Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Return to the Kettlebells!

The MRI images have been reviewed. The radiologist's report has been read. Follow-up x-rays have been taken. The mystery of my back pain is finally solved!

Unfortunately for me, there is no cure to ease my back pain. Turns out I have a symmetric 'defect' on my L5 vertebrae. Effectively, I have tiny fractures on each side of the vertebrae which is causing some awkward movement in the sacroiliac joint, which in turn is causing the discomfort that I have been experiencing.

I have apparently had this defect for a long time. And it's not going to heal, since the spine is always in a state of movement, otherwise it would have already. Therefore, I am going to have to learn to live with some pain.

I can't worsen these fractures. Therefore I am free to return to as much activity as I can tolerate. I should avoid twisting movements as much as possible as they will strain the joint more than not.

So this is my fate. What's next? Return to the Kettlebells.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Status Update

Well, I've been cruising along in rest mode for a little while now. I did notice a tiny bit of improvement in my back since my last visit to the doc a week and a half ago. I see him again on Tuesday, so maybe we can plot out our next moves.

I gave a short kettlebell demonstration Wednesday evening at a local martial arts school. I used the 8kg bell. I felt great while demonstrating. Immediately felt the effects in my back shortly after. It's funny that now I can feel things happening in two places as opposed to the usual single location. I'll be discussing this with the doc next week.

Last night, I re-watched the video I made of myself last month. At the time when I recorded it, I watched it and was very displeased with my form (I am always my worst critic). After last weekend's judging experience at the North Jersey Kettlebell Competition (I need to provide a write-up on it still) I must have gained some useful insight after viewing some many others perform the same lifts, that I was able to view myself a bit more objectively. I immediately identified some areas that need improvement and also felt more comfortable with my performance. It wasn't so bad after all. Or maybe I just needed some time away from it before judging it objectively. Doesn't really matter at this point as the end result is the same.

Nonetheless, I miss swinging the bells!!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Dare I say it? I'm a bit skeptical still. But I might, just might, be noticing a bit of improvement with the back pain.

Maybe there's hope for me yet!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recovery Update & Qigong DVD

I'm still sailing along, status quo. Saw the doc yesterday who was surprised that I hadn't achieved any relief following last week's Cortisone shot. During yesterday's visit we performed the usual acupuncture procedure and followed it up with a deeper Novacaine shot, a bit higher in the joint. My instructions were not to do anything for a week. I'm not exactly sure if posting this blog is even allowed (?).

In the meantime, a friend recommended I look into Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang's "qigong for bad backs" book/DVD. I found the DVD available on Amazon and ordered it. It arrived yesterday. I will start watching it this week and perhaps introduce some of the exercises after my week of nothing is up. I did notice that there are some seated variations of the movements that I can probably test out.

That's it for now. I'll be in attendance this Saturday at the North Jersey kettlebell competition helping out and maybe taking some video, but won't be handling the bells. I'm committed to fixing my back once and for all. If I'm taking the time out now (again) I do not want to have to do this another time. Let's get 'er done!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recovery Update

I received by Cortisone shot yesterday. I am now just starting to feel the effects. But nothing too substantial just yet. Hopefully, when I wake up tomorrow morning, improvement will be more noticeable.

In the meantime I am continuing with weekly acupuncture and have begun some stationary bike work. Starting out easy on the stationary bike, I punched in 30 minutes on Level 1. For the entire time, my heart rate never rose above 100 bpm nor did I break a sweat.

Cheers to the bells. They have made me so fit that I could ride Level 1 for hours on end without ever taking a break!