Oooh, My Back

Posted By on October 18, 2011

I’m 34 years old now. Usually I’m not aware of this except on a few occasions:

  • When I drink my face off and try to then function the next day on little sleep
  • When I decide to eat my weight in fried food and then try to fit in my pants
  • When I think I can lift any box, regardless of weight

The first two, I can recover from. Eventually I will not be so hungover I feel like death and I can also introduce more non-fried food into my diet. But when I decide I’m superwoman and lift all the heavy things? That doesn’t end so well.

I should know better. Remember the last time I decided to lift and carry a large, heavy box? It took awhile to not have jelly arms and for those bruises to go away. I should have learned my lesson.

But I didn’t. I recently was in charge of a big event at work and it involved a big booth at an Expo Hall, which meant I needed to supply all the things for said event. This required getting boxes and boxes of materials and coordinating the printing and delivery of said materials. I had been working on everything for this event since June.

One of the days leading up to the event, I received a delivery of some printed materials down at our dock. I knew what they were and instead of waiting to have someone deliver them for me, I just did it myself.

There weren’t a lot of boxes, just about 8, and I assumed that since it was just paper, it wouldn’t be that heavy. So I leaned down to move one of the boxes off the skid, the skid that was on the ground, meaning I had to bend my six-foot frame down to the ground to pick it up. It wasn’t until I lifted it a centimeter off the ground, obviously not lifting with my legs, that I realized these boxes were fucking heavy.

But eh, what did I care? I’m young and strong. I would be fine. So I finished loading the boxes onto my cart, took them up to my storage room and then lifted them all again off the cart and onto the counter in the storage room.

About 10 minutes later, I realized my horrible, horrible mistake. I paid for every single thing I lifted. My back was SCREAMING at me. And the worst part? There was nothing I could do. I still had boxes to lift, things to move and unpack to get ready for the Expo. And then once I did that, I had to stand on my feet for two days working the Expo booth. My back was going to be sore at me! (See what I did there?)

I stocked up on Thermacare and SalonPas and Advil at the store. I did pretty well and tried not to overexert myself. That’s what interns are for. I knew once the event was over, everything would get back to normal and I could recover.

That was last week. And it got a lot better.

But now I’ve gone and done something to it again because my back? It is sore in a whole other spot than it has been for the last few weeks. So I’ve apparently healed one part and injured another.

So tell me, smart readers, how can I fix this? I know I need to rest, and I’m trying. But should I try working out more? Maybe doing the elliptical? Anything besides popping 37 Advil a day? ANYTHING?


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About the author

Kristabella, who also answers to “Hey! Drunk Girl!”, is a reformed band geek with an amazing ability to drink most people under the table. You can read her inane ramblings here, where she talks about her exciting life as a spinster with two cats and a fascination for Bacon.


11 Responses to “Oooh, My Back”

  1. Jools says:

    Have you ever done Pilates on a Reformer? I did that for the first time in physical therapy after I broke three bones in my ankle, and I enjoyed it so much that I bought a Reformer to use at home. I’ve spent most of my career as an editor, sitting a lot at work, and my Reformer has helped enormously both in helping me stretch out back/neck muscles that get tense at work, and in strengthening those muscles so I’m not a slouchy mess. (I mean, sometimes — especially on the couch on the weekend — I’m a slouchy mess, but that’s OK.) Anyway, for me it’s been a great way to avoid (or, when I don’t avoid it, to manage) pain in my back/shoulders/neck.

  2. Jessica says:

    I got nothing. I can’t turn my head to the right at the moment and it feels like someone is following me around trying to break all my ribs every time I breathe. How was this injury sustained? Reaching to turn off the damn alarm clock. Any advice I have would clearly be worthless.

    Rest up, feel better soon.
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Thanks, But I Don’t Want to See Your Crotch.

  3. Amy says:

    Yes to the working out more, but the elliptical probably won’t help. Your back muscles probably need to be worked out- if you’re at the gym, look for those handy-dandy pictures that highlight which muscles that machine works out- then go for it! (Not too much all at once, though!) Leg muscles exercises would also help, if you’re going to “lift with your legs” for heavy things.

  4. Jessica says:

    Until it stops hurting the worst thing you can do is stop moving. Old school rest is bad. Active rest is good – avoid lifting and stuff like that, but keep moving. And see if you can find someone who does restorative yoga. My local lady somehow can have me walking upright in no time at all with a gentle/restorative yoga workout.
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Monkey + Pants = Impending World Domination

  5. Ann says:

    My crazy mother bought me something called Miracle Balls (I think they’re on Amazon). You lie down on the floor and shove the ball under the spot that hurts, and stay there for 15-20 minutes. I always feel like an idiot, and for the first 10 minutes or so it doesn’t feel like it’s working. By the time you get up, though, it loosens up the muscles and feels great. Works really well on backs, necks and shoulders. Feel better!

  6. Mandee says:

    It depends on whether it’s muscular or disc related. Or both. I’ve got several herniated discs in my lower back and while that’s the main issue, I also have muscular issues related to the discs. I started doing Pilates about a year ago and it helps the muscular stuff a TON. Highly recommend it.

  7. Nyt says:

    Everything I’ve Learned About Back Pain…. through life and massage school… most of which you won’t like…

    1) When the injury first happens, alternate ice and heat in 15 minute intervals.
    2) Double or triple your water intake. The root of muscular pain is trapped lactic acid in the muscles. You need extra hydration to flush the acid from the area.
    3) To that end, no alcohol or caffeine. Both leech water from your system.
    4) Exercise is fabulous,( think yoga) however, the muscles that actually support your back the most are your abs.
    5) Invest in quality supportive shoes… Concrete floors + lousy shoes = poor spinal alignment + OUCH
    6) Finally, if you need more help, see the man at Chicago Avenue and LaSalle.

  8. Lisa says:

    I”ve sprained my neck/upper back 8 times now (just two days ago, for the eight freaking time, this time while brushing my teeth). Alternate ice and heat every fifteen minutes–although heat feels nice, the ice actually helps more to bring down the inflammations. Also take advil (or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like Aleve) to help bring down the inflammation. Muscle relaxers (need a prescription) do wonders, although I only take them at night since they knock me out.

  9. Angella says:

    Massage therapy. It works for me.
    Angella´s last blog post ..Blissed Out

  10. Erin says:

    Massage therapy, strength training (especially your abs) and a heating pad. Those are my suggestions.
    Erin´s last blog post ..Runners Must Be Crazy

  11. Sister P says:

    Do I know back pain????? HAHAHHAHAHAH Keep moving with good shoes!!! Do lots of core exercises!!! Go to physical therapy – that shit is GREAT!!!!!!!! PS. I thought you were going to write about Mike???