Monday, February 21, 2011

Broken Pretzel

I was getting ready to deliver a pretty euphoric post about the beneficial effects that yoga was having on my bod and, yes, even my mind. I had shifted my focus from going to class at the health club to doing video-guided classes at I wasn't getting any individual guidance at the club anyway, and doing yoga in the guest bedroom meant greater scheduling flexibility as well as greater freedom of attire. (No bra! yay!)

I had really started to feel the benefits of doing yoga two or three times a week. I could feel my core tightening up and my gait improving. My hips felt less tight, which I noticed every time I put on my socks. My downward dogs were easier, and I was even spending more time in the balancing poses without falling out.

On Weds 2/9 I did my usual bike commute and felt fine. On Thursday 2/10 I did my yoga. My low back felt slightly tight at the end so I did some extra stretching it at the end. Friday I thought I was getting a cold so I didn't ride. I curled up in a ball on the train home and read a children's book (the Magic Thief) until the ride was over. Late that evening I felt a twinge in the low back, in the sacroiliac joint, such as I have felt dozens of times before.

That night, I woke up a few times. As I turned over, the back hurt. Hmmm. The next morning, I was crying out in pain as I tried to brush my teeth. I could hardly move. I slipped on a convenient brown velour dress as pants were not going to be happening. Tim brought me some food, water, and Advil. I made my way downstairs and tried to sit down. Oh, no. I remained standing for the next four hours, pacing around slowly, taking deep breaths, trying to find some position that didn't hurt. Without success. I found some Tramodol from the last round of back pain, and once that took effect I was able to make it into the Big Poofy Chair and get it reclined.

It took me three hours to reach a doctor on the phone, partly because the phone people wrote my number down wrong. D'oh. Finally I got a prescription for pain meds and muscle relaxants, and Tim took off to get them.

I thought that this round of back distress would take the usual course - pain, then pain meds and muscle relaxants, then a few rounds of exercises and rapid progress to recovery. Not this time. On Monday I went for a tortuous round of doctor visits, an anti-inflammatory shot, and an x-ray by an inept technician (she forgot to close a key door or drawer or something so the machine wouldn't work). The anti-inflammatory shot had no effect whatsoever, and I was shouting and cussing every time I had to get in and out of the car.

I'm now on day 10 of this. It's a little better, but I still have to take a ton of meds to be able to walk around at all. I haven't been to the office for over a week, though I can work pretty well in the BPC. Getting ready to call the doc again.

Was it the yoga? Was it the bike? Was it a long-delayed sequela of the fender-bender of January 19th? Was it my curled up position on the train? Maybe all of the above. One of my friends wondered if I was "not listening to my body." Hard to say. Maybe not. I thought I had listened to it and it told me to do yoga. Maybe my body has multiple personality disorder.

When I can move again I'm going to have to find a super great chiropractor here in Sactown and get back to regular visits. I used to have an awesome spine and soft tissue guru in Cupertino, and she helped me with more injuries than I can shake a stick at. Clearly I need some help in that department now. Oh, yeah, and I should probably lose 50-75 pounds too.

Anyway, this is a very clear signal that I need to get very, very serious about building a better back.


  1. I'm sorry to hear of your distress. I really admired your doing the yoga. Though I have to force myself to do it, I always think it's somehow a superior form of exercise, compared to my usual, more lowly forms of stretching and whatnot. Well, maybe not?

    I'm sending good thoughts your way. Your perseverance is inspiring and I love your books. Though I'm still working on it, I intend to do a sprint some day.

  2. I'm also sorry to hear that you're hurting.

    First, I want to tell you that your books have really meant a lot to me. Thank you for writing them.

    Second, I blog about body positive athletics at I wanted to let you know that I've added your blog to a list of defiant athletes there. (I would have let you know privately, but couldn't find an email.)

    Take care of yourself. . .sending healing thoughts.