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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back Attack





Sunday morning I got up from my desk to refill my coffee cup. My dog, Sammy got up from his strategic location right behind my chair ready to escort me to the kitchen. But first he stretched as he always does – the “downward dog” as we say in Yoga class. I told him he should try the cat stretch where we bend forward and “blow up” our back. I demonstrated for him and he looked at me quizzically but didn’t attempt it. Then, as I straightened up, I was stabbed with a searing pain at the base of my spine, sort of like what I imagine it might feel like to be tasered.



This seems to happen to me about once every year. It never happens when I’m doing anything athletic – it’s always something routine, like tying my shoes. One minute I’m feeling great, ready to run five miles and the next I can’t even move.



By Monday morning I still had difficulty standing straight and my whole back ached because all my muscles where tensed. I decided to go to spinning class anyway, just to get some exercise. I made it through the class, being very careful on the transitions from sitting to standing. I tried swimming, but it hurt to kick, except when I swam on my back so I gave up after a few laps.




I called my chiropractor, Tony Breitbach who runs the Wellness Revolution  in Evanston. Tony’s a triathlete also and that perspective is really helpful in treating endurance athletes. He understands our motivations.



After a few minutes on their mechanical massage table – I’m sure that’s not the right term – it’s a table with a roller built into the mat that rolls up and down the spine. It helps to stretch out the back and feels great, although not quite so great after being tasered.



After the table workout Tony worked on my back with various stretches and adjustments and by the time he was done, I was much more upright when I walked out of the office. He told me that every two hours I needed to lay on the ground and work on arching my back as much as I could tolerate, which I’ve done. Today, I am much better, but it still takes me about three times as long to tie my shoes.



With Tony’s help I hope to be back to normal workouts by the weekend.

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