I haven’t talked in depth much on here about my back. It has given me a lot of trouble over the years so I wanted to share how I have dealt with it. Note: I am not a doctor; this is just my story.
I have scoliosis.
For those that don’t know, that means my spine has a curve in it. I found out in high school that I had it. There are varying degrees of severity of scoliosis. Sometimes a person only has a curve in the top portion of their spine. Other times a person only has a curve in the bottom portion of their spine. I happen to have a curve in both the top AND bottom parts of my spine. Essentially, my spine looks like an ‘S.’ I like to say it’s an ‘S’ for Stacie. 😉
I have been quite fortunate in that my body has adapted very well to my scoliosis. Even though I have about a 50 degree curve in my spine in both the top and bottom, many people can’t tell that I have it by looking at me. I can tell, but hell, we are our own worst critics, right? The most noticeable things are that my hips are uneven and my shoulders hunch forward. Yep.. Just call me Quasimodo.
Most of the time, I go through life never even noticing my back issues. Other times, it hurts like a bitch. I came thisclose to DNF-ing at last years Rock n Roll San Diego half because of severe back pain at mile 6ish. And I found myself nearly crying my way through my third leg of Ragnar due to my back. Sometimes it just sneaks up on me as an absolutely debilitating pain. Other times it is just a dull annoyance. Most of the time, I can’t tell I have it at all.
While each day is different, I find that there are things I can actively do to minimize the number of debilitating days.
– Foam roll: I foam roll my back nearly every single time I finish a run.
– Stretch: One major thing my doc told me would help is to keep my back flexible. He recommended yoga. Yoga turned out to actually be painful for me, so I have stuck to some other basic stretches.
– See a doctor: I have seen an orthopedic surgeon once a year every year since I found out I had scoliosis (with the exception of since I moved to Seattle). While my degree of curvature definitely puts me in the ‘you should probably consider having the surgery’ category, my orthopedic surgeon strongly believes I am not going to need it.
– See a chiropractor: I used to go once a week in high school during gymnastics season. It was great for temporary relief from the pain.
– Get a massage: I used to go once a week to get a deep tissue massage. We aren’t talking a relaxing good time here. I’m talking leaving the room bruised and sore kind of massage. It was amazing.
For the most part, I have found that these things work for me. While most of the time I can go through life pain free, I always have to be very conscious of my back. And I definitely don’t take the pain free days for granted.
Do you have an injury or diagnosis that you have to be conscious of while running?