Friday night, for the first time in my life, I had to walk off an assignment for a news organization.

The Floyd Press assigned me to shoot Friday night’s season finale, along with “Senior Night,” for next week’s paper.

I had been battling severe lower back pains for most of the week and took three days off to stay off my feet, take medication, and hope the pain would end so I could work.

On Friday, I doped up with pain medications, muscle relaxers and 800mgs of ibuprofen with the hope that would allow me to work.

Five minutes into shooting the football players and their parents for Senior night, both my legs buckled and I went down. Two people helped me up but the pain became too much to try and stay on my feet.  I told Floyd Press sports editor Roger Mannon that I could not continue and started the walk back to my Jeep — stopping twice to let the pain that shot down both legs subside enough to continue.

Once in the Jeep, I sat for another 20 minutes, waiting for the pain to subside so I could start the vehicle and head home. Every use of the clutch, brake and accelerator sent new spasms up and down my legs. I finally arrived home but had to use a camera monopod as a cane to get into the house.  I took more pain medication and laid on the couch, waiting for the pain to subside enough to breath without wincing.

Finally, I fell asleep.

I injured my back more than 30 years ago, resulting in compression of disks in the lower back. Since then I’ve had pain attacks every few years or so but none as painful as the attack that struck this week.

Back to the doctor on Monday. Until then, a simple trip to the kitchen for a cup of coffee or glass of water turns into a study in torture.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve suffered a back problem since the late 80’s with similar symptoms as yours Doug. Once you ‘throw your back out’, then it becomes subject to future episodes. One could be brushing their teeth in the morning and have their back ‘pop out’ due t the fact one isn’t quite limber after they first get out of bed. In fact getting out of bed improperly with a chronic bad back can lead to further episodes. So one should never just throw their right or left leg out of bed onto the floor then swinging the other out, but to first sit up straight with the help of one’ s arms then to rotate on your butt, both legs together then lowering them to the floor. If necessary use you arms to rise up to a standing position.

    Ibuprofen is good for inflammation, but is hard on the liver and kidneys over time. I try to keep my ibuprofen to a minimum say 200 mg’s, one gel cap and take a 500mg Bayer coated aspirin. I get quick acting results and it seems to last all day on those that I’m suffering from a back pain flareup.

    Once through this episode you might consider strengthening you core muscles; the abdomen and the lower back muscles and back in general by doing dead lifts from a rack with the weight either half way up your calves or above your knees. Easy does it and it’s best to start with a weight that’s comfortable then slowly increase the weight. I never exceed two hundred pounds for these exercises. You might call it the “health lift”. Doing abdominal crunches against resistance; ie., weight plates or using a machine function will build your abdominal muscle. It’s simply a single long muscle. The perceived divisions in the abdomen are the tendons that cross the muscle holding it to the body core. Also some shoulder presses, shoulder shrugs for your traps (trapezius muscles). About three to four exercises done with some reasonable weight over time will do the trick. This is rehab weight therapy and not for the intent of becoming a powerlifter or bodybuilder.

    For your short term remedy also use a gel pak the kind that is kept in the fridge, not frozen. Lay on the unit with a towel covering it so it’s not unfomortable to the skin. I wouldn’t recommend a heating pad regardless of some authorities recommending both cold and hot. The heat will cause swelling which to me is illogical and counterproductive. Cold is better. If you don’t have such a cold pack you can get them at major drugstore outlets. They are generally blue in color and have a silky feeling rubberized fabric forming the chambers that house the coolant. Buy two so you’ll have one on line and the other ready to go on a rotational basis. Lay flat on your back and use pillows to restrain your nighttime tossing and turning in the event you do so. Also roll up a thick towel to make a cylinder that’s large enough in diameter that when placed under your legs at the back of the knees will give you a comfortable bend rather than their tendency to lay flat which will irritate the lower back muscles and nerves. It usally takes me three to five days to recover using my techniques. I hope this helps and I have total empathy concerning your pain. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Wow, Carl, you’re almost as detail oriented as I am. Here is the one singular exercise that cured my lower back pain and sciatica so bad my foot went numb. Lay on your back on a mat on the floor – bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, arms by your sides RELAX. Pull in your stomach muscles and tighten your buttocks. Hold this for 10 – 20 secs. and release and relax. Keep your breathing easy and continuous *don’t hold your breath. Do this over and over again.

    This sounds too simple. But I did this not only when my back was hurting but especially when it wasn’t…so many times….over the years. Now, whenever I feel twinges of back pain, i’m on the floor doing this wonderful exercise. Of course, I doubt Doug can even get on the floor right now. Also, Dr. Stephen Prupas in Blacksburg is an above average healer, chiropractor, acupuncturist. He is masterful and I suggest anyone with back pain to see him.

    • Thanks “rio semione” for the detailed description of the useful, but gentle floor excercise routine I’ll surely give it a try when my back acts up again. : )

      Carl Nemo **==

  3. So sorry to hear about the back Doug , I hope you are better soon, for me same situation ,acupuncture was the pain reliever, I don’t know the guys name but there is supposed to be someone good here in Floyd that does it at his home and lives way out.
    maybe someone will say who it is.
    Hope ya get better soon!

  4. I hope you are feeling better Doug and not bouncing down the road in some situation unfriendly motorcycle posture.

    Give yourself a break and listen to what your body is telling you. You know. Guy goes to the doctor and says, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” Doctor says, “OK, so don’t do that.”

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