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Facing Back and Hip Pain Like the Warrior I Am

Warrior 2.

I’ve had issues with my lower back since I was 17. It was always just… touchy.

Four years later at 21, I took a road trip with a few friends during my senior year of college’s spring break. We drove from Vermont to South Carolina without stopping other than to relieve our basic bodily needs. I drove a majority of the way.

We arrived and had an adventure filled night, including a skinny dip into the ocean.

The next morning I woke up, and my entire torso was stuck leaning forward and to the right. I couldn’t move it out of that position for the better part of a week. I was like that my entire spring break.

I’m now 27. Ever since, I’ve thrown my back out to some extent in that same position 1 - 2 times per year. I’ve worked with a lot of chiropractors. I’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my L5, S1, combined with a bulge almost to a herniation.

Ever since, I’ve had pain to some degree 100% of the time in my low back.

It goes through waves. Stress makes it worse. Sitting for long periods of time makes it worse. The more active I am, the better, though, I have thrown it out during exercise.

A few months ago the pain started traveling into my right hip. The last few weeks it’s been unbearable. I now feel it in every down dog I do. I’m going through a yoga teacher training, so I tell myself to push through.

Movement is such a big part of my life. I’ve always pushed through the pain. When you’re in pain 100% of the time, you just don’t complain. It’s apart of you.

Last week, my boyfriend convinced me to go see someone. The fact it’s traveled into my hip and now prevents me from giving every ounce of effort I have into yoga, my true love in life, isn’t good. He said “you want your body for years to come, right?”

Yesterday, I went to that appointment. We’re working on my imbalances and strengthening and turning on the muscles that should be being used, but haven’t been “online” for quite sometime. Essentially, I’m relearning movement patterns.

At one point during my session, my Dr. asked me if I was in pain. I kept saying “no” leading up to this moment, because I truly thought I wasn’t in pain. At this particular moment, she got me into a position where I felt 0 pain. 0. 0 for the first time since I was 21. I had no idea what it felt like to NOT be in, at the very least, some sort of dull pain. I said “actually, I’m really not”, and I burst out crying. I couldn’t believe THAT’S what it felt like to not be in pain.

My answer to “are you in any pain” changed throughout the rest of the session, because for the first time since I can remember, I legitimately felt 0 pain, even if only for about a minute.

I can’t tell you how emotional it is when you bury something like pain deep for so long, finally face it head on, and can see the light. I really believe this applies in both a physical and emotional way, that no matter what it is, you can’t bury or reject an emotion. At some point, you have to go through or face it. It’s your choice on if you want to keep pushing it down to deal with at a later date. This time around, for me, it’s physical.

For now, I’m in a physical therapy program for the next 12 weeks. It’s bringing up a lot of emotion I didn’t realize I was holding onto. I can do yoga, but in a limited way, only staying in poses that I’m not feeling pain. This is great because I’m towards the end of my yoga teacher training and need to complete it, and this allows for at least some movement.

No movement or a protocol telling me to sit still would make me mental. For now, no weights or cross training, which is a huge bummer, but I at least have yoga in some form.

And I have the fact that I’m a Warrior, and can make it through anything.

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