Saturday, May 26, 2012

Get Back

Last night after getting home from work my back felt a little stiff. I took some ibuprofen and went to sleep. As I was getting out of bed this morning, I felt a stabbing pain in my lower back. Since Mrs. Rootchopper was neither awake nor armed with a knife, I could tell that this was the return of an old and unwelcome friend. 

I have had back issues since college. I came home from school one year for Columbus Day, sat down in an easy chair, and couldn't get up - even for dinner.  You know it's serious when a 20 year old can't get out of a chair for a free meal. I was young and the pain went away in short order without problem.

At the end of my first year of graduate school, I had one more exam to take when my back went into spasm.  I could barely move. I managed to use my bike as an improvised walker and made it to the college clinic for treatment.  I recovered in time to take the exam, but it was clear that the problem was getting progressively worse.

These episodes increased in frequency until one day I had the mother of all back spasms. I had ruptured a disk and I was unable to stand without mind blowing pain.  After four weeks of doctor visits and scans, I had surgery to remove a disk and make more room for the offended nerve. In  four weeks I was back at work and in six months I felt fine.

I went about ten years before my next back episode. I have been having them every year since.  So this morning is no surprise.

Long ago I concluded that no single thing causes my back problems. Rather, an accumulation of shocks and the daily grind build up tension until I have pain.  I think of it like a body quake; pressure builds along the fault line until SNAP!

I went back to bed after the stabbing and waited for my back to calm down. Then, ibuprofen in hand, I went downstairs.  I spent the morning on my deck reading.  After four hours of chilling, I pulled Big Nellie out of the shed and gently rode to Old Town to pick up my now repaired camera. 
Big Nellie on the Mount Vernon Trail at the Morningside Bald Eagle Nest

On the way there I stopped to chat with Adam known in the Twittersphere as @ajfroggie. He's a local bike commuter who does volunteer work for the Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling. He (and a woman from the National Park Service whose name escapes me) was taking traffic counts on the Mount Vernon Trail near the Washington Street deck. 

Away from King Street, the main drag, Old Town was empty. King Street was crawling with tourists wishing it were not 85 degrees.  I picked up my camera. It works like new (yay!). 

Sherwood Gourmet makes good sammiches
I gently pedaled back home stopping for a sammich at my favorite sammich shop.  I sat on the patio and ate my sammich and let the tropical air pull the sweat out of me.  Some people (my wife, for one) hate summer in DC. I love it.  I used to hate it when I was a runner, but it's really terrific for cycling.  The breeze from bike riding is the perfect cure for the muggies. I have also learned that it the perfect way to get head exhaustion.  That's an affliction for another day and another blog.

As for now, there's an ice cold Yuengling waiting for my personal attention. It's hot out. I need to keep hydrated.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing worse than bad back pain as it is just so crippling. It's even worse when its disc problems as there is little to help it except surgery. Hope you get it sorted soon as I can't imagine it helps with bike riding.