Last month, at my regular visit, my chiropractor wrote me an order to go get a back x-ray. Since I’d started my regular adjustments when I was pregnant, she hadn’t been able to get an x-ray of my back — and since it was still bothering me so long after the pregnancy, she wanted to see what was going on with my spine.
So, I got x-rayed at a local medical center, and brought copies of the films to her a week later. Turns out, I’m a nearly-unique snowflake.
“When God made you,” Dr. Smith began (and I had to consciously keep from rolling my eyes), “He decided, ‘Let’s give her an extra lumbar vertebra!'” Yep, turns out I am one of the few percent of the population that has an L6 vertebra. Not only that, but this extra vertebra is slightly offset, which is what’s been causing my constant low-level lower back pain.
Her plan for me, she said, was to continue my monthly adjustments and to monitor my discomfort. If the pain were to become worse, she said, we could look at CT scans and steroid injections — but she’d rather avoid that sort of thing unless it’s necessary.
I thought this might be a good time to bring up my recent running regimen. Good thing I did: her immediate response was, “That’s the worst thing you can do.” I tried to feel her out — is this a permanent thing? — by telling her how much I’d grown to love running.
“Well, you’re going to un-love it,” was her reply.
I’d been running regularly with my bestie Sheryl for months! Through the winter and the spring, and into the sweltering summer. And now I had to quit cold-turkey?
Sheryl and I were both sad, but we adjusted. We started attending the yoga class at work on Tuesdays (before which I weigh in at Weight Watchers, but I skip the meeting), and doing weight training on Thursdays. I walk alone on Mondays and Fridays, and she runs alone on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Surprisingly enough, it’s not the end of the world.
I’ve discovered that yoga is not only good for my super-tight hamstrings, but can also be a great body-weight strength-training workout, if done correctly. My core and triceps love me for a couple days after a good yoga session. Plus, I’d forgotten how much I enjoy lifting weights! It’s a super-short-term goal — I can do three more reps! — and it makes me feel good physically and mentally.
Since I don’t have as many Activity Points to eat through on a weekly basis, this shift in exercise level has made me refocus on eating according to Plan. I’ve been trying to forgo eating my Weekly Allowance Points, with positive results on the scale. I’ve also been noticing that my clothes fit better, and more so than just a five-pound weight loss could account for.
So, I guess that this horrible turn of events turned out to be a “blessing in disguise,” as usual. I’ve refocused on my diet, begun effectively cross-training, and have seen results. Maybe running wasn’t what I needed to reach my overall fitness and weight goals, after all. At least, maybe it wasn’t all I needed.
I visited my chiropractor again this past Friday, and straight-up asked her if I could start running again after I lose 20 or 25 pounds. Her answer was no. Running — and any other high-impact exercise — is permanently out of the question.
I suppose that I could see a specialist in sports medicine if I decided to get a second opinion… but I’m learning to live with a lack of running in my life. (Although I do miss having alone time with Sheryl.) I can set other goals for myself. I don’t have to be one of the 5% of the population who has finished a marathon.
I’m content with being the best version of myself that I can be.