(‘B’ IS FOR BACK PAIN)
I’ve been dealing with some issues lately and thought I would share it with you all in hopes you will gain something from my experience. This post is for runners, or anyone who has had to deal with pain.
It’s so hard to appreciate something when you don’t realize you have it. Moving without pain is taken for granted by all of us I think.
Pain has the ability to suck the happiness out of your day like no other thing. It takes the joy out of your most favorite activities and makes the simplest tasks seem like unmanageable obstacles.
Running is my cocaine. It starts my day, processes my tasks, plans my schedule, heals my fears…it is a welcome friend I cannot live without. I enjoy running. When pain becomes the only thing I feel when I run, my world falls apart.
A HISTORY OF BACK ISSUES
I’ve been dealing with back issues my whole life. Only a few times has it interfered with my life, and even then pain medication made it tolerable. I’ve always maintained a back strengthening regimen and done core exercised to stave off back pain. But after a fall from my bike last spring dislocated my sacrum, I entered into a downward spiral that came to a head this January.
As usual, I tried to train through the pain. Some days were worse than others, when it got really bad I would take a couple Naproxen Sodium and hope for the best. But when I found myself walking in the half marathon I ran in March, I knew something was really wrong. I don’t walk during races.
A few chiropractic treatments got the pain back to tolerable and I went on with the summer, agreeing with myself that I would take it easy this year, no real races, just fun stuff like the Tough Mudder.
SLIPPING INTO A RUNNING HELL
As summer turned to fall, my running pace dipped slower and slower and my joy turned to drudgery. I began to dread my morning runs knowing they would be slow and painful. The pain turned to sciatica that made sitting and standing a miserable state while at the same time kept me up at night. My attitude was irritable with the constant nagging ache behind every answer to a question. I was miserable and miserable to be around; my family can verify this.
To add gas to the fire, I began to slowly gain weight. As a person who monitors her weight daily, and has maintained a steady weight my entire adult life except for during pregnancies, I was at a loss for an explanation. No amount of exercise or food restriction managed to bring my weight back to the happy place. I found myself reaching for weight loss supplements…something I don’t ever do. They didn’t help, my weight kept rising. I was up about eight pounds and feeling a complete loss of control…something I don’t deal with easily.
A DESPERATE MOVE
In desperation I limped into a local chiropractic office to see if they had any specials going. I had an initial exam and given a treatment plan. This time, for the first time ever, I committed to following the full plan. I purchased a 20 visit package so that I wouldn’t quit after I got a little better, I signed on for the full six weeks.
The first week was up and down. My sciatica pain was magically relieved but replaced by severe lower back pain. In the second week the lower back pain resolved but was replaced by severe neck pain. Then the sciatica came back. By week four, almost nothing hurt.
While all the treatments were going on, I kept running. I had initially asked the doctor if running, biking or swimming was aggravating the problem and he said, “Maybe, but I’m not going to ask you to stop. I don’t want you to stop.” This was the best thing the doctor could have said to me. If he had said something else, I may not have gone back.
LOGGING MY PROGRESS
Anyway, on the Monday after the first two treatments I actually felt like going for a tempo-run. And every Monday after that I went for another tempo-run to gauge my progress. Amazingly, by the second week I found myself wanting to do speed work more than once a week. By the fourth week I had shaved 1:41 per mile off my run four weeks prior. All the runs were on the same stretch of road, for six miles. Here is the average pace for the four weeks:
Week prior: 9:36
Week one: 9:06
Week two: 8:32
Week three: 8:12
Week four: 7:54
THE HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTED
My weight had not only returned to normal, I dropped an extra two pounds. How you say? Well, I had to think hard to figure out why but I think the answer will make sense when you hear it. There are a few things but the main reason is the fact that the pain went away. When your body is in pain it releases cortisol. Cortisol causes your body to gain weight, especially in the mid-section.
As babies, when we cry, whether it be because we are wet, colicky or hungry, the first thing we are offered is food. Over time, our brains relate food with comfort. This causes havoc in many people’s lives, especially when they suffer from a lot of sadness and stress. But it can also cause a person in constant pain to reach for food when nothing else seems to work. Since I suffered with a constant ache in my left leg I was mindlessly reaching for food to comfort me. It wasn’t until I decided to document my calorie intake that I realized what I was doing. Now that I am aware of it, I reach for a drink of water instead and remind myself what I am doing. When the pain is gone, the behavior stops.
That’s the other thing: the X-rays the doctor took revealed gastric issues. No amount of colon cleanses or fiber seemed to resolve the fullness I felt in my mid-section. I realized what I needed was to practice what I preach and drink more water. Water cleanses the body like no other thing. I made a conscious effort to drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day. My waist gradually returned to the hourglass shape I was used to.
TO BE CONTINUED
It the words of my chiropractor, as you unwind the spine all other issues will disappear. And he wasn’t just talking about back pain. When your spine is healthy, signals reach the brain, organs function better, your body moves forward with less effort, thought processes clear.
I’m entering my fifth week of therapy and am feeling better and more alive than ever. I’m excited about racing this year, I think it could be my best year ever. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
I'm also testing chiropractics on my son to see if it will help with bed wetting. After just three adjustments, he had his first dry night ever.
I should also mention that my chiropractor practices ABC chiropractics (Advanced Biostructural Correction)
#running #pain #chiropractics #weightloss #weightgain #bedwetting #backpain #sciatica #stress #cortisol #ABCchiropractics