The Lower Back Injury 

Anytime I write about an injury to my body. I feel passionate about pointing out I’m far from a doctor. The purpose of writing about them would be the hope for someone to gleam something from the post. These posts are more about my curiosity around the things I could do better. Hoping to prevent more setbacks due to injury. I’m beginning to understand that injuries like the one to my lower back can happen for many reasons. Though, the main culprit to the dislodging of my level hips was probably a desk chair. The story appears to travel more deeply than the switch of a chair. Because, many complicating factors can impact an injury, or the recovery from one. I’m often quick to blame cerebral palsy for every little injury. Believing the tightness of my body must have been a main reason for the pain. Thinking people switch out chairs all the time, probably without being left hurt for the next week. Though, I don’t have any sort of knowledge to back up the claim. The thought led to an interesting conversation about complicating factors. Before the lower back situation with the chair, my behaviors had been altered. My trainer spent some time out of town. Leading us to go without a session for a couple weeks. I looked upon the situation as a break from workouts. I didn’t exercise on my own, or do any stretching. While, eating and drinking, whatever sounded good. It was a break and I celebrated. My situation was not helped by the choices.  

Let’s talk about the chair. The place where this whole thing began to unravel. I needed to move the desk chair I was using to another location. Leaving me without one to use for my desk at home. A place I tend to spend much of my time when inside the house. My thinking was, an extra chair from the dining table would work in the interim. As, I planned to find a replacement chair after a short while. My struggle was the wooden seat of the chair. It was uncomfortable to spend long periods of time on the seat. The chair had been used previously at a small desk in my bedroom. The desk wasn’t used often, but I had purchased a pad for the chair. Attempting to add some cushion to the seat. The cushion was placed on the chair, but it still wasn’t feeling comfortable. Following the first couple days of sitting in the chair. I went for an adjustment with chiropractor Dr. Dana. It was a usual scheduled adjustment and my hips were off for the first time in a while. They were off by about a sixteenth of an inch, nothing to be alarmed about. Though, I was feeling some pain from the hip displacement. Following the adjustment, I thought softening up the seat might help. It might also make the chair more comfortable. I replaced the pad on the chair with a pillow. Again, the situation was not helped by the choice. 

I didn’t fully understand the implications of sitting on the pillow. When I returned to the office of Dr. Dana a few days later, I found out. Instead of my body healing from my hips being off a sixteenth of an inch. The hip displacement had become worse during the week. Our second appointment was due to the worsening of my injury. As I get adjusted by Dr. Dana twice per week to help manage my disability. So, we could call this second appointment part of my routine checks. My hips had gone from being off a sixteenth of an inch to being off an eighth of an inch. When my hips get off by an eighth of an inch, the real pain starts. It becomes painful to walk. I maneuver my leg in different ways as I step in an effort to relieve the pain. My steps on the left side, where the injury was, were taken gently. The week was painful. But, I removed the pillow from the chair at my desk and only sat in it for a maximum of ten minutes per day. The following week, my hips were back to level and the pain began to subside. The tenderness in my lower left back remained for the following week. Though, I was able to get back to meaningful workout sessions. The surprising aspect of the injury was the impact of one single change to my routine. But, when Dr. Dana provided me with a visual of what most likely took place, I could better understand. 

Placing the pillow on the chair was causing the uneven surface. My attempt to soften the surface of my desk chair made thing worse. As Dr. Dana showed in his demonstration, the longer I sat on the uneven surface, the more of my weight went to one side. And I was sitting in the chair, on the pillow, for long time periods. Standing up just long enough to adjust the pillow when the seat became uncomfortable again. To make things worse, after watching the demonstration of Dr. Dana, the way I was adjusting the pillow wasn’t helpful. Of course, to get the most cushion out of the seat, I would scrunch the pillow into more of a ball formation. Attempting to double up on the impact of its padding. Well, the process of adding comfort to the chair was creating an even more uneven surface in which to sit. My weight was spending more time bearing down on hips that were placed in an even more uneven position. The result was days of really challenging pain. One of the takeaways from the situation has to do with sitting on firm surfaces. The challenge with hard surfaces for me has always been part of my life. Even looking at them before I sit gives me discomforting feelings. Wondering if I can sit on a hard surface without walking away with pain. I want to blame cerebral palsy for this fact. But, I’m beginning to conclude, there are probably more factors. As, other people probably have trouble sitting on hard surfaces. 

There were probably a multitude of factors leading to this injury. Along with the other injuries I sustain every now and then. They all can’t simply be blamed on the fact that I have CP. People living without the disability sustain injuries as well. Cerebral palsy just happens to be an added factor in my life. While, cerebral palsy is a factor I don’t have control over. Many other factors that contribute to the susceptibility of injury, I do have control over. Even though there was going to be a break in my training sessions. I still could have continued going to the gym on my own. Working out to continue the movement in my body and keep stretching my muscle. Which, works in direct contrast of the tightness and rigidity cerebral palsy inflicts on my body. I could have worked on continuing to monitor my diet. Instead of eating and drinking whatever sounded good because of my decision to break from the work outs. Breaking from the workouts, the stretching, and my unmonitored diet, allowed for added inflammation in my body. My decision also allowed for emotional stress to elevate and sleep to be disturbed. As exercise helps reduce stress and improve sleep, along with helping other complicating factors on the list. Cerebral palsy isn’t the only factor contributing to my injuries. But, an added item to keep in mind when making choices. 

There is a blessing in the factors I can control. Those complicating factors, if controlled to the best of my ability, can help my disability. The discipline involved in controlling those factors has been challenged in recent years. As I fall into the trap of looking for ways to soothe physical and emotional pain. Pushing the limits in the hopes of getting away with the soothing behaviors. But, sometimes it takes an incident or injury to jolt us back into reality. To wake us up to listen, when the message might be challenging to hear. I have been told over and over again to work on these contributing factors. Encouraged to work more diligently on my diet, elevate my work out sessions, and continue to stretch my body consistently. But, I fall back into the trap of allowing physical and emotional pain to hold the power. The back injury sustained a couple weeks ago spoke volumes. It didn’t feel like the small tweaks in my body I have grown accustomed to. The lower back injury made it painful to stand from a seated position. There was cringing with nearly every step taken. And the rail along the stairs was needed to walk up any staircase. If I can work more diligently at controlling the contributing factors I can control. Along with keeping away from long periods of time seated on uneven or unforgivingly firm surfaces. Maybe, I can limit this amount of pain in my future.  

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