Back At ItI haven't posted many stories lately. I have been running about 64 km (40 miles) per week for several years, minus a week or month here or there because of work travel or other pressing matters of life. Running was one of the most stabilizing factors of life and a great source of physical and emotional fitness for me. If I wasn't running regularly, I knew that things were out of balance and in need of rebalancing. My regular doctor likes the fact that I run, and he has encouraged me to actually increase my exercise. With a full-time job, long hours, and frequent travel, 64 km per week requires a significant time commitment, but I'm open to doing more or adding something else to the pavement pounding.
A vehicle collision four months ago has left me with an arm injury that will eventually heal following surgery three weeks ago. It has also left me with back pain. I've never before lived with spinal pain. It didn't stop me from running, although it altered my gait and left me hurting in other places that had never hurt before from running. Every day for four months, and continuing, I have awakened and fallen asleep with a sore lower back. It hurts all day, and has left me without restful sleep.
An orthopaedic spine specialist referred me for physical therapy five weeks ago. The first instruction: stop running. I followed the instruction, but I also knew that with a damaged arm there was essentially no way to both increase exercise (my regular doctor's advice) and stop running. I mean I could swim four hours per day, but then I'd have to quit my job.
After a few weeks of this, and sliding deeper and deeper into a pattern of poor sleep, getting up an hour earlier for work because things like shoelaces and buttons take twice as long with one hand, physical therapy appointments, unsatisfying alternative exercise without running, and falling farther and farther behind at work, it was time to rebalance. Moreover, my back was getting worse, not better, and my overall fitness was declining rapidly.
Last week, I began running again. My decision. The surgeon who worked on my arm doesn't have a problem with it. I'm adjusting to the reality that I may have lower back pain every day for the rest of my life. The spine specialist may never offer anything that provides relief.
My life and outlook may never go back to the way things were four months ago, but I feel a sense of wellbeing and balance that was missing for the weeks without running.