Well it’s been a few months since I’ve had my groove on. Hurting my low back in January definitely put a damper on my exercise routine – and that’s an understatement! Let me put it this way, it was one month before I could get out of bed without helping myself with my arms. Unloading the dishwasher was painful. Getting in and out of the car hurt. I could not bend over at the waist unsupported. My core was SHOT! I will NEVER take my low back for granted again! Recovering from this low back injury was a slow process requiring a lot of patience and perseverance, and I still am not 100%.
This was all SHOCKING to me because I considered myself functionally fit: 2 minute plank, 18 cindy’s in 20 minutes (that’s 180 pushups). My fitness program focused on overall strength/body/core conditioning using compound moves. So to hurt myself so badly that I couldn’t get out of bed unassisted was really strange. I didn’t even “know” that I hurt myself until one evening (after doing yard work and decluttering my empty nest), a strange sensation came over me, and I thought “uh oh.”
My Low Back Recovery Program
So here’s what my low back recovery program looked like – I’m not a pro – but this is how my path looked. Each little section sort of built on the previous.
Weeks 1 – 2: Ice and advil, a little walking, and VERY little gentle, supported stretches
Weeks 3 – 4: More of the above with some more supported, static stretches; 15 second plank (cheater style)
Weeks 5 – 6: Gentle elliptical, limited unsupported stretches, static power poses (chair pose, static wall squats, warrior), 15 second plank (good form)
Weeks 7 – 8: Moderate elliptical, 30 second plank (really good form) , a few modified body weight exercises (modified push up, modified tricep dips, air squats focused on core)
Weeks 9 – 10: Harder elliptical, 30 second plank, super man, super assisted pull ups, regular push ups, body weight lateral lunges (focus on core), lateral lunge/cross body wood chop with limited range of motion (no weight)
Weeks 11 – 12: Decent elliptical, 45 second plank, low rep/low weight moves (stairs + curls, squat + shoulder press, modified inverted rows, lessen assistance on pull ups, kept on with the push ups). During this time I worked out with Sonjia (but I was done at 40 minutes) and I even succeeded in a little wog (jog + walk).
During this whole period, I was VERY cautious. My body was my guide, I stopped before I felt fatigue, and I NEVER did anything that caused any discomfort (there are lots of moves that I’m still not doing). I’m so grateful that I had body awareness to listen. I’m also grateful that I had plenty of “tools” in my fitness tool chest to gently move, and gradually incorporate modified strength and core moves through the process. I did not “lose” everything after essentially abandoning my fitness routine for 12 weeks!
Where am I now? I got on the bike for a little while (it felt great), and I succeeded in a great 60 minute workout with Sonjia this week (low weights, low reps, but kept moving the whole time).
Set 1 – 3 x 10 Reps
- Assisted pull ups (yay!)
- Wall ball (yay!)
- Dumbell chest press on swiss ball (yay!)
- Shoulder roll outs on swiss ball (yay!)
- Lateral lunge with cross body chop with medicine ball (yay!)
Set 2 – 3 x 10 reps
- Rear delt rows on rings
- Lateral lunges (speed skater style without the bounce) with medicine ball
- Hamstring curls with swiss ball
- No weight dead lifts (ha! but the motion felt so good!)
- Jumping jacks (25)
- Tabata Closer on the Bike (20 second sprint, 10 second rest, repeat for 4 minutes)
I was SO stoked to be able to do this routine – I can’t tell you how excited I am! I still have to “easy does it”, but I think I’m back!
Have you been injured? How did you manage mentally and physically?