So, when I first started blogging, like 23 ish weeks ago, I shared about my struggles. I specifically shared about the back injury that lead to my brief dependency on prescription medication. That post was read 10 times more than anything I have ever written. To be honest, I wrote it for selfish reasons at the time. I was tired of explaining to people why my body looked the way it did, I was tired of telling the same story and getting the same reactions, the same pity. I never expected that it would resonate with other people, call me naive but I was always the person that felt super alone in that battle because I thought it was unique to just myself. No. No, no, no. So many people reached out to share stories of their injuries and their same problem with powerful medications. I cried a little, I responded to a lot of messages, and I connected with people because I finally felt like I had a community. So with that in mind, I thought I would write a follow up for all the other people still working on their healing. This is in no way trying to say that someone who has chronic pain or problems with medication should do exactly what I do, but if there is something in here that you haven’t tried, maybe adjust a bit to include it. I would love to share what has worked for me as I find my way out of this battle so that others know they aren’t alone, and if you have methods of your own that you swear by PLEASE SEND THEM MY WAY. Lets heal together friends.
The number one thing I have started doing is going to the gym regularly but actually listening to my body. If you ask Trevor what my number one flaw is, he will probably tell you that I go balls to the walls at everything I do (wether or not I stick with it past a few weeks is another story). When I work out, I work out hard, I work out until I have an asthma attack (my rap name is lil weezy), until I can’t move or walk. I don’t think its really me trying to prove something its more so that when I get into the groove again, I feel my old self. I feel what it was like to wake up early and lift for hours with my team before my classes in college. I feel what it was like to rep your old PR and then throw the weights to the ground and be as loud as you want. I miss it every day of my life, and when I even remotely feel it coming back I grab it, dig in, and take it to the ground. Well I guess maybe I am the one that goes to the ground. So my old work out routine was go to the gym one day, take it (kind of) easy, go back the next day and do all the things then wake up in excruciating pain unable to walk, go to work, or breathe practically. I would take a week off and then start the cycle again. Now, I make sure to go every chance I get but I always do a body scan. Trev constantly asks how I am feeling and this time I really tell him so he can hold me accountable. If I feel a bit of pain or tightness its low impact cardio (bike) and stretching. If I feel good I add in an exercise that targets upper or lower body muscles and doubles as cardio (ball throws against a wall with a squat or banded lunges). The most important part here is that I go. I have noticed marked improvement with staying active as opposed to just rest.
This however, did take some adjusting. I had to learn to be okay with just walking on an incline at the gym when what I really wanted to do was run. I had to learn to be okay with people always seeing me doing low impact cardio stuff and I had to be okay with learning how to use all the cardio machines. Trust me, all the soccer moms have it right, some of those machines will really make you work for it, while saving your knees and back.
This one is an easy switch but I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes in my life. I used to POUND ibuprofen. Like 6-9 a day, on a good day. It took the sharp edge of the pain away but did not do much else. Then I switched to Aleve. The commercial is right just two pills really does keep the pain away. Ready to be sponsored when you are Aleve.
This one may seem weird but psychologically it works. I started to work out in only hoodies. Well, and pants too, get ya mind out of the gutter. This way I start to sweat more and faster, so I feel like I have gotten a good work out in without having to stay for hours on end doing things I shouldn’t be doing.
I started to recognize pain in other parts of my body. I am an avid neck and back popper. That satisfying little pop that comes right before twisting your head off like a Barbie, I live for that shit. Well I used to. Now I only pop my neck and back if I can do it with a natural movement or with minimal pressure, that way I know it NEEDS to pop not just me wanting it to pop. I also bought a massage thing. I don't know what the technical term would be because personal massager just doesn’t quite mean what I think it means here. Anyway, I use that thing on my neck and lower back and the extra blood flow it stimulates I think really helps. And it was only 60$ so thats fun.
Get your self a good pair of shoes damn it, and not just from the brand that pays for the most marketing. When I was on the track team in college, a team mate of mine would ALWAYS have the coolest pairs of shoes. Like I could see them on Instagram just released, and then go to practice the next day and see it on their feet. This story gets more sad, when I tell you that that person was a guy. Yes I have to shop in the mens section and you know what fuck it, I wish they made shoes in my size but they don’t, and men’s shoes are usually built better anyway. That same person started working at Adidas this year and told me about one of the shoes that he was loving. When we met up for coffee and he told me all about it, I was hooked. Well first I was shocked because its wasn’t the first thing at Dicks that hits you in the face when you walk in, like Nike is. I literally am thinking of burning all my other shoes in effigy, but I won’t because thats wasteful. I am in the process of finding them all good and loving homes, but I don’t know if I will use another shoe besides the Ultra Boost. I know my back is bad or about to go out when I work out and I lose feeling in my toes. I know that means that my back has swelled up, blocking blood flow to my lower half, and I am about to be confined to the reach of my little heating pad cord for a week. I rarely lose feeling in my toes now and my whole body feels great after working out instead of sore and gross like it did in my other shoes.
So treat your damn self. Like I always say fight on the same team with your body, its a friend not an enemy.
Until next time,