I throw my back out approximately twice a year, and when it happens my my ability to move normally is impaired for a week to 10 days. As someone who exercises every single day for between an hour and ninety minutes (and gets crabby when she can’t, even for a day), this semi-annual event makes me ragey.
I have a few risk factors for back woes: both of my parents have a history of back problems, I carry extra weight around, and there’s that aforementioned daily workout nearly without fail, without days off for recovery.
It happened again nearly three weeks ago, under stupid circumstances: I yanked my back out of whack while ironing.
Yes, you read that correctly: ironing. Additional important information for you to learn while you turn up your nose at that previous sentence and wonder if I might be the only person left on earth who irons: I LOVE IRONING.
Anyway, I was catching up (via DVR) on the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank while I was ironing three weeks’ worth of clothing.
When I iron, I hang the finished pieces on the end of the ironing board and on the bedroom door handle. I was running out of space so I had to make a trip to my closet and, as I grabbed hangers and hangers of clothes with both hands, I forgot that the cord was on the floor in front of me. I tripped on it and fell full force into the door jamb, hitting my shoulder, my upper arm, and my wrist all at once. My back was not happy with that and ever since, I have been in pain and slightly pitiful for much longer than the typical 10 days.
This time I haven’t stopped working out; I’ve only modified my movement. I have been taking ibuprofen and soaking in the tub and generally walking around very carefully. I was very much focused on the pain. Then, earlier this week I went to see my personal trainer at the boxing gym. He gave me some functional exercises to add into my routine, and as we went through our hour he got me to loosen up my back bit by bit as much as possible. He said, “Your body wants to go into ‘I’m injured!’ mode, and you’re not injured long-term; you’re just hurt right now. So let’s work on changing the focus.” It was brilliant. Perspective is everything.
Since then, instead of thinking about the pain, I’ve been thinking about keeping everything loose. I’m shimmying around all over the place. I have a better attitude. I’m finally on the mend, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I find myself wondering how much good we can all do for ourselves if, instead of letting the obstacles get us down in the dumps, we just focus on what we can do to hang in there and keep moving forward.
My back feeling much better now might just be a result of time and care, but I also like to think that a positive attitude can move mountains. Let’s call it an excellent combination. Now, what else can we fix with that?