Yesterday, April 13, was an auspicious anniversary for me. It was April 13 last year when I went downstairs to get the laundry in the morning, bent over to pick up the basket off the floor, and was instantly assaulted by the most excruciating back pain I had ever imagined. In fact, I’d never imagined pain could be as bad as this — labour was a walk in the park by comparison.
As I lay on the laundry room floor screaming for help, I was convinced (insofar as I was capable of conscious thought) that this was going to be the beginning of a mid-life crisis of back pain, that now that I had “thrown my back out” it would never be right again and I would be permanently semi-crippled, or at least subject to recurring bouts of “bad back” which would curtail my freedom and enjoyment of life.
Never let it me said that I don’t go straight for the drama.
As it turned out, I had pulled a muscle in my lower back, and while the pain was intense for a few days and serious for a few more, within a couple of weeks I was back (ha ha) to normal, and I have not had another bad bout of back pain, or anything close to it, for a year.
Odds are that this was a random, one-time event and that it might never bother me again. I do find that I’m more careful now, though, about how I move and what I do. I take any mild twinges of back pain quite seriously and try to get extra rest. I have taken up yoga and tried to be more conscientious about getting regular exercise, and even though I am still far less active than lots of women my age who are True Jocks, I really do think that trying to stay active, especially the flexibility that comes with doing even a little yoga, is partly responsible for the fact that I haven’t had any further trouble.
I also find myself, these days, with a lot more respect for people who have back troubles, because I’ve had a tiny glimpse of how bad it can be. Mostly, I’m just really, really grateful that in my case it went away and didn’t come back. I hope it never does.