenna listens to is not my idea of good music), and have fun.

This time, I wanted to spend some more time just hanging out with Brenna, so I said I’d drive.

Mary gave me a quizzical look, but immediately acquiesced to my request.

“She’s a really good DJ,” she said of Brenna. I just laughed, but did tell Brenna what her mom had said.

“Not for you!” was her reply.

Still, I let her plug into the auxiliary port for the truck and off we went.

Her tune selection wasn’t evil. She was kind enough to shuffle past some of the crappiest of crap in hip hop where the artist is extremely disrespectful to women and seems to just want to have sex and get high (OK, that’s something it seems the rock singers of the late 1960s and early 1970s wanted to do as well).

It was a good ride. We chatted about a variety of issues, from problems some friends are going through, to music, relationships, chemistry, you name it.

She’s a pretty darned good kid. It’s her taste in some music that I’m worried about the most. But she’s like me, a fan of music, and someone not addicted to having to listen to top-40 dirge all the time.

As a teen, I was an opposite. Chances are if it was popular music, I hated it. Brenna has a more open mind than I had (and have today when it comes to music). Good for her.

But my next trip in the truck involved an audio cleansing. I put on a Rory Gallagher CD and cranked it up. By the time I was through “A Million Miles Away” and “Walk on Hot Coals,” I was in my audio Zen place. Man, that dude could write lyrics and play his beat-up Fender Stratocaster.


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