This week I had an unfortunate run-in with an old enemy… back pain! Having degenerative disc disease, I always have a lingering level of lower back pain but this had the added fun of sciatica pain down my leg as well as pain in my arm. This was all spurred from tweaking my back while gardening last Sunday and gradually got worse as the week went by. I am also still recovering from my post-Africa injury. My toe still remains wrapped from my run in with an evil escalator at the Atlanta airport 30 minutes after getting off a 17 hour flight. The limping was probably adding fuel to the back pain fire. I woke up on Friday morning in so much pain I resorted to going to a doctor since I had exhausted all of my typical flair-up remedies (heat & ice, yoga, ibuprofen and the chiropractor was closed until Monday for Easter). Some steroids and muscle relaxers later, I am able to move but not quite like a normal human being yet.
One thing I noticed with my more crippled than normal demeanor was the amount of other graduate students who could sympathize with my back pain. The school year is almost over so, at least for me, stress levels are rising with trying to be on top of coursework, making sure I have a solid game plan for my research over the summer, and financially freaking out as I watch my savings dwindle away before my eyes on boring everyday life stuff and not the fun stuff I want to be spending it on. Sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen for hours on end isn’t the best for one’s back either. Basically, we all feel like old people moaning and groaning as we stand up from our chairs or bend over to pick something up.
I may not be one to be preaching since I am currently heavily medicated for back pain but here are some suggestions (which I obviously didn’t follow myself) for keeping your back healthy during all the craziness:
● Take a break... Get up from that computer desk every so often and stretch.