Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Official...I Am a Shark

You may have heard the phrase "If a shark stops moving, it will die".  This is true for most sharks because their forward swimming motion forces oxygen through their gills.  Without forward motion, they don't receive oxygen and they die.  

How am I like a shark?  Well, I learned this morning that I have to keep moving or suffer the consequences. 

I am standing as I type this right now.  Want to know why?

I am standing because I have once again neglected my "core", irritated my disc in my lower back and am having trouble sitting or lying down for any prolonged amount of time.   Today, I am walking with a limp.  It takes me about 90 seconds to get out of bed or get out of my car.  If I drop something on the floor, forget about it.

This happened before.  As an overweight guy with weak abdominal and core muscles, I have often had "back problems".  In time, it would go away.  But I didn't realize that the trauma inflicted (even briefly) to my discs in my vertabrae doesn't always heal fully.  So, each time I "recovered" from a back pain incident, I never returned to 100%.  Unless we really work on strengthening our core muscles, it seems that each future session of back pain causes a bit more damage or becomes more difficult to heal.

What caused this recent flare-up? 

Too many days at my desk, working on a big project for work.   I also was a bit sick and therefore did not workout much at all for the past 2-3 weeks.  I could feel my back beginning to tighten up over the past few weeks and kept telling myself that I REALLY NEEDED TO GO FOR A LONG WALK, but I didn't most of the time. 

By Monday, my back was becoming pretty sore.  I walked a bit like Frankenstein, but didn't let the pain stop me.  Then, I lifted some very heavy stuff at work.  That made it worse. 

I walked two miles on Tuesday night.  Walking always used to help.  Then, I walked a fast 4 miles on Wednesday morning.  By Wednesday night, I was in tremendous pain.  I couldn't bend forward.  I dove into an old bottle of vicodin and tried to power through with my normal work week.  The pain only increased.

I gave up last night and called my doctor and a physical therapist, who both were able to see me this morning.  I have definitely damaged my disc over the years.  I don't know if it is herniated or bulged, but they gave me two shots into my rear-end today, have prescribed vicodin and flexeril, and said that my work schedule and 2-4 mile walks only inflammed an already bad situation.

I am encouraged now to walk at a normal pace for 15 minutes at a time, four times per day (max).  The therapist said that bike riding is out for a week or two, same with running.  The 10K that is one month away should now be a 5k.

Bottom line:  I did this to myself.  If I had simply walked everyday for exercise, which was the plan for this month, this wouldn't have happened.  Going forward, I need to add in some specific "core" exercises 2-3 x per week.  

I am embarrassed about this, but grateful that I am getting off pretty easy.  Pain-killers and daily walks are not bad medicine at all for a short while and I really hope that I am never foolish enough to do this again.

I am a shark.  If I don't move...well, I'll pay for it one way or the other.

The Feets of August is still in play, now more important than ever.

Big Clyde


Alan (Pounds Off Playoff) said...

The shark analogy is a great one. Use it or lose it, right?

My stand-up desk has been a help for these kinds of things. Don't know if that's an option, but there are other ways to break up the sitting, like standing for all your phone calls, etc. In addition to walking/running, I'll bet you can cash in at least an hour of sitting for standing in your normal routines.

Kimberley said...

The things you learn in blogger world. I can now add this shark fact to my "stuff" file. Thanks!

Hope your back is feeling better quickly!

Clive Chapman said...

As a fellow back pain sufferer, you have my sympathies. Core workouts are the way forward. I do them religiously and seem to have the back pain under control.

Sit ups
Press ups (push ups for you Yanks)

All of these can be found on Youtube for examples of good form.

Good luck mate.

spunkysuzi said...

I really hope the pain goes away asap!

Kat said...

Hang in there, BC!

Chubby McGee said...

I hope you're feeling some relief soon. :)

RockStarTri said...

Been there, done that, got the zipper scar tramp stamp for L5/S1.

FoA is still in play! Then FoS! Game on, Clyde, game on.

Bruce said...

Luckily my back problems are not disk related, but I still need to keep my core strong or I end up just like you with all sorts of the same types of problems.

Hope you heal up quick. Keep that core strong! It pays off in all sorts of areas!

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

I'm sorry. Back problems stink. Hope you feel better soon!