Today’s injury report is brought to you by, well, me. Because unfortunately, I’m on it.
The Short Version: I’ve injured my back. I can’t run. And I don’t know when I’ll be able to start running again.
The Medical Version: After months of ignoring lower back & hip pain and numbness in my right foot, I finally saw a sports medicine doctor two weeks ago. An MRI confirmed that I have something called a spondylolisthesis, a common spinal disorder in which a vertebra slips forward onto the bone below it. This image isn’t my back, but it’s probably similar to what my back looks like right now.
See where the vertebra is slipping forward? You can actually feel the spot on my back where the vertebrae are out of place. My “spondy” is a grade 2, which means that the slippage is between 25-50% and is not considered severe at this point. However, the MRI also revealed that I have a herniated disc:
Both spondylolisthesis and a herniated lumbar disc can cause significant back pain, hip & leg pain, and numbness and tingling in the leg & foot. Both issues can compress the sciatic nerve and/or irritate the piriformis. So I’ve got a double whammy going on here.
I’m starting off with a conservative treatment plan, which means physical therapy and medication. I’m restricted from activities that compress my spine – like running. I also need to avoid movements that require me to twist or arch my spine, which certainly puts a damper on my burgeoning yoga practice. I’m allowed to do yoga, but some poses are a no-no. This side crow, for example, hurt. A LOT.
Some people have asked me if I injured myself by running the Rock’n’Roll Savannah half marathon. The answer is that while it probably didn’t help, I was in pain long before the race. My right hip and foot have been aching and going numb for 2-3 months now. The pain just finally got bad enough for me to make myself see a doctor. And as far as back pain – I’ve had that off & on for 20 years now, ever since I bent down to get a piece of cheese from the refrigerator. (I wish it was from something cool like hang gliding, but nope. It was cheese.) This latest round of back pain started in the summer, and I’d notice it at strange times – like when I stepped off a treadmill or sneezed.
So for the time being, Mommy Runs It won’t be running anywhere. Instead I’ll be walking, stretching, and doing a lot of PT homework. I’m hopeful that with rest and the proper care, I can get the pain and inflammation under control without escalating to more invasive measures (ugh).
Stay tuned, friends. I’ll be back. (Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.)