Back Attack

Last Fall I had the most excruciating experience ever: a herniated disk.

You might wonder where I plan on finding the humor in that. What might I find funny about being in so much pain that I would given my left…well, I’m a lefty, so maybe my right arm to make it stop? What laughs could I possibly get out of being a 42 year old woman with the aches and pains of a 90 year-old, out of shape, overweight, former hormone taking power lifter?

Well, I can’t find anything amusing about it. Not funny. There’s nothing like back pain to make you feel old. I went for a run (ok a jog. ok a plod) on Saturday, and now, I’m feeling about 192. My lower back has been invaded by pain-inducing aliens who are screaming “You’re too old to go jogging! You’re too old to go jogging! Have you seen your thighs? Give it up already!”

The worse thing is, nothing seems to help. I’ve tried acupuncture. I’d rather stick needles in my….oh, wait, that’s what they did and IT DID NOTHING. (In fairness to my practitioner, she did say before we began that she had her doubts.) I went to a chiropractor who wrapped me in ice packs while he administered tiny electric shocks. All I needed was Nurse Ratchett to complete the scene. I tried prescription strength pain killers. All they did was make me loopy AND in pain. I tried massage. (Nothing says relaxation like a Korean woman barking orders at you IN KOREAN while you are naked and in pain.) I tried ice and heat. Heat and ice. Hot showers, jacuzzis. Sitting for long periods. Walking through the pain. Ignoring the pain a la James Sarno. (it is NOT all in my head. It’s in my BACK)

The only thing that worked was three epidurals of steroids and lidacaine. Relief.

I don’t really want to do that again any time soon. Something tells me that making a habit of shooting up even mild doses of that stuff with any regularity might not be the best idea.

So I’m doing restorative yoga. Not the “look at how strong I am/how flexible I am/what an overachiever I am even when I’m engaged in a totally non-competitive physical activity” yoga so popular among the skeletal chic crowd. But Iyengar Yoga. All about form, all about breath, all about such teeny tiny details that we sometimes spend fifteen minutes on mountain pose. You know what mountain pose is? Standing up.

Oddly enough, it seems to help.

Hey, whatever it takes.

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