Tweakage haiku

Lower back spasm
Collapsing in agony
Gravity wins again

Or perhaps a limerick is better:

There once was a spasm near lumbar
That dropped a man down for a tumbler
He whimpered in pain
As he stretched out again
On the floor where he might have to slumber

Yeah, your lower back going out on you with a muscle spasm is really a pain. Basically a day stretched out, where any little twitch or twist might send it back into spasm, while icing it and taking pain killers and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Eventually I was able to get to the PT to get a slightly rotated vertebrae back in place, and the ER for a shot of industrial-strength muscle-relaxer / anti-spasm meds and painkillers. Then a slow recovery; last time it was about a week to get to 75%, then another month or so until I felt pretty much 100%.. I’m up to walking around without a cane, most of the time. The only good part about it was that this time it happened in the house, so I wasn’t stretched out in the neighbor’s driveway starting up at the trees. It must have been accumulated stresses, because all I was doing at the time was picking up a little bit of spilled cereal off the floor.

I guess it is time to start taking the stretching, lower back, and core muscle exercises more seriously, and pay attention to any lower back stiffness and be proactive with the ice and ibuprofen. My dad had some intermittent back problems 30-ish years ago, and my brother a couple years ago, my other brother 4-5 years ago (and they are ~30, two, and four years older than me, respectively).

7 thoughts on “Tweakage haiku

  1. I hear you! I’m taking Kirkland brand robaxacet that I pick up on our yearly trip to Canada, felt a twinge in my back yesterday and now it’s like I have a shiv in my lower left back above my sacrum. Get well soon!

  2. rolf:

    my back is twisted like a pretzel, and one shoulder is catty wampus to the rest of the world. did heavy physical labor during my formative years, right up and through a stint on the bering sea fishing grounds after law school.

    shirt plackets don’t line up with the zippers on my pants.

    not one second of back problems my whole life. go figure. knock on wood.

    john jay

    p.s. my sympathy, to you. i’ve had plenty other little “burps” along the way, so, i know that pain is no damned fun. hope you feel better.

  3. Mine’s never been right since I tried to move a Ma Deuce w/ Tripod by myself back in ’83.

  4. I have had the same spasm experience maybe a dozen times. The only thing that will fix it permanently is the cage appliance surgically fitted to your affected spine. The procedure has been done in Germany for almost 25 years, but has just started to be done here. I believe that the Rebound Clinic at Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, WA does it.

    As for drugs, take one 200mg IB or Naproxen AND one 500mg Acetominaphen up to 4x/day. Non-narcotic, but this “NSAID Cocktail”, is as effective as a moderate dose of Tylenol 3. I use Flexeril for the bad days, but it acts like a narcotic and I don’t drive or shoot while on it.

    Best of luck, Rolf.

  5. Rolf,
    lots of back problems can be blamed on weak abdominal area muscles.

    One of the things I do for my back is a daily self-alignment. After years of going to chiropractors and D.O.’s, I figured out how to replicate their standard moves for the lower spine and my neck. (scares the hell out of people who see me do this, especially the neck twist!) This maintenance tweak generally does the job for me. Before I do it, my head sits off to one side, and my spine has a curve. If I don’t fix this, I am more likely to hurt my lower back lifting or moving things. Also makes me clumsy. If something is really out of whack, it may take me a few days to gradually shift things into place, which is why I do it every day.

    I don’t always get the “pop” sound like a pro can, but this mostly works. I doubt you can get one of them to show you how. I figured it out by trying to replicate the body movements they were doing. I can no longer afford to pay for it, which was one of the factors that prompted me to attempt it. I doubt I can properly describe the movements, and it is possible you would need something different to what I do. I’m writing this to prompt you to think about what is done if/when you go to a pro. Next time I visit my sister, I’ll see if she can take a video of what I do.

    Oh, and be careful of acetaminophen. It has a history of causing liver damage, even at recommended dosage levels. Had a sister who worked for a research doc who studied that when it first became available. I think this was in a VA hospital in the 70’s. He advised her to stay away from it due to this.

  6. I had recurring lower back spasms that would wipe me out for a few days. About 10 years ago, I went to a physical therapist who realigned the bones in my pelvis. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t painful either and I haven’t had a problem since. Might not work for everyone, but it was better than surgery or drugs.

    • Indeed. I’ve got a good PT (he specializes in pregnant women, so he’s GOOD with hip/pelvis issues) and chiropractor. Yes, the pelvis was out of alignment, it’s much better after getting worked on, but it’s still very sensitive and weak. I can feel when it’s about to get all non-functional, so I can change position, grab something, or whatever. And yes, I will be going over a lot of info about strengthening core/lower back / abdominal muscles, and get into a regular routine, because this is just the pits. I’m 99% sure I’ll make a full recovery, but it’s still a weak point I need to address, so it doesn’t happen again.

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