It seems I need to clear something up. I got a comment recently from an acquaintance that went something like this:
I can’t believe you’re WEIGHTLIFTING again, after you were in the HOSPITAL! Are you CRAZY?
I paused (probably not long enough to gather myself so that I wouldn’t sound like I was being rude I’m afraid) and replied: “I’m not powerlifting. I’m not that stupid.”
But I realize that to someone who doesn’t know what powerlifting is, let alone the difference in that and what I’m doing now, that was a meaningless response. I also realize that if one person thinks that, and is concerned about my safety and (evidently mental stability), there are probably others as well.
So if I can get on my high horse for a minute, I’ll try to explain.
My injury came from excessively loading my lumbar spine. That was too heavy squats too often, and too heavy deadlifts too often. I listened to and trusted someone I shouldn’t have, and didn’t pay enough attention to my body’s own warning signs, and I went too far.
The orders from my orthopaedic physician are to never load my lumbar spine again. That mostly means no more powerlifting (no squats or deadlifts) but there are other exercises that could trigger a recurrence as well. That does not even come close to meaning: Dana, you can never pick up a dumbbell again.
I’m working with a new trainer, an experienced lifter who’s been doing this for some 20 years and I have full confidence in his knowledge. And he respects (and helps enforce) my limitations. I’m also backing off any time and every time I feel like what I’m doing is somehow wrong for me. That means I stopped my Krav Maga lessons. My physician and spine surgeon both know what I’m doing, and I have clearance from both of them. The pain has returned, but neither of them think it is related to my activity. Two points on that:
The most important thing a person can do to prevent recurrent back injuries is to build or keep a strong core and back. Also, staying lean and flexible are important factors. Lying around atrophying as I age will result in a brittle, injury-prone spine.
Secondly, I’ll repeat something from yesterday’s post.
Recurrent herniated discs are not thought to be directly related to a patient’s activity, and probably have more to do with the fact that within some disc spaces there are multiple fragments of disc that can come out at a later date … the hole in the disc space where the disc herniation occurs (annulotomy) probably never closes because the disc itself does not have a blood supply. Without a blood supply, the area does not heal or scar over. – Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery: Risks, Complications, and Success Rates
That second part is a fancy way of saying sh*t happens. The pain has returned. But it was probably going to return whether I lounged around all day eating macarons or whether I went back to a life with physical activity.
So. I’m not crazy. I’m trying to take care of myself. It’s a tricky, scary new slope I’m on, and I’m in a constant battle to know and to do what is best, while keeping myself in the best physical condition I can. I’m relying on experts, and listening to my body. I promise people, I’m not crazy.