I threw out my back on Wednesday.
I'd taken the girls to Lowes, where I bought spray paint for my new office chair and got a bunch of paint swatches for the half bath and as we were getting ready to leave the store, I needed Coco to get back in the stroller. The parking lot was fairly busy and since Zuzu was being an Authentic Mermaid at that point (meaning she couldn't walk due to having a mermaid tail instead of feet), I'd put the girls in the double stroller. Of course, Coco didn't want to get back in and decided to fight me, so as we created a small scene near the check outs, I bent over the stroller to buckle her in, lifting her slightly to adjust her in the seat as she flailed around, and suddenly I felt a pop and hot pain rushing through my low back.
It hurt so much it took my breath away. I felt like I couldn't stand up and I couldn't bend over. I was just stuck in this awkward half-bend-squat and I couldn't breathe. But I was partially blocking the exit doors, so I forced myself back around and, holding on to the stroller for support, hobbled out into the parking lot toward my car. Once I got there, I didn't know what to do. I wasn't sure I could lift Coco up into her car seat. Zuzu climbed up on her own, and I did manage to get Coco into her seat somehow, though my back hurt so much that I was crying by that point.
Then I called David because I couldn't bend over to fold up the stroller. And I was in so much pain I just needed someone to feel sorry for me.
Of course, he was in the middle of something at work and couldn't talk. And it was a million degrees outside, and I was standing in a blacktop parking lot.
I finally forced myself to squat down and yank on the stroller releases to get it to fold, and somehow I got it into the back of my car.
Then I sat in the front seat, sniffling a little bit because my back hurt so much.
I drove home with my jaw clenched, self-medicated with ibuprofen and a heating pad, and really just laid around until David got home. My back hurt from my tailbone to my sacrum. It especially hurt to go from sitting to standing, it was excruciatingly painful to bend forward, and I could only lift Coco if she stood up on a chair first. Even lying down very still was uncomfortable, though that was the most tolerable. I had trouble sleeping, and once I sneezed and the shooting pain through my spine was so intense it brought tears to my eyes.
I decided that the pain was serious enough that I should see a chiropractor. I'd never been to a chiropractor before, so I texted a few people to see if I could get recommendations, and the next morning I called to see who could get me in first. I ended up driving to one that is pretty far out in the county, but it was a good experience.
She had me show her my range of movement without pain (VERY limited) and then she pushed gently on my back in a few places. Then she showed me on a plastic skeleton spine which of my vertebrae were twisted in two different directions, and how the nerves were getting pinched. This was obviously the source of a lot of the pain, but then my surrounding muscles spasmed and tensed up, which was also a contributing factor.
She had me lay down in another room and put little pads on my back to do electric stim massage, which felt weird, and she put a big ice pack on my back while that was happening, which felt awesome.
After fifteen minutes of that, she had me turn on my side and was like, "Okay, I'm going to adjust you now!" Then she put one hand on my knee and one hand on my shoulder and pushed and POPPOPPOPPOPPOP all these cracks and pops went in my spine at once. It was INSANE. And awesome. She did the other (less painful) side and there were fewer pops and I felt some instant relief.
I still have a lot of muscle soreness, though, so she instructed me to go home and do gentle yoga stretches and keep icing and taking ibuprofen as needed.
My back feels best when I'm standing or lying down, and the most painful thing is actually standing up from a sitting position--especially if I'm holding a sleeping toddler when trying to do so! I go back next week for a follow-up visit.
I'm really glad I went, and I feel sort of vindicated that it was a legit real injury. I was bummed in particular because I've been doing crunches and flutter kicks and planks on a really regular basis this summer and here I was, hurting my low back in spite of my core workouts! It's making me feel kind of dismayed about turning another year older, but I hope it was just a freak accident and I can continue to do preventative exercises. Mostly I'll be relieved to be pain-free again--soon, I hope! In the meantime, I'll just be hobbling around here.