Four weeks ago yesterday, I threw out my back.
I was sitting on my floor, doing something with my phone, I heard a pop, and suddenly I couldn't move. It came out of nowhere - I wasn't even doing anything but sitting!
For the first two weeks, I couldn't stand up at all without crutches. I couldn't even sit up without leaning on something. It's just before our busiest season of the year, a season we really depend on to get us through the slow months of the next year, and I was so stressed to miss work. Even working from home was nearly impossible, because I had to hold myself sitting up with one hand, so I could only type with one hand.
All the recommendations from my PCP, holistic health care, and the internet told me to use ice and heat, and to try to keep moving, so that's what I did. I made sure I was stretching every hour and got up and tried to hobble around on my crutches every couple of hours.
Moving around hurt so much. The more I moved, the more places in my body would start to seize, and my pain level was at a 9-10 for the entire first two weeks, with no relief in sight. The stress of not being able to work was overwhelming. I cried a lot.
Somewhere during the third week, I decided to give in and just stop.
Stop trying to move. Stop trying to stretch.
Just do nothing.
I spent a few days laying down and not doing much other than reading, watching TV & movies, and scrolling on my phone.
It was only after I stopped trying so hard to get better and started giving my body the rest it needed that I finally started to feel better!
After realizing that I should have listened to my body from the beginning, even over the what the experts said, I started remembering how my body had been giving me warning signs for over a month.
I remembered all the times over the last month or so that I had been clenching my jaw and neck (something I had worked on for a long time to release). I remembered how for a few weeks I had been noticing that when I was standing, I was clenching my lower back and hips. I remembered feeling constantly exhausted because I hadn't been prioritizing the sleep I needed.
Throwing out my back didn't come out of nowhere.
I just ignored the messages my body was sending.
My body had been signaling me to rest for weeks, even months. I kept ignoring the small things, because they felt too small to pay attention to. My body was finally like, I WILL FORCE YOU TO REST.
My experience with throwing out my back serves as an important reminder - listen when your body speaks to you. Even the small messages can mean something. This doesn't mean we should worry about every little ache, pain, or feeling. It just means that when things are happening consistently, it's time to pay attention.
Our bodies let us know what we need, we just need to learn to listen.
(the flowers in the pic are unrelated to my back - they're flowers from Mike to celebrate our 4th Shopaversary this weekend and they're just so pretty, I wanted to share!)