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What A Pain

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

As some of you may know, I hurt my back pretty bad in the middle of November doing my new workout program. I didn't hurt myself doing anything really abnormal or crazy, I hurt myself doing a squat. I hurt myself doing a SQUAT?!?! How did I hurt myself doing something I have done thousands of over the last 18 months or so?!?!

For the better part of 3 days, I could only crawl around my house. For the better part of a week, I couldn't walk without significant pain. For the better part of this last month, I have dealt with the pain in my back. Perhaps harder than dealing with the pain is dealing with the mental side of this injury.

I have had minor injuries and pains over the last 18 months or so. I have had knee pain since I was a teenager. I have had foot pain for nearly as long, residuals of having 3 stress fractures in my feet over a six year period in high school and college. I hurt my shoulder back in January working out and was told I likely have a partially torn rotator cuff. I have even hurt my back a few times and that has kept me from working out a day or two at a time. All of those injuries I successfully rested or worked my way through.

This particular back injury in November has been a sobering reminder to me of how fragile this journey is. A reminder of how important our physical and mental well being are to what we can accomplish with our healthy lifestyle changes and how much the two are intertwined. A reminder of how one day or week we can feel like we are on top of a mountain and we will never be stopped on our way to our goal to the next day or week where it feels like we were pushed off the mountain and fell all the way to the bottom hitting every ledge and tree along the way.

I felt that. I felt like I had scaled Mount Weight Loss! I had conquered it! Why would I not think that? I went from a high of 509 lbs. in May of 2009 down to my original goal of 299 lbs. in July of 2013. I had those days, weeks where I felt like I could do no wrong. But, I have also had those days and weeks where I couldn't get out of my own way!

Yes it happens. Yes, it will happen again. There was something a little different this time. I didn't let my diet get out of control so I am thankful for that. I am thankful that my healthy lifestyle changes probably have sunk into my muscle memory enough to where I didn't let my diet be totally derailed. In the past, I am sure I would have drowned my physical pain in pizza and ice cream...and let's be honest, tacos, candy, cookies, pasta, know where I am going here.

But I did let the injury get to my spirit. I was on track and doing the best workouts I had done since late summer and then boom! No workouts! It was a unwelcomed wake-up that I could have done without. It seemed like an awful time for an injury like that but then I thought about it. When exactly is a good time for an injury like that?

That got me thinking about how fragile our journey is. If I would have had this same injury when I just started Insanity at 433 lbs., would I have kept going or would I have thrown in the towel? I have a sinking feeling, that Old Brad would have thrown in the towel.

But now, I will speak to Old Brad and use the wise words of one Tom Petty, "DON'T COME AROUND HERE NO MORE!" Old Brad won't get me where I want to go!

I am happy to say that my back and mindset are doing much better now and I am getting back on track with workouts! I will use this setback as an opportunity to learn as I go forward. I will use this reminder to propel me on to bigger and better things! I am determined to successfully navigate this holiday season eating minefield, and go into 2014 energized and ready for the best year yet!

Who's with me?

Embrace Your Possibilities

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great. Yes, you had me thinking that I feel the same way right now. Picking up the pieces after stopping has gotten so hard. i don't want to keep doing that. emoticon emoticon
    1517 days ago
    I haven't seen your name in the Spark hi-lites , for awhile--so thought I'd check in--I've missed you!--How is it going?--Lynda
    1531 days ago
  • K1TT3N
    Its great this isn't stopping you , your awesome ,keep pushing
    1552 days ago
    WE are with ya Brad! You keep inspiring us all!
    Hope your back is feeling better each day! emoticon
    1560 days ago
    Sorry about your back, hope it coming along. You write beautifully and have such great insgiht!
    1562 days ago
  • _JODI404

    Sorry to hear about your back!! I really can relate to what happened to you.

