Oh, my back!

Since running the marathon fifteen months ago, I haven't been able to run long distances. Short distances are okay, but as soon as I run longer than 5-10 km, my knees start hurting and I have to walk.

I visited the doctor on Monday to see what can be done. The doctor told me that she couldn't tell what the problem was, and that I would have to get an MRI and visist an orthopedic specialist to find out what's wrong. But she also said that running was okay as long as I did not keep running once the pain starts (something I've done in the past, and did in the marathon).

So I went for a run Monday night — the first time in several months that I have run any appreciable distance. I ran down to Bockholmen, did one lap around the small island, and then continued along the shore of Edsviken to Ulriksdals slott. From there, I ran up the hill and across the bridge back home. I ran for 40 minutes, and estimate that I covered about 8 km. At no time during the run did I feel pain. It felt really good to be able to run again.

That is, it felt good until the next day. Tuesday morning, I awoke feeling very stiff. In the afternoon, my back began to feel progressively worse. In the evening, I went climbing with Lisa and did my best to climb through the pain. I thought that exercise would be good for my back. I also did some stretches that work the back muscles. Unfortunately, the problem got worse yesterday and I was forced to stay home. I missed my dance lesson last night, and I'm staying home again today.

The problem seems to be in the muscles on the left side of my back, from the middle of the back up to the left shoulder, in either the trapezius or rhomboid muscles. The pain seems to be worse when I lie down or carry things, but subsides when I simply sit down with a straight back. I have been taking aspirin and stretching frequently during the day, but the muscles seem stubborn. It seems as though the muscles are stuck in a spasm, flexing even when they're not needed. Swallowing, breathing, and laughing make the problem particularly noticeable. When I exhale deeply, the muscles spasm painfully. It's not fun!

My mobility is really limited and I feel like an old man. One doesn't realize how much one depends on one's back until something like this happens. I'll be glad when the problems goes away soon and I can resume my normal activities!

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