Disclaimer: Always checks with your health care provider before starting any exercise program. And then take their advice with a grain of salt.
AGMA has issues.
I think some of you know that by now.
For the most part, they are charming foibles that only endear me more to my good and extremely patient readers.
Some, not so much.
The quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” has always been a favorite of AGMA.
Honestly, I didn’t know that it was from Nietzsche. The first time I heard a version of it was on WLW radio in Cincinnati in the 1980s.
There was a DJ named Gary Burbank who created around 17 incredibly funny radio personas during his nearly 27 years with WLW.
One of Burbank’s most interesting characters was Smilin’ Blind Muddy Slim, the 60- Minute Jelly Belly Toejam Man.
Smilin’ Blind was a Blues man who had had a rough life but stayed optimistic. His favorite saying was, “What does not kill you, will only make you stronger.”
Be it Nietzsche or Smilin’ Blind, there’s a lot of wisdom in that phrase.
Some of AGMA’s issues are not strictly “Oh my God, is she crazy?” type issues. Yes, I like young men in spandex on bicycles, fantasizing about my next tattoo and sharing stories about my latest colonoscopy. To name a few.
But I also have been having more physical issues.
This does not make AGMA happy.
But I’ve decided that I am just going to ignore them. And it’s kind of working in a weird sort of way.
I have a disintegrating L3 vertebra with a compression fracture, significant multi-faceted spinal stenosis between my L4 & L5, a variety of bulging discs and scoliosis.
AND a partridge in a pear tree!
But I love to run and I’m training for a marathon (my 7th) in 2 weeks.
How is this possible? I’m really not sure.
AGMA is a very slow runner which helps. Actually, I’m a run/walker. I use the Galloway Method of interval training and do 15 second intervals.
I started having pain in my right leg/hip last year. Went to an ortho-pod for a diagnosis and a PT who helped me do as much as I could to mitigate the issues through dry needling and making some changes in how I sit, sleep, travel, etc. It worked! I was able to do the Chicago Marathon last fall – very slowly – relatively pain free.
Fast forward to AGMA’s starting to run this spring again after several months of being ill and lots of traveling. And very little running. The occasional pain I felt in my right leg/hip now became a steady pain and started making it difficult to sleep.
A trip back to the ortho-pod and an MRI revealed the source of the pain as the previously undiagnosed significant multi-faceted stenosis between L4 & L5. Basically I have stuff poking out from my vertebral body in the back and the facet joints in the front that is compressing the L4 nerve root that runs down the middle of those vertebra and goes into my legs.
The doc said as long as I can stand the discomfort, running isn’t going to make the condition any worse, so have at it. So I took her at her word and amped up my running.
But here’s the weird thing…
And as I increased my mileage, AGMA’s leg pain decreased. Now, about 80% of the time, I have little or no pain in my leg. But the pain consistently comes back when I don’t run for a few days.
It doesn’t make any sense. But I’m going with it.
Last week, I tweeted my back on the left side. But I kept up with my running and it started to improve a bit. It really got better over the weekend when we were out of town and I didn’t run for 3 days.
But damn – it came back the day after we got back.
AGMA thinks it’s our pricey ($$) Sleep Number bed. I tried adjusting my “number” last night to hopefully make things better. I got up this AM feeling worse. It kinda hurt to even walk.
Oops! Wrong number I guess.
But, it was a running morning and I was going to run come hell or high water. Even if I had to limp my way through it.
Foolhardy, you say? Stupid, you say? I don’t disagree. I was second guessing myself for the entire 2+ miles of my run/walk thing this morning.
My pain level before my run was a 7. It was a 2 after I got back home. I realize it sounds crazy and counterintuitive but something happened during those 2+ miles that “corrected” whatever was ailing my poor back.
I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t make sense.
But I’m going with it.
Is AGMA advising everybody to “play” through pain? Not really. As we age, we really do have to be more prudent.
And understand that I would never encourage anybody with any serious medical issues to go against their doctors orders. That would be irresponsible and cruel. And dangerous.
I think what AGMA has learned is that, sometimes, we – people of a certain age that is – can be too careful. Because we’re told that getting older is supposed to bring on more aches and pains, we passively accept that we can’t do X or Y anymore. We let those aches and pains dictate our level of activity. When sometimes, X and Y activity is just what our body needs to strengthen it and make it more resilient.
Inactivity can actually make things worse at times.
And to those of you who are still aghast that I ran with a sore back, AGMA did ice it for 20 minutes later on in the morning. My nod to being prudent. Feel better?
What does not kill us, will only make us stronger.
Aging gracefully my ass!