What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

My Achin’ Back

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     When I was growing-up, I remember that pretty much the only time my dad didn’t go into the office was when he was having back problems. He would lie in bed all day (and he usually only gave himself one day) and it was obvious that he was in some serious pain. I look more like my father than anyone else in the family, and it seems I have also inherited his back.

     Sometime after college (maybe all the drinking, dancing and crying relieved all the stress) when I was living in Chicago, my back started acting-up. Sometimes it was so bad that I couldn’t go into work either. I remember days where I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get up off of the floor after I laid down to stretch. (I think that Dad and I both now know that lying down all day when your back hurts is the worst thing that you can do. It gets stiff and hurts worse, it’s better to keep moving.)

     I remember seeing an interesting report on Dateline or 60 Minutes or some other news show about back problems. Someone had written a book about the fact that almost all back problems had nothing to do with your back at all, but had a lot to do with your head. The author maintained that as soon as one’s back started acting-up, normally due to stress, the added stress of thinking, “Oh no, how bad is it going to get? Will I be able to work? Walk?” would exaserbate the problem and make the particular episode much worse. I guess in a way a agree. I do know that when I am exercising regularly (I am not right now unless you count walking and lifting a baby) my back is better. Who knows if this is due to the physical benefits or the stress relief? Or both? Also, I don’t think I have ever had a back episode while on vacation. However, I think the author over-simplified the issue. Obviously physical strain can also be the of cause back problems. For instance, sitting with bad posture in a bad chair at a computer all day (check) or lifting a big baby and bending over to put him in and take him out of his crib and/or car seat (check).

     A few years ago I was here at work and I bent over someone’s desk to sign something. In that instant my worse back episode of all began. I couldn’t stand back up, I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t walk. It was crazy and terrifying. A couple of coworkers literally dragged me back in to my office and laid me on the floor. They called a physical therapist from a chiropractor’s office (his wife works here) and after a couple of hours he got me to where I could at least walk. After they carried me to the bathroom on a chair (it was really fun trying to use the bathroom) they put me in the car and took me to the chiropractor for a painful adjustment. I took Motrin, had to lie down for a few days, had my back adjusted 2 or 3 more times, and after about a week I was back to normal. Before that incident I didn’t really believe in chiropractors, but when it happened I had to rely on other people to make my decisions for me and I discovered that a chiropractor who knows what they are doing can really help you.

     Now when I have an episode, I go right in and she fixes me right up. (She is a tiny little thing, and I am a big person. I just amazes me how she is able to work on me without hurting HER back.) At the beginning of my pregnancy I had a little problem, and all it took was one visit to resolve it. I was really afraid that my back would be a huge issue during my pregnancy, however it wasn’t an issue at all (constipation on the other hand…).

     So when I picked-up my big baby boy on Sunday and I felt something go in my back, I knew I had better make an appointment. I saw her on Monday, and my back did begin to improve, but then I had to put my son in his car seat (my neighbor got him out and carried him into the house for me), put him in his highchair, take him out of his highchair, put him in the tub, get him out of the tub, lay him in his crib…well you get the picture.

     I felt something go in my back again the next day while I was being over-confident and leaned over to throw something in the garbage can. I must admit, I am starting to worry about how I am going to get better this time. My husband is sleeping in the morning and not home at night, so I am pretty much on my own at those times and have no choice but to pick-up and put down my sweet little boy over and over. However, right now (and probably forevermore lol) his needs are the most important thing. So hopefully my achin’ back will hold out.

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