An uninvited time out.

Yoga took a bite out of me this week.

Well, let me back up. About 6 weeks ago, I was on my last snowboarding run of a fun day at Snowbird with John. The last run is always the one where falls happen- your legs are tired, your mind is already on your après ski cocktail- and for one split second, you lose focus.

I tumbled. Hard.

More in shock than hurt, I slid my way down to the locker room and felt relieved that I was done for the day. Over the next couple days, I had sore muscles from the fall- I expected that. But as my shoulders and quadriceps felt better, a soreness in my lower back remained.

I’ve been lucky never to have back issues. I know that for many people, one back injury is all it takes to have a lifetime of trouble. I didn’t want to be that person. So my acupuncturist focused on the area during a couple of visits and I have been stretching often. I’d pulled out my yoga mat and spoke to a friend in yoga training, and downloaded some programs on my yoga app. I even put together a killer music mix to practice to!

Last weekend, I had some emotionally difficult stuff going on in my personal life, and felt that pit of anxiety in my tummy. I headed to the yoga mat, pulled up a “de-stress” series of poses, switched on my yoga mix, and started to breathe. I’d breathe my anxiety away. I looked out at the blue sky and our back hill, soaking it in. About halfway through the series, I tried a pose I’d never done- sort of a plank, but with my back to the ground and face to the sky. As I lifted my pelvis upward and pointed my toes, straightening my body, I felt a painful twinge. A sharp tweak, right where the soreness in my lower back had been. It was enough that I felt like my entire back was on the verge of a spasm, so I slowly stretched and breathed and relaxed until I felt like I could safely get up.

Within a few hours, I was camped out on the living room floor, flat on my back with an ice pack under me. OUCH.

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My sweet hubby brought me snacks and ibuprofen and magazines and water in a sippy cup. I laid there, feeling a tad sorry for myself. I watched chick flicks. (I have officially reached my “Bridesmaids” limit. I have not, however, seen “It’s Complicated” enough times.)

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Over the next couple of days, the pain didn’t diminish. I tried everything– stretching, ibuprofen, aspirin, my stinky herbal topical patches, a muscle relaxer, pillows under my knees, WINE. During another visit to my acupuncturist, she even called me her “little porcupine”- how many needles does that nickname require?

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But no matter what, the pain seemed to be more constant and slowly getting worse. I couldn’t get comfortable laying down, and sitting at my desk was impossible. When I finally woke John up with my stifled tears early Thursday morning, we both agreed it was time to see a doctor.

Really? Yoga- and my attempt to find calm– landed me HERE? I felt frustrated and sad, but ready to find out what was the matter. I heard John talking on the phone about a herniated disc. I heard the word “shot.” I paced the doctor’s office (because sitting on the examination table hurt too much) and described my dilemma. Apparently, the doctor said, it’s an SI joint strain. It’s a very common lower back injury. She prescribed a stronger ibuprofen substitute and a small amount of painkillers (for comfort during our upcoming road trip). She directed me to a website for SI joint-specific pain. And then she recommended a steroid shot, which would give me pretty immediate relief.

Guys, I know I go to an acupuncturist. But I hate shots. I’d say shots rank #2 out of my biggest fears. I felt my back throbbing, told myself to BUCK UP, and looked away while she injected something into my arm. Something that made my whole shoulder feel like someone had punched it for about an hour. I may or may not have cried a teensy bit once John and I were alone. (Call the wahhhh-mbulance.) John took me out for wine lunch.

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I spent the afternoon on the floor. The painkiller helped, and the steroid shot FINALLY kicked in, hours later. For now, life is little bits of productivity and big bits of laying around. My office chair is now a physioball (still hurts to sit on).

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I’m feeling disappointed that my motivation to practice yoga regularly has been put on hold. I’m gazing outside at our spring-teaser weather (61 degrees!) and want to go play. I’ve had multiple mini-meltdowns and I’m positive I haven’t been fun to be around. We’ve been doing meals from the freezer and take-out, when what I really want to do is create something in the kitchen- something decadent and chocolatey and feel-better-ish.

Honestly, It’s hard to keep my chin up when I’m in pain and feeling so frustrated. We have a week-long trip starting on Sunday that I need to prepare for. I’ve been so excited about our first road trip of the season, but now I’m apprehensive about that many hours, seated in the car.  We’ll be coming home to houseguests when we return, which is so fabulous, but I feel pressure to make sure we’re ready. But there’s only so much I can do. I need to listen to my body.

Truth be told, this is one of those times where I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am so thankful that I have an attentive, loving Doctor Hubby who takes really good care of me, and doesn’t judge me when I’m acting like a big baby. I’m grateful that I am not in a position to have to use up sick days at work. I’m grateful that my sweet hound seems to know that Mama’s not well and has designated ME as her (temporary) favorite human.

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We’ve got a freezer filled with stuff I’ve made over the last few months, and my husband is a way better cook than I am. I have the hall pass to catch up on my stack of outdated magazines and watch as many chick flicks as I can handle. I’ve got medicine to help relieve the discomfort while I heal and a pretty comfy NEST in which to do so.

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I’ve got an awesome week of desert warmth in my near future, full of family and dear friends. Even with a backache, I really do feel lucky.

Most of all, I’m thankful that even though I’m feeling bad this week, I’m still on good terms with the bright side. 

And, yoga- I forgive you. I’ll revisit you soon.

Have you suffered from a stay-off-your-feet injury? What did you do to keep your chin up

27 replies »

      • Yes, I know it, it’s upward plank (or, if you want to get fancy, purvottanasana). It’s great to open up the front line of your body, but it does compress your lower back, so I can totally understand how your injury happened.

        Taking a little time apart is ok, she’ll be there when you feel better. It is so hard to NOT be able to practice yoga. It just makes you need it even more! 🙂

  1. I’m sorry yoga made your injury worse, that’s no fun at all. Last summer I messed up one of my shoulders and thought it was OK after a few days but then I face planted in downward dog (one of my fav. positions) and was in massive pain. I ended up in the ER for it (torn rotator cuff) and got a shot also (ouch). Long story short I’m just now getting back into yoga and while it still feels strange it’s coming back to me. I hope you have a speedy recovery and that you can get back into yoga and have fun with your family and guests!

  2. Amber!! Please heal quickly. I am glad that you haven’t written off yoga entirely for being a right b*tch and that you’ll be reunited in the future. Have a good weekend and take it easy, okay?

  3. Oh mama I’m so sorry you are feeling so down! I know how you feel. The reason why I am always and always will be in pain is because my S1 is damaged in multiple spots. No way to to fix it :(.

    Love you stay cozy and watch some movies for those of us with kids lol. I will be watching the princesses for the bazillionoth time!!

  4. There is nothing worse than being laid up with an injury just when the weather starts to turn! My trick knee and I feel you hunny! It sounds like you’re doing everything right though – listening to your body and being patient with yourself. Keep it up!

  5. Feel better, Amber! I’m so sorry that you tweaked your back. I hope your road trip is going smoothly and you’re not in any pain. You’ll be hopping around in no time!

  6. The back is the worst place for pain…well maybe tied with the head! I think I injured myself doing the same reverse plank on saturday, but for me it was my shoulder. Ouch! Maybe that’s just a pose to skip 😦 Hope you had a great trip!!

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