Back Pain and Running

So, I’m really starting the year off right.  Today, I had not one, but two root canals (bumped my front tooth a few years ago and it cause the root to die) and found out that my bulging L4 L5 disc is, in fact, herniated.  As you can imagine, it has been a stellar day.

I am a nurse and have had trouble with my back for about 8 years now.  I had 2 successful spinal injections about 6 years ago.  The back pain came back with a vengeance about a year ago.  Two follow-up injections were unsuccessful and  has led me to see a neurosurgeon.

What does all this have to do with running? Well, innumerable  people have blamed my back pain on my running (one person also blamed it on my breast augmentation).  I  disagreed but didn’t have an expert opinion to back me up.  Until today!!!

I very casually asked my Dr. if I could continue running (while holding my breath and praying)  and if he thought my back pain was caused by running.  To which he responded, “If you didn’t run, then you’d be fat and your back would hurt anyway.”   I will say it got a little awkward after that when, after just meeting him, I told him I wanted to kiss him.

I have never tried a PT program for my back issues so he would like me to do PT for at least a month to see if there is any improvement.  If not, he recommends a microdiscectomy.

I am both apprehensive and relieved.  My back pain is quite bad at times and now I know why.  However, the unsolicited advice I was given regarding my back problems was nothing short of astounding.  I was really made to feel like if I couldn’t walk, then there really wasn’t a problem with my back.  One co-worker (who is lucky enough to have no aches or pains) said, “People should expect to have pain.” Ummm what?! Yes, there are times (ie. childbirth, surgery etc.) when one should expect a reasonable amount of pain.  However, pain day in and day out is wearing and not “to be expected.”

On a positive note, all this back pain has really made me a more empathetic nurse and person.   So now more than ever, when someone is in pain, I stop and sincerely express  how sorry I am that they are hurting.  And then I try my best to do something about it. For what its worth.

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