    I actually just had something similar happen to me the day after Christmas. I was starting to deadlift, and I really should have known better!! (Learn your lessons the first time Jodi!) My fist 10 reps are very light as a warm up to get into the movement properly. I actually felt mild pain in my lower back on all 10 reps. I should have stopped right there!! Next, just one step up in weight, I started rep #1, felt a super SHARP pain in my lower back, dropped the barbell and said that's it. No more. I did some hanging back extension type stretches on the GHD machine. It was BAD. I don't even know how I drove myself home in that much pain! It was exactly as you describe for the first days and week. Awful. I was actually more worried about the pain level, what damage had I done, and would I heal. I was not really worried about not working out -- it just wasn't even an option!

    I had 5 straight days of zero pain reduction. Finally, on day 6, the pain was down some. I was so relieved!! It's been 12 days now, and it is still bouncing between feeling a bit better and feeling really bad! I've made and cancelled two Dr. appts -- not sure I want to go down that path. The better days make me feel like this really does just need time, PATIENCE!, heat, stretching, and rest.

    I hope that you are healing up and doing well! I will not resume any strength training until I am completely pain free. I learned that when I am in pain in one area (core: abs or back) that when I try to execute a lift, I overcompensate for that pain in one area and that causes bad form. Bad form will = injury.

    I am with you on taking this lesson forward with me always. I do believe we will have a great year in 2014! I'm ready.... as soon as my back is as well!

    Take care!!!

    Happy New Year! It will be FULL of new possibilities!
    1566 days ago
    I'm with you! Take care and keep up the good work. Thanks for the inspiration!
    1568 days ago
    Thanks for the reminder that we are NEVER really done with this truly is fragile, so we must be ever-vigilant. Good job for you!
    1572 days ago
  • ADF1981
    Sorry about your injury. I know what you mean about the journey being fragile. I also had an injury a few months ago and it was from stretching. I was like stretching, are you serious?! But, glad that you are doing better and getting back on track. Good luck to you in 2014!
    1573 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1574 days ago
    Thank you for your wise words. I will be following your lead and telling "Old Karin" to stop talking in my ear. I am not ready to give up or let myself get down in the dumps due to things that are out of my control.

    1577 days ago
  • SBFT84
    I am with you! You got me thinking... If I gave up after an injury, I would never be walking, ( broken foot walking the dog), riding a bike, playing volleyball ( broken finger), cooking(sliced the tip of my thumb at Thanksgiving)... Thanks for dealing with the mental aspects of our journey and the problems we create with our old habits of thinking. So, Old Sherry, don't come around here no more, cuz I'm on the road to health and conquering the weightloss mountain with Brad !
    1579 days ago
    So glad your feeling better lil' monkey. I know what your going through. I have had back issues since I was 18. At least your back went out doing something that was somewhat athletic. A squat. My back has gone out because of the lamest reasons. It didn't go out while I was ski jumping. Nor did it go out while doing a reverse swan dive in the pool. No, it happened while putting dishes in the dishwasher, it happened while toweling off after a shower. And my favorite, it happened once just standing up. Does this make you feel better? I'm pretty sure I've done these things more than a thousand times too! Be proud that you did it in a manly way. Working on your glutes and quads! I actually sneezed and threw my back out once!

    What I hate the most about a back injury is that it immobilizes you completely. If you hurt your arm, you can use your legs. Or vice versa. So frustrating. Take it easy and don't over do it. Since it's the holiday season, it's the perfect time. Let those kiddies of yours wait on you.

    I'm ready, and I'm with ya. At least I will be after January 1st. Deal? I do my best work between January and May. Can't wait to get started. Until then, if your looking for me, I will be over in the corner nibbling on a xmas cookie.

    Merry, Merry Christmas, Brad.
    Your friend,

    1581 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    Glad you are back!
    1582 days ago
    I'm with you, too. YOU ROCK (as does Tom Petty.)
    1584 days ago
    I'm with ya!
    1584 days ago
    I've suffered from backache, too, sometimes. Squats can be dangerous , many trainers allow people to bend which can be quite dangerous, back emoticon should be kept very straight.
    Anyway I've read errors pile in our back and sometimes pain is just a consequence of many different small hurts!

