Things were going along nicely when about a mile and a half into the run I felt a small twinge in my lower back. “That was weird,” I thought. I kept running. A few yards later I felt another twinge – and then another. The third twinge stopped me short. It was more like someone was grabbing part of my back and twisting it. I slowed to a walk and attempted to take deep breaths. With every breath, the spasm grew stronger. I told myself that I could walk it out for a minute and then try to run again. I should have stopped running when I felt the first twinge. The spasms persisted even as I slowed my walking pace. I could not get a deep breath, nor did walking ease the discomfort. Discouraged, I had to slowly stroll home.
I treated the condition for several days before I was confident that I could try to run without aggravating the problem. Ibuprofen, stretching, sports creams, warm baths, and rest were constant companions while I recovered. I don’t know what caused the spasm and fortunately it hasn’t recurred, but I do know that the only way to get rid of it was to stop running for a time.
What did I learn from the Back Spasm Lesson?
There are times when the behavior that is causing yourself or others sorrow should be stopped at the first sign of recognition. Unfortunately, it is easy to reason away the danger or severity of the pain ...
You can read the rest of this lesson in The Hard Run: Painful Lessons from a Running Granny, due for release in January 2015. Order it now at an introductory price in my Etsy shop.