My new slogan for people that annoy me is “you are a pain in the back”.  That’s because back pain is far worse, in my currently biased opinion, than ass pain.  Just sayin…..

I having been struggling with chronic, intermittent lower back pain for 6 months.  Last week, however, after 3 muscle spasms – the kind where you go “holy shit” I can’t really stand up right now – I stepped up my intervention efforts and am feeling more positive.

The MRI didn’t show anything more than what most people in their 50’s might have were they to get an MRI of their lower back – a tiny tear vs. a massive tear and no tumor (a late term symptom of lung cancer I discovered in my obsessive forays into WebMD and www.Lowerbackpain.com).  The new chiropractor is a gem, I can deal with no heel sandals, I am going to see an orthopedic doctor whose interventional focus is NOT surgical, and I reached out to a yoga instructor who, in that small world sort of way, I used to know.

So what does this have to do with being a working mom?  I spend a lot of time on my feet standing in various state legislatures – sometimes for ridiculously long hours.  And when I’m not standing I’m driving.  For example, my 2 month old car already has 6,000 miles on it.  Both of these activities exacerbate my back pain while at the same time are absolutely essential to my being able to do my job.

While my confidence is growing that I will get this under control, I realize what I have always known – my body is trying to tell me something.  In this case, I’ve not quite figured it out.  But for those who know me, you will understand immediately that my obsessive drive to understand and make sense of everything will lead me to answers.

A few answers I’m already wrapping my head around:

  1. Not driving is not an option and biking in its stead just won’t suffice, but I can adapt by stretching, taking Aleve and lumbar support.
  2. Not standing for long periods of time is not an option, but I can intersperse standing with more walking and wear better shoes.
  3. I won’t do the Hartford Half Marathon this year but I can swim all I want and actually feel better.
  4. I’m going to have to tackle yoga and pilates, and am hoping to find that below my much maligned “muffin top” there really is muscle.

But these are the obvious answers.  The other answer’s that may require a new therapist or some soul searching have to do with what feelings is my body trying to alert me to through this nagging pain?

This may sound silly but this lower back issue has reminded me that throughout my life my body has been my guide, my friend and my answer.   So many times in my life I have fretted about illness after illness (trust me when I tell you I’ve covered the gamut) and after ruling out the disease in question, have been either flooded with emotions or freed up to recognize symptoms as signs of emotional stress not to be ignored.

Reflecting on what in the world this has to do with being a working mom, I think that maybe it is simply a true story of a working mom who hopes like hell to impart some of her hard earned wisdom on to her daughters, and maybe some friends and family along the way who will listen.  And while, neither teenager seems particularly enthralled with me these days, I will press on, as do all moms, knowing that when I take care of myself I can better take care of them – and THAT makes my world go around.

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