    Thanks for posting though!!! emoticon
    1585 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/20/2013 4:23:27 AM
    brad, you are an inspiration! i just came back to sp after an illness, and we need to keep pushing forward. thanks for the reminder!
    1585 days ago
    I'm happy to hear you are feeling better. NEVER throw in the towel (I know you won't). It sucks when an injury slows us down. But, we must keep going (moving)! You have the right attitude!
    1585 days ago
  • RENATA144
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1586 days ago
    You know how I feel about you... you're a whiney little diva! Er, I mean SUPER STAH!!! LOL! I can't imagine how hard it was for you to NOT work out. You're a machine when it comes to sticking with the plan, and being down like that, I'm sure, was nearly impossible. You're so awesome, such an inspiration, and a truly wonderful friend. I'm so proud of you for not getting derailed with food during all of this, and I'm so glad you're back in the game! I need someone to play with =)
    1586 days ago
    Hope u get better brad.... I know it might be super difficult but all our prayers are wirth u and u have a super strong mindset that shall bring you back in the game sooner than you think.... Untill that time , take this time on the bench to read up on your injury and see how you can work around it ....

    ALL THE BEST !!!!!

    Love your attitude !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! emoticon
    1586 days ago
    Brad I am so sorry about your back but glad to see you are on your way back!! I hurt my knee and fortunately for me I also caught a virus at the same time. I say fortunate because that is my reason I am staying out of the gym. I am suppose to not do a lot of working out right now anyway so I have to use the double excuse or I would be at the gym. Some of us are so hard headed. Goodluck to you!
    1586 days ago
    I love that old (1987) song by Sting "Fragile". Shall I sing it for you? We are indeed fragile, but to the degree we are fragile, we are also incredibly strong. Here's to enduring strength in 2014!
    So happy to hear you are mo-bile once again!
    1586 days ago
    Yay! I'm so glad you're able to work out again! I'm even happier that you're feeling better - that is great news!

    I'm definitely with you for making 2014 the best year yet. I WILL reach my goal weight in 2014 and that alone will go a long way toward making it a great year!

    Thank you for being such an inspiration to us all!! :)
    1586 days ago
    Dude, I'm so with you. 2013 was a year of many victories, but there's only more to come in 2014. New challenges, new obstacles, new set-backs and new opportunities to learn and reclaim momentum. I look forward to taking every step alongside you. :-D I laughed out loud when you emphasized your injury being the result of a squat - something you've done 1000 times or more - because it's so strange how our bodies can handle these stresses when we're not as strong and more out of shape, only to be slammed by them as we improve and become lighter. The body is a strange and fascinating piece of machinery, that's for sure. I love that all of your experiences have led you to focus your train of thought during this time to be able to grow and reflect, and just learn more about who you are now and your emotional strengths when it comes to dealing with what life throws your way. You continue to inspire me, Brad. So happy you're able to workout again, though I'm sure you're even happier. :-D
    1586 days ago
  • KATHY47802
    emoticon Brad, I totally understand the pain and dealing with the mental side of this injury. I hurt my ankle and knee this past summer while mushroom hunting (slid down a wet stick on the side of a hill), the mental part was very hard for me because I had to spend the summer not being able to power walk, do jumping jacks, pushups, planks, nothing. It took many, many months - I was thankfully able to continue working my upper body at home but I'm not sure what you can do other than keep a close eye on your diet. We all on Sparkpeople know how strong you are - not only in body but in spirit so you will pull through this. It is scary to realize how fragile our bodies are. Years ago, I was in a car accident, they hit me from behind - I ended up with whiplash. The sound I heard as my head snapped forward and my chin hit my chest is something I'll never get out of my head or ears. It scared me to see how fragile we are. I was wearing a seatbelt and ended up with a bruise from that - it took months for the whiplash to heal. While you are healing - Research - share more of your journey with us and share your injury on what you are doing to help it heal, what we should not do, etc. I kept walking on my foot after I injured it causing me to take longer to recover, when I look back - I would have stopped immediately and allowed it to heal.

    Make the new people happy who will be joining in the New Year with their new year's resolution by posting to their page !
    Take care STRONG ToUGH emoticon man that you are

    1586 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/18/2013 2:44:29 PM
  • STAY39
    I am so sorry this happened to you. I can totally relate. On Xmas eve 2007 I was lifting the stroller out of the back of my truck and down to the ground I went. I had reached over with my right arm and pulled the stroller up and whatever movement I did caused my back muscle(s) on the right side to spasm up. I had to crawl in the house and spent the next few days in pain. Well that group of muscles has gone into spasm mode on occasion since. The last time (last summer) after doing some Zumba moves it went out on me. The pain was so bad I can't even describe it but I will never forget it. I couldn't stand up straight for 5 days.

