Put Back Together (2015)

Five weeks ago I was hitting it hard with my workouts. High mile bike rides, consecutive long runs, and I attended a summer evening pick up soccer kick-off (no pun intended). The two-hour fun-filled night shooting goals, smelling the grass and navigating around the field was a blast. Then bam, suddenly the well-known radiating pain in my lower back was settling in and not leaving. I couldn’t help but start hearing Britney Spears in my head, “Oops I did it again.” The back was back, and my mind immediately jumped to my summer fitness goals of finish lines and record-breaking courses that was about to be crushed, but not if I acted quickly. I wanted a diagnosis fast and I was determined not to waste any time.

Getting an appointment with an orthopedic can take weeks, however I found a little gem, Orthopedic Associates of Hartford walk-in clinic. I was able to pop in to the Glastonbury office the next day, get an x-ray, diagnosis and authorization for PT (physical therapy) to start four days post injury. Score! Parents take note this walk-in is a great option for those unexpected broken bones with the kids.

The diagnosis was spondylolisthesis. Apparently I have had degenerative area of my lower back since I was three or four! What!!! The “slips” can occur in really active people, and I was told I should plan on mine happening once a year. I am being punished for being active! Actually the doctor explained this a very common condition. So, is anyone else feeling my pain?

My employer has Select Physical Therapy on-site, and Lindsay is my go to girl! When I let her know my back injury happened, she was ready to put humpty dumpty back together again. My experience has been stellar, no surprise, she really is the best! Twice a week I throw on some sneaks, make sure not to wear a skirt, and squeeze in an hour of stretching, strengthening, and endure Lindsay relentlessly kneading my a_ _. Yes that’s right my a_ _, and of course my back. The right part of my butt/hip is reacting to the slip and is tightened up like a clenched fist. It’s hilarious actually, while I am surrounded by other co-workers working on their injuries they have a front row seat to view me getting a butt massage! Um kind of awkward!

The end of each session always closes with me chatting to Lindsay and it goes a little something like this: When can I run? Not yet couple weeks. When can I run? Not yet maybe next week. When can I run? You get the point. Patience! I have had to practice a lot, and be very smart about not wrecking all my hard work being put back together. Some other lessons learned during this experience rebuilding the back:

  • Get a Diagnosis – Re-occurring injury, get to the bottom of it (I waited years).
    Orthopedic Associates of Hartford Walk-In – Great fast alternative (Farmington and Glastonbury offices).
  • PT Patience – Before you wreck yourself, check yourself.
  • Ergonomics Plays a Big Role – The cause of most of my back pain is from sitting at my desk. I had a nurse on-site evaluate everything! My chair was like a bucking bronco with hidden levers I had no idea existed, and mine was adjusted all wrong. Also try to see if you can get a sit- stand desk.
  • Stretch Strength Repeat – Time is limited, but the 15-20 pre and post stretch and strength sessions a few times a week are key to preventing a slip.

I am determined to get at least one big race in before the season is over, with Lindsay’s blessing of course, and am hopeful I can defy the odds of a once a year slip.

How are you managing an injury? Perhaps you have spondilolysis too! Tell me how it’s going and what is working for you.

June 2015

 

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