Bad Back!

Sunday I was bending over to push a tee into the soft ground on number 5 North when it happened — a sudden pop of hot red pain in the small of my back.  I staggered a bit and tried to stretch it out, but it was no use.  I attempted a pathetic shot at the green, then realized my day on the links was over.

It got worse, and by Monday my condition was even more painful.  I couldn’t bend over without surging flashes and my walk was an old man’s shuffle.  When I tried to walk the dogs Monday morning any misstep led to spasms and herky-jerky reactions that must have made me look like a fitfully directed marionette.  I’ve tried taking ibuprofen and applying heat, but the improvement has been marginal, so today I’m seeing a doctor.

In addition to feeling like a Visigoth is hacking at the base of my spine, I’m also just disappointed in my back.  With a few, brief exceptions it’s been a pretty good back.  Not an athlete’s back or a weightlifter’s back, but solid, reliable, and fully capable of lugging multiple bags through an airport, holding two kids in my arms, or controlling wayward, lunging dogs without ill effect.  We’ve been through good years together.  What’s happened, my bodily friend?  What has brought us to this painful point in our journey?  Will you now become greedy and needy, demanding constant attention and tender care as part of my daily routine?

As I have been moving gingerly about the house and at work over the past two days, I’ve realized that the phrase “bad back” could be read not only as a description of a back’s condition, but also as a scolding admonition of a back that has fallen short of expectations — much as you might scold a dog that has chewed up a new pair of shoes.  Bad back!  Bad, bad back!  That’s how I feel.

4 thoughts on “Bad Back!

  1. WB, I’ve had two lumbar laminectomies (lower back surgeries) and heat is most definitely not the answer. It feels good initially but won’t really help with your discomfort. Ice (those squishy hot/cold packs are marvelous!) wrapped in a nice soft piece of worn t-shirt or flannel is much more restorative. Walking as you can tolerate it is good, sitting is bad (a challenge for you, working in an office and flying all over the place) Ibuprofen is good with plenty of water throughout the day and a little something (milk or a couple of crackers) in your stomach. Sometimes putting a pillow or two beneath your knees while you’re lying on your back is helpful too. The good news here is that for the majority of patients back pain will resolve over time.


    • I hope your doc had some good suggestions. I tried massage therapy for a quite a while and it offered relief for a few hours afterward. I am hoping you have wrenched a muscle and pain will resolve once the swelling goes down so you can live happily ever after.


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