The Road to Europe #2: A Slight Setback

Besides the fact that we’ve had a lot of rain that has made it hard to practice, this last weekend I strained my lower back pretty badly at Aikido. I was just helping someone warm up for a test, before practice even started, and I felt the lower back muscles and spine just stiffen up. Not good. So I quietly told our instructor I was going to head home. I spent the day laying around, taking lots of ibuprofin. Woke up feeling a little better on Sunday, and though the drive to Fort Worth’s Modern museum as a little rough, all the walking around helped. I continued taking 800mg of ibuprofin 3 times a day, and now it is Tuesday and I finally woke up not feeling my back aching.

So I’m going to take this week totally off from skateboarding and Aikido and just let the muscles and inflamation go away. It’s raining this week anyway.

My lower back has been a problem since I was 18, when I herniated the L4/L5 disk and required surgery. Then when I was 28 I herniated the same disk again. It was really bad that time, but they went back in and got it “fixed”. I had a better doctor that time. But once you have something like that, your muscles are never quite the same. I’m sure I have some arthritis in that part of my back. I’ve been dealing with it for 32 years now, so it’s just part of my life. It’s always part of the background noise. Normally it doesn’t hurt, but I’m always aware. I just press on and live life and do what I want. When it gets strained, like this time, I take some time and rest it and get it “well”, or at least “well” by my standards.

The truth is, you can strain your back by sleeping in a bad position. The best thing I can do for it is remain active, try to stay in shape, and not be stupid.

But it has been frustrating. In 2013 I was unable to practice for the Philly Freestyle contest because I had really jacked the lower back up pretty bad. I went anyway, but really didn’t get to give a good accounting of myself. I had fun, but I’d of course rather skate to the best of my ability and have fun. So I’ll admit, when I felt this current strain, I was very upset. I said some bad words when I got home. I was pissed that I’ll be missing some practice time. But then I realized I will still go, still have time to practice. I’ve been practicing already. I don’t suck. I’m not practicing to “win”. I’m practicing to have fun, not suck, and have a blast. So there really isn’t any pressure. There are a few tricks I’d like to learn and lock down before the contest, but I’m already prepared for my main goals. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

As of this moment, I feel like a full week of recovery time will be enough. I think that Sunday I will probably be able to get back on the board and start skating. Will probably give it another week before I start hitting the “bending over” tricks like fingerflips, and also the lower-back intensive Space Walk, but as long as I can be on the board, doing footwork and shove-its and wheelies, that’s fine.

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