Well, my back hasn’t gotten any better since February. OK, it got better, but then on Easter Sunday I went for a run and, halfway through, I suddenly felt the same lower-back seizing that laid me out initially. I was able to finish the run, but it was enough to convince me to get myself to a doctor the next day.
My doctor did pretty much what I expected him to: took some X-rays, gave me some meds, and told me to call him in a week if it wasn’t better. In a week it was still hurting, so I called, and he gave me a script for physical therapy.
Yesterday was my first session.
I go to the Sports Medicine & Training Center in Webster Groves. They’re actually not on my insurance plan, but I pay a little extra because I really like them; they were very helpful with a knee problem I had two years ago, and they helped out my son with his knee problem a couple of years before that.
Scott, the head PT there, put me through a pretty rigorous examination,and then had me lie down on a table while he wheeled over a skeleton. OK, this is me in 60 years, I get it. But he went into a lengthy explanation about vertebrae and discs and openings for nerves to pass through and the “design flaw” at the base of the spine and how a disc is like a jelly doughnut. Yes, really: a jelly doughnut, but the outside of the doughnut is more like a radial tire.
His diagnosis — I have a bulging disc, or more accurately a herniated disc. Probably L4-L5, he said. As with my knee problem, he gave a much clearer and more thorough explanation — and I think a more accurate diagnosis — than the doctors I had seen.
So we began a course of therapy that’s supposed to keep the jelly in the doughnut, so to speak. He figures it will be about six weeks or so. It’s now been two weeks since I last ran, and it will be at least another week before he wants me to try running again. That’s OK; after my experience the last time, I’m not too anxious to get started until I’m sure I can be relatively pain-free. But so much for my dreams of racing this spring. I was in a race this morning in fact — the Jim Schoemehl Run at Webster Groves High School — but I just walked the 5K, rather than running. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into racing shape by the end of the summer…