    You are right- Worse than the pain though is the affect it has on you mentally. I felt so vulnerable, so not myself. How can I take care of 3 boys like this, be a wife, clean the house, go to work, etc... This episode truly traumatized me and I live in fear of it happening again. What helps me is I now go to a massage therapist every 4-5 weeks and only do exercises that keep my back muscles aligned. Mostly Running and spin. No more Zumba, no twisting, etc.. I also be sure to stretch 3-4 days a week. I am doing the best I can to try to prevent any further spasms.

    Sorry I wrote a book here. This blog brought out these vivid memories. I really hope your back heels up quickly and you do not have to experience this ever again! emoticon emoticon
    1587 days ago
    Thanks for sharing this with us. It really struck home with me as I am now working through intense muscle pain in both legs. Sometimes I can walk, other times I'm sitting in a chair BUT I do continue doing chair exercises (thank goodness for the Chair Exercise team here on Spark!). I know this is something I will always live with - that's the key - I will LIVE!
    1587 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    I hope you continue to heal! Cold weather probably does not help...
    1587 days ago
    Rest up buddy!
    1587 days ago
    Oh I am sorry you injured yourself. glad that you are mending!
    day at a time that is all we really have.
    bizi emoticon
    1587 days ago
  • JAMER123
    Brad, your accomplishments are something you can look at on days when you can't do anything. You have done wonders for your body and it sounds like the mind is beginning to understand the process as well. I am one that has much muscle and bone pain 24/7 and I know what you are dealing with to a point. One can only do as much as your body wants to work with. When the pain is there, arm exercises work. With arm pain, the seated leg lifts work, etc. Work around it and the mind keep you in the flow of exercise. You are in a great frame of mind, Brad and keep it going!! Glad to have you back posting!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1587 days ago
    emoticon emoticon With you 100% of the way. emoticon Thanks for sharing.
    1587 days ago
    Injuries are tough. Sometimes they're tougher mentally than physically. It's not so much changing what you do when injured to manage both the weight and the recovery, as admitting that you can't manage the weight exactly the same way you did before injury.

    You have a good attitude, which makes controlling the weight possible. It will still be hard, but you can succeed.
    1587 days ago
    Brad, you have been through a lot and ACCOMPLISHED a lot. That last part is what's so important. You never gave up and aren't giving up now! You have learned so many lessons along th way, and the best part is . . . you're sharing them with all of us! I applaud you for that. I hope your recuperation is speedy.

    1587 days ago
    Like NELLJONES, I once threw out my back trying to pull one of my cats from out behind some furniture. Sometimes it doesn't take much--just a twist in a slightly different way than what you're used to.

    What you've described here can be one of the biggest roadblocks for people in this journey, especially people like you who've had such astounding success that's centered around a lot of exercise. Having been where you are before, the best advice I can give you is to work as quickly as you can to realign your eating and exercise routine (if that's even on the table for you at all right now). You've probably been able to eat a good deal more due to your high level of activity and are finding that either 1) your weight loss has stalled or 2) you're actually gaining weight. Exercise also gives you a huge endorphin rush that can squash your cravings for unhealthy food, so try to find something else that will replace that or you might find yourself reaching for foods that haven't passed your lips in quite some time.

    Think of this as a valuable training period for future tough spots. The lessons you learn as you push through this time will serve you well as you hit other roadblocks such as other injuries or illnesses, stress and periods of lower motivation. Just being able to push through and not give up is often enough to ensure that you don't get totally derailed if you're willing to be patient with yourself and hang on as best you can. Once you heal up, your stress calms down or your motivation begins to pick up again, you'll be back to your old self and routines as if practically nothing ever happened.

