I went to bed last night with an awful backache. That’s nothing new – I had my spine fused as a teenager to treat a severe-grade spondylolisthesis and still deal with the residual soreness from having a cadaver bone fused between my L4 and sacrum, with bone from my hip grafted around it. And from the ensuing scar tissue. But yesterday was worse than normal, and I racked my brain to figure out what I did differently. It’s not like I did anything particularly grueling or strenuous. But then I figured it out. Thirty minutes of baby music and dance class with a 12-month-old who refused to sit on the floor or stay in his carrier and wanted only to snuggle on my left hip was part of it. My chiropractor warned me that with my uncorrected scoliosis, I need to avoid that sort of hip carry or at least rotate which hip the baby is sitting on each time. In addition to music and dance class yesterday, he also had his first round of swim lessons, where, surprisingly, he fussed and refused to try many of the basic skills his instructor was patiently showing him, so I held him a lot there as well. I feel a lot of mommy guilt that I can’t always hold him for long stretches of time, but I’m so grateful that I had the surgery so that I could support the weight of my pregnancy with him and birth him naturally, completely unmedicated and intervention-free. I’m also grateful for my husband, who will always offer to hold him for long stretches when I just can’t, even with my Boba 3G.
So this morning was my day to run. I took it slowly, stretching and then walking for a 5-minute warmup before the run and a 5-minute cool-down after the run. And it did wonders for my back. I am so not the type to resort to pain pills, personally, but everyone is different. I just never think to use them or have them on hand, and I don’t think they do anything for me. I do, however, believe in this running thing as a solution, conditioning my body to crave running as a way to alleviate some of my joint issues. That, combined with my chiropractor visits and prescribed orthotics in my running shoes, does more to fix my back than any other treatments I’ve ever tried – glucosamine, physical therapy, orthopedic surgeons, body braces, heat wraps, etc.
With a spondylo like mine, flat feet is often a concurrent condition, so my orthotics shift my pelvis to remove the pressure from my lower back. I can’t believe it went unnoticed for over 25 years before my chiropractor glanced at my feet mere minutes upon meeting me and insisted a foot scan analysis, determining that a lot of my pain stemmed from everyday movement.
Last night, I was reminded of my condition when stepping out of the pool at my son’s swim lessons, leaving narrow footprints of my entire foot – no arch at all.
The benefits of running aren’t just physical for me, but that’s for another post. How has running helped you?