Five weeks ago I was hitting it hard with my workouts. High mile bike rides, consecutive long runs, and I attended a summer evening pick up soccer kick-off (no pun intended). The two-hour fun-filled night shooting goals, smelling the grass and navigating around the field was a blast. Then bam, suddenly the well-known radiating pain in my lower back was settling in and not leaving. I couldn’t help but start hearing Britney Spears in my head, “Oops I did it again.” The back was back, and my mind immediately jumped to my summer fitness goals of finish lines and record-breaking courses that was about to be crushed, but not if I acted quickly. I wanted a diagnosis fast and I was determined not to waste any time.
Getting an appointment with an orthopedic can take weeks, however I found a little gem, Orthopedic Associates of Hartford walk-in clinic. I was able to pop in to the Glastonbury office the next day, get an x-ray, diagnosis and authorization for PT (physical therapy) to start four days post injury. Score! Parents take note this walk-in is a great option for those unexpected broken bones with the kids.
The diagnosis was spondylolisthesis. Apparently I have had degenerative area of my lower back since I was three or four! What!!! The “slips” can occur in really active people, and I was told I should plan on mine happening once a year. I am being punished for being active! Actually the doctor explained this a very common condition. So, is anyone else feeling my pain?
My employer has Select Physical Therapy on-site, and Lindsay is my go to girl! When I let her know my back injury happened, she was ready to put humpty dumpty back together again. My experience has been stellar, no surprise, she really is the best! Twice a week I throw on some sneaks, make sure not to wear a skirt, and squeeze in an hour of stretching, strengthening, and endure Lindsay relentlessly kneading my a_ _. Yes that’s right my a_ _, and of course my back. The right part of my butt/hip is reacting to the slip and is tightened up like a clenched fist. It’s hilarious actually, while I am surrounded by other co-workers working on their injuries they have a front row seat to view me getting a butt massage! Um kind of awkward!
The end of each session always closes with me chatting to Lindsay and it goes a little something like this: When can I run? Not yet couple weeks. When can I run? Not yet maybe next week. When can I run? You get the point. Patience! I have had to practice a lot, and be very smart about not wrecking all my hard work being put back together. Some other lessons learned during this experience rebuilding the back:
- Get a Diagnosis – Re-occurring injury, get to the bottom of it (I waited years).
- Orthopedic Associates of Hartford Walk-In – Great fast alternative (Farmington and Glastonbury offices).
- PT Patience – Before you wreck yourself, check yourself.
- Ergonomics Plays a Big Role – The cause of most of my back pain is from sitting at my desk. I had a nurse on-site evaluate everything! My chair was like a bucking bronco with hidden levers I had no idea existed, and mine was adjusted all wrong. Also try to see if you can get a sit/stand desk.
- Stretch Strength Repeat – Time is limited, but the 15-20 pre and post stretch and strength sessions a few times a week are key to preventing a slip.
I am determined to get at least one big race in before the season is over, with Lindsay’s blessing of course, and am hopeful I can defy the odds of a once a year slip. How are you managing an injury? Perhaps you have spondilolysis too! Tell me how it’s going and what is working for you.
Erin has worked in the healthcare insurance industry for over 12 years in various different roles including product management, marketing, and communications. Currently she is a Business Communications Manager at Cigna.
She is passionate about road cycling, running, soccer, sports, and rarely stays idle. Erin loves music, and lives for a good concert. Often times you will find Erin blasting a soundtrack for the day, finding a lyrical correlation to an experience or dancing it out in the kitchen with her son.
"Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future, and faith is the courage to dance it today." -Random wall hanging in her kitchen that holds true to Erin's philosophy about running her life.