Thursday, April 19, 2012

Collaterial damage

About a month ago, I hurt my right hip. I jumped up a bit too quickly in a class and IMMEDIATELY knew I'd done 'something' bad. Pain - yes, it's called a clue.

So I've been sort of nursing it a bit, the cutting back on the cardio helped, a bit gentler in yoga and more stretching, that sort of thing. But it's just not improving; in fact the pain has sort of moved around to the front hip flexor, down the leg to behind the knee, some general numbness, and shooting pains.

Fun stuff!!

Finally, I figure it's just time to have it looked at. The doctor moved it around, looked at the spine, watched me walk, asked a whole bunch of questions, and sent me for x-rays.  He suspects the problem is lumbar spinal stenosis, which is a thickening of the spinal cord in the lumbar region.

Since I'm pretty big into the 'whys' of my life, of course I ask that question.  "Why?" Most of the reasons have never happened to me - no degenerative condition, no genetic predisposition, no previous back injury. Nope, I got none of those.


There is one possible cause.

Excess weight.

It appears when there is excess weight the spine (along with other bones) will thicken to carry the load and in the process the channel where the cord sits can get just a scooch smaller, causing pain, numbness, burning,  and yeah, pretty much what I have.

Collateral damage

Of course, the next set of questions switch from 'why' to 'what' as in 'what do I do now?'

Lose weight --- check
Cardio and strength to develop the muscles -- check
yoga and/or stretching -- check

Doing all of those things already. Good deal - continue

At first, I was annoyed for letting myself gain all that weight. That annoyance lasted about 6 hours. Then I went to being relieved I did something before things got too bad.

The funny thing is, I remember thinking last spring when I decided to start losing weight that I had to do this NOW, not at the beginning of the year, not in 6 months, not in 6 days...but NOW. Time felt short and I felt I was quickly, very quickly running out of options. I remember this frantic, urgent feeling pushing me to keep watching my diet, even when the weight loss moved at a glacial pace. Keep moving even though I was bone tired. Try a new class, a new exercise, push out of the comfort zone, please, oh please do it, but most of all, just don't give up, even when it wasn't fun. Believe your body can change, and it well.

Could that have been my 'inner teacher' we talk about in yoga?  The voice of wisdom? Since it led me to do the right thing, I'm comfortable thinking it most likely it was. And I'm so very grateful I listened and acted. If this pain is as bad as it gets, I can handle it just fine. Not only that, it'll be just another reminder of why I can't be one of the 90% that regains the weight lost. I just cannot do that again. My body may not handle another round of yo-yo dieting.

Bitter? nah, I just won't go there. It would just take too much energy that is better spent else where.

But how about some Naproxen Sodium? Yes, please! With a Tylenol chaser! Even more better!

And most of all, smile. It's gonna be okay. Promise.

Thoughts to take with me today: Lovely deep breaths, long stretches, smiling with my heart, once again, I choose joy and all the good that comes with it.


  1. Good that you took action when you did! I had a similar wakeup call when I started doing a lot of serious cycling and began having knee pain. Turned out I had arthritis in both knees, which had been aggravated by years of being overweight. Ironically, when I started getting serious about cycling and getting fit, I started having the knee problems. Like you, I had a time of wanting to kick myself for letting it get to that point, but,also like you, I was able to recognize that I had taken some positive steps.