Spondylo Update: I Still Have It (But It Doesn’t Have Me)

Way back in April, I thought that spin class would be a good way to “open up” my lower back to alleviate some of the nerve pain.

Boy, was I wrong.

That was about the worst thing I’ve ever done to myself. I hosed my back and had to make a mid-month chiropractor visit (which I rarely need to do) for pain management. According to Dr. Smith, I managed to rotate one of my vertebrae.

Yikes.

This month, I got to make another mid-month chiro visit. See, I’m used to the constant low-level ache in my lower back — not really even rating on the scale of one-to-ten, but more of an awareness, a distraction — and I’m used to the slight numbness in my hip and left leg that my offset L5 causes by pressing on a nerve. What I’m not used to is the sharp, localized pain I had a couple weeks ago.

Turns out that my bulging disc at L4 was to blame this time — probably from lugging around a clingy 30-pound Mama’s boy who demands, “Carry you?” Dr. Smith prescribed some yoga poses: cobra and upward dog, to be done while watching TV in the evenings. The backward flexing helps relieve the pain of the bulging disc, but it had the potential to make my spondylo at L5 act up. She actually told me that if the cobra pose made things worse, I should stop and accept her apologies. Luckily, cobra did the trick.

It’s funny that I have two very different back problems that have two very different ways of relieving pain (backbends vs. forward bends and hamstring stretches), and relieving one could exacerbate the other.

I make a point to attend my Thursday yoga class every week, and I’ve been trying to add a core strength class into my schedule whenever I can. There’s one that the fitness center at my work has been offering lately called Core Fusion, which mixes Pilates and upper body strength and some yoga. I absolutely love it — it’s always a huge, packed class with all ranges of fitness levels. (It’s a testament to how uncomfortable I still am with my body image that I find myself scanning any fitness class for anyone who is less fit than I am.) The stronger I can get my core, the more likely it is that everything will stay in alignment and not cause me any grief.

I don’t have any dreams of returning to running. Considering that this condition has surfaced relatively early in my life, I don’t plan to do anything that could make my life miserable down the road. Cycling — maybe someday. Lifting — if I’m careful and don’t do anything stupid. Yoga — I’d like to keep with it and improve my form, actually. Improve my balance, strengthen my core, and maybe finally own crocodile pose someday.

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