Ted’s essays

creating and repairing low back pain

As it turns out, I am reasonably adept at both.

The first came naturally and easily to me. Just be Ted.

Actually, the repair was natural as well, though not as easy.

Friday I spent hours with hedge shears cutting the noxious weeds in my potato patch. This involved A LOT of stooping and bending giving me a very sore back that evening.

Saturday morning I was happily symptom free, so I promptly FIXED THAT by taking my Dutch hoe to noxious weeds in the chicken yard. About three-quarters of the way through I was feeling tenderness in my lower back, but I was ALMOST DONE! So, of course, I finished the job.

My back was still sore Sunday so I decided to take a day off … go ride my motorcycle around for the fun of it. Riding went fine until the somewhat narrow, paved road I was exploring abruptly sprouted NO TRESPASSING and PRIVATE PROPERTY signs, without offering any sort of wide spot for turning around.

The wished for wide spot appeared just outside a massive gate to the mansion compound. I took that opportunity, but executed it absolutely The Wrong Way.

The Suzuki DRZ400S is well-known to be overly tall for many potential riders by having a seat height of 37 inches. That is at least 6 inches higher than normal street motorcycles and at zero-miles-per-hour challenges all but the handful of 7+ foot-tall humans endowed with 37-inch inseams. It is do-able for more normal people, but requires techniques that I have been working on with modest success.

What I should have done at this point was steer to the right road shoulder, then make a somewhat tight looping turnaround including the hard-packed sloped gravel shoulder in my turn.

Not trusting my tight-radius turning skills, I instead drove up the slope, then still astride the bike, I duck-walked it backwards downslope to turn around whilst backing up with the gravity assisting me, and head towards home on the paved road.

From my sketch to the right you may see why this was a BAD IDEA. Observe the space from motorcycle seat to the ground directly under it. The already challenging 37 inches becomes well over 40.

… a distance quite impossible for human legs to handle.

So, of course, the bike and I fell over.

Not having your advantage of seeing and understanding how the situation caused the fall, I picked the bike up where it lay and repeated the performance the exact same way!

This time I drug the front of the motorcycle around to aim the rude beast in the direction I wanted to go before lifting it up … again. Unfortunately, on this lift, just as I was cresting the heavy part, something in my lower back went *POP*. I still don’t know if I heard it, felt it, or both, but there definitely was a *POP*.

Twenty five miles from home with no aid or assistance in sight or within reach, I ignored the *POP*, completed the lift, and put the kickstand down.

There is, by the way, a right way to lift motorcycles. I have not studied the videos, been coached or practiced that well enough, so I use the normal, natural, WRONG method.

Not being particularly creative at this point, I mounted the evil machine, stowed the kickstand and began rolling towards home, having to bump-start in 2nd gear as the time spent on its side made the engine reluctant to start normally.

My low back felt every bump of the 25-mile ride home, and I promptly hit the ice and prone position as soon as possible. It was in this position that I replayed my falls, recognized where I screwed up and developed the idea for my little sketch above.

Here is where I diverge distinctly from normal. (I can hear those who know me shaking their heads … okay, here is another place where I diverge…). Regular people take their owies to humans graced with medical certificates displayed on their walls. I coulda-dun-that, but I figured significant money would have been ill spent.

I pulled, or tore a muscle or ligament in my lower back. I don’t need years of medical [mal]practice to know this. The POP-PAIN sequence while lifting tells one all they need to know. You screwed up. Big time.

The certified medicine man will correctly prescribe rest, ice, heat and more rest. He/she will also incorrectly prescribe pain masking drugs to trick your body into delaying or preventing proper healing.

Ted, instead, prescribes rest, ice, heat and more rest. He also embraces The Pain as a messenger telling me EXACTLY WHAT MY BODY WANTS TO DO AND WHAT IT WANTS TO NOT DO. This, dear friends, is how you facilitate and even speed proper healing.

After two weeks of having every change of position deliver sharp, shooting pains to my lower back, I was weary of the hurt and ready for the pain masking drugs. When every shift from on my back to one side or the other or getting up from being down had to be carefully planned out to minimize the hurts, one gets a bit tired of the rituals.

Heck, putting on pants, socks and shoes were potentially painful chores. However, just like resisting food during a fast, I resisted the impulse to mask my best friend in healing. If it HURTS, don’t do it… or do it as little as you possibly can.

Around two weeks in, I began to notice a reduction in the sharpness and frequency of those back stabbers.

Oh Yeah! Progress!

I am just over four weeks into what I optimistically figured to be a 6-week healing process. Holey smokes! I am right on schedule.

Of course I am anxious to get back into my puttering about routines, and occasionally do some light duty stuff only to be reminded by increased soreness that I really should be taking it very, very, very easy for a bit longer.

As you might have noticed here in Pike’s Peak the wrong way, I purchased a 2009 BMW motorcycle with a normal-height saddle. Though much heavier, it is far more sophisticated and a much nicer ride that I am quite eager to exercise.

However, Doctor Pain tells me I have to wait another couple of weeks before enjoying running my new steed around my area of operations.

There was that one exception as I HAD TO RIDE PIKES PEAK while I was in the neighborhood for what I figured to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … regardless of my fleeting infirmity … just do not drop or lift anything.

Now that I am home, my medicine man insists that I act smarter now…

and I certainly don’t wanna cross him.