Pain from a minor injury can affect one’s well-being immensely!
We expect a low back injury to take some time to heal, but pain makes it seem much longer!
Pain started when we fell flat on our rump three days ago. It was one of those darned fool things: extending both hands to help Spouser rise from a chair, losing our grip, and plopping down hard on our backside. It was a very undignified accident, the kind that shows up in circus clown routines. There was very little pain at the time, although we felt spinal compression as the top and the bottom portions of our trunk met at our waist.
It was a Sunday and the doctor’s office was closed. We phoned our insurance company’s Advice Nurse. She took us through a couple of symptom check lists and found nothing to cause alarm. She recommended applying ice to the sore area, taking our usual pain medicine, and keeping in motion so the muscles would not freeze up. The nurse said that the immediate soreness in our midsection was probably some muscle spasms. Current treatment for low back pain involves walking around as possible and avoiding bed rest.
It is annoying to notice pain in body parts that are usually trouble-free!
It would be interesting to learn the names of the painful structures, but we do not feel well enough to research online or to dig out muscle maps. One soon learns which movements avoid. Lying down and getting up again are problematic (read: very painful.) Lying back in our recliner chair works well as long as there is no reaching; but venturing beyond the midline to grab a magazine or a cup brings an instant reminder that we are still hurt. Sometimes the pain just starts up without perturbation, probably from muscle spasms. That kind is nasty, hard pain that we can’t quell because we can’t control those muscles and thus can’t stretch or relax them. Bending straight to the front is o.k.; going to the side is not.
This experience brings some previously unexamined actions to the fore: We step over the our bathtub’s rim upon entry, while holding onto a grab bar. We had no idea that our trunk rotated in the process until waist spasms pointed that out. Also, we wear an ankle brace. Lacing that up demands more than rotation—it’s more like contortion to reach everything and get the job done.
It is hard to remember a pain-free life during the acute phase of a painful injury.
It didn’t hurt that much for a while. We even hoped to escape pain altogether, but were not surprised when the soreness intensified. The pain continued to get worse throughout the evening, but did not affect sleep. Then it was Monday morning and time to stop lying in bed.
Getting out of bed would probably play well on YouTube if we recorded it.
- Line up trunk and legs with the edge of the bed.
- Sample elbow positions until the least painful one is found.
- Using the elbow as a lever, roll on the bed until our rear perches on the edge and our feet drop to the floor.
- When the legs go down, the rest sits up and slides off the bed. At this point, the most comfortable position is standing up, but bent over at the waist with torso parallel to the floor.
- Grab the back of a chair and carefully walk our hands up until we stand erect.
- Notice and honor each and every body part that announces its presence.
- Will them to shush up and retreat to the background of our attention.
- Try not to groan more than necessary.
Celebrate ordinary life, without pain and where body parts do not announce themselves.
Life can change in an instant! At the moment, ours is divided into Before the accident and After it. This injury will hopefully not last much longer. The generalized discomfort seems to be dying down, although acute twinges still occur. It’s good to be reminded from time to time of how precious good health really is. We give thanks for everything that works.
Seventeen days later:
We went to the doctor eight days after the injury and were x-rayed.. He confirmed the nurse’s instructions and changed some medication. And he reminded us that these things take a while to resolve themselves. He’s right: it’s going to take longer to recover than previously thought. The pain has morphed into a new type. It’s hard to sit upright for long, which hampers blogging and other computer work. The agonizing muscle spasms have ceased, for the most part. This whole thing is getting tiresome, fast!
Part of the annoyance is from being cooped up. For example, asking Spouser to choose blanket binding to match two pink fabrics was not fair to him or to the project. Daughter-in-law E. donated an hour to take care of it. Let’s shoot for driving a short distance by the end of next week!