My birthday was last Thursday. It was a great day, except for the part where I threw my back out. I was just finishing up a MTB ride, and was riding a familiar section of trail that I almost always pass through on the way home. It’s a slightly technical spot, with a steep descent, followed by a small creek crossing, followed by a brief rocky climb. I usually just power right through it. I’m not even sure what I did this time around, but I could tell right away that my back was unhappy about something. Five days later, it’s still not 100%. The joys of middle age.
In my 20s and 30s, I wasn’t all that easy on my back, but managed to avoid major injuries. I wised up in my 40s, and have been pretty careful to avoid stressing it, but sometimes it just happens. This time around was unusual, because I wasn’t lifting anything. I started out by taking ibuprofen, but the past couple days, I’ve mainly been using Voltaren gel (recently made available OTC in the U.S.), which helps, albeit temporarily. Yoga helps as well, and yesterday, I tried an inversion table for the first time. The jury is still out, but stretching it that way did feel good. I think I have to ease into inversion a little bit more slowly, though, as I felt kind of dizzy and queasy for awhile afterward.
The good news is, the back issue hasn’t kept me from running, road biking, climbing, or walking on my treadmill desk. I was a little apprehensive about climbing at first, but it actually seems to help. I stuck mainly to gently-overhanging terrain, which kind of naturally stretches the back out as you hang and reach for holds. To an extent, gentle movement in general seems to work better than sitting or lying down. I haven’t yet tried mountain biking, but I’ve got to think the injury was a freak occurrence, as I’ve biked through that particular section dozens of times without issue. I suspect I was seated when it happened, so I probably want to make sure I’m out of the saddle the next time, so that my back moves independently of the bike.
Anyhow, I’m hoping that as long as I’m careful about my activities, this will resolve itself before too long. Keeping my fingers crossed.