    Good luck seeing this through and navigating this little bump in the road and let me know if you ever need anything.
    1587 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/17/2013 5:13:34 PM
    emoticon Don't forget to warm up, cool down then stretch while your muscles are warm. "Getting older isn't for sissies!" My hubby was having back pain and figured out that he needs to stretch and also strengthen his core.

    Thanks for your blog. You are inspiring.
    1587 days ago
  • MRSP90X
    Even non-exercise related injuries show how fragile we are. I am with you!!
    1587 days ago

    emoticon I'M WITH YOU!!! We're ending strong and starting even stronger!!! Oh yes!!! I'm sorry that you were derailed for a moment, but you accomplished something MAJOR throughout this humbling learning experience. You NEVER gave up, you NEVER quit! You kept right on going with your healthy eating, even though you were unable at that time to exercise. You nursed your back into a condition where you could start taking baby steps, again, for working out. Brad, you stared down the face of the devil and you WON!!! You're an inspiration to me!!! I'm so sorry that this happened to you, but you've learned and have grown from this experience. It was turned around into a blessing for you!!! What Satan meant to harm you, God turned it around for his glory and your blessing!!!

    Be blessed, my dear friend,

    - Nancy Jean -
    1587 days ago
    I'M WITH YOU! emoticon I'm actually working on my "bounce back" skills since my bounce had become so flat it would just go splat.

    I'm so sorry for your injury and I see you've been through a lot of injuries in the past. I'm glad you are much better and can work out again. emoticon

    As much as I'd like to be a runner again, after my knee and foot surgeries, I've decided I'm going to be happy to do 1-2 minutes of running alternated with walking, when on my treadmill. That will the extent of my running. My injuries and surgeries these past two years showed me that it's much more important for my mental, emotional, and physical health to be able to walk, bike, and lift weights than to be able to run a few miles again.

    Let's have a healthy 2014 emoticon
    1587 days ago
  • EJB2801
    I really appreciate your reminder that our journey to good health - and in maintaining good health - is fragile. While it's absolutely justified to celebrate the conquering of fitness goals, it's also important to recall that victories are a gift as well as the fruits of our hard work. We seldom know what another person has battled to get as far as they have. So many life stories her on Sparkpeople challenge me to persevere because I see how members have overcome various health conditions and setbacks. I hope you see continued recovery. I'm going to remember your determination to enter 2014 energized and ready for the best year yet.
    1587 days ago
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    1587 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    Injuries are such a setback, not easy working through all the pain. Glad you got the proper mindset back. I am working on mine, I have frozen shoulder and I have to work through the pain everyday, and I am moving forward, WE CAN DO THIS!! emoticon emoticon
    1587 days ago
  • CAROL_31649731
    Brad, you are so right! It is amazing how much your physical and mental well being collide . . . and how fragile this journey can be. You have navigated it so very well, though. Continue to improve physically, my friend. Mentally, you're already on the right path to successfully avoid those minefields! emoticon emoticon
    1587 days ago
    1587 days ago
    Bravo, Brad!! It's so amazing when we can stop and take an honest look at what is happening and grow...move forward instead of retreating back to what is comfortable where our old self lives. You have written a blog that speaks to so many of us. And I agree with the injured spirit being worse than the back injury.

    To use a bad joke...going from squats to doing diddly squat...and what a great accomplishment that you didn't let it derail you. Proud to be on this journey with you!!
    1587 days ago
    Wow! I am so proud of you for not letting your injury derail your diet! That is a HUGE accomplishment! Unlike you, I did let my (emotional) setback affect my diet and am now carrying an extra 10 pounds that I have to lose again! Hopefully, I will be stronger (like you) when another unexpected setback comes my way! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Brad! You are an inspiration!
    1587 days ago
    somehow, it's not as embarrassing as hurting your butt while doing a squat though. I've done that at the hard to explain without everyone laughing "I hurt my butt doing squats and...." yeah that's as far as I've ever made it.

    Hope your back is feeling better by the day and we shall continue on the fragile journey :o)
    1587 days ago
    hope you feel better soon Brad.
    I'm also suffering an injury and totally understand where you're coming from where you say it injures your spirit.
    We just have to determine that we will be successful and carry-on and I know we will as you are.
    Keep up the great work!

    1587 days ago
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