A little over a year ago, I hurt my back somehow. I don’t remember exactly what I did, I just remember that one of my hips looked higher than the other and I had some pretty intense pain for a few days. I rested and saw my chiropractor, and it gradually subsided and all was well again.
Or so I thought.
That pain began to recur with increasing frequency over the next few months. Each time my right hip would hike up several inches and, and as a result I had trouble walking, bending, lifting, rolling over in bed and just moving in general.
Sometimes the pain wouldn’t be too bad, other times it was unbearable. For a while I thought it was just that my ligaments and muscles were still recovering after Prince Will’s birth–I read all about relaxin and figured everything would eventually settle and things would get better. I saw my chiropractor and RMT regularly, and things did improve. My hips seemed to be hiking up less frequently, and they usually settled with an adjustment or deep tissue massage and I would be good to go. I figured that by the time I was a year post-partum that this would be way behind me.
Except that my little deadline came and went and my back /hip issues were still occurring. I saw a pelvic floor physiotherapist, and she couldn’t identify any specific issue or problem, so I was hoping it was nothing serious. I had a good long spell in the late summer / early fall without any issues and I began to think that maybe, just maybe the worst was behind me. I had a good 6 weeks with no issues and it was glorious. I started running again, lived life without pain and briefly remembered what things were like with full mobility.
Then September happened. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but my back went out again and there was no helping it. I saw the chiropractor, RMT, did all my usual stretches and tricks to help calm the muscles (rest, epsom salt bath, ice, etc) and it just wasn’t having it. The pain was as bad as the initial injury, and it hadn’t been that painful in months. After having a good cry in my bed, I decided to accept that this was more than just post partum issues and needed to figure it out.
I have had more appointments for myself in the last month than I’ve had in years. I began weekly visits to an osteopath, and I met with my doctor to get a (long overdue) requisition for scans on my back. I went for xrays and finally got an answer:
“Lumbar scoliosis convex left with the apex at the level of L2.”
Reading that on a piece of paper was incredibly intimidating, and I’ll admit, I had (another) good cry in my car when I got it as I didn’t really understand what it meant.
I booked another appointment with my doctor to discuss the results, and I finally feel like I have a plan moving forward. There is no degeneration in my spine, no fracture and no mal-alignment. The long and the short of it is that my spine is healthy, but it is not completely straight. There is a slight curve that hasn’t really bothered me throughout my life as my body was strong and adjusted accordingly to support everything.
Then I had three babies in fairly quick succession, and two of those babies (*ahem, boys*) were a good size. As a result, my core was weakened substantially and put more strain on my back. The excess strain on my back muscles is causing intense muscular spasms which cause my hip to hike up… and in comes the pain. In short, my body is a bit of a tired mess.
The happy news is that this pain and issue shouldn’t be permanent. My doctor helped me make a plan to move forward, and we are going to reevaluate regularly to see where things are. My first hurdle is going to be losing some weight. She very gently counseled me that losing even a bit of the extra weight I’m carrying could help reduce some of the stress on my back… and I know she’s right. So, with that comes:
- Continued visits to the Osteopath to release the tension in my back, along with regular visits to an RMT.
- Core strengthening exercises to rebuild and yoga to increase mobility.
- Daily Vitamin D.
- Physiotherapy for my back.
- Careful attention to my posture, trying to avoid sitting in one spot for any long length of time.
For the first time in a long time, I feel kind of hopeful that this won’t be my new normal and might actually resolve. I’m so tired of feeling broken… I’m only 32, I feel like I should be in my prime, and yet these days I’m even afraid of washing my floor or vacuuming as I know it will cause my back to go out. I am done feeling like I can’t trust my body to do what I need it to and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get it back.