This is from an instagram post I put up yesterday that I feel should also be here on the blog.
It's probably going to be another rolling post that I will add to over time.
So this happened.
Standing up from my seat on the train Friday I experienced intense lower back pain, I barely managed to stumble off the train and down the stairs to some seats. It was so bad that M. managed to talk this Englishman into actually going to the hospital. The X-Ray above ISN’T mine, it’s from a random image search (I'll try to find a link to where i found it), I forgot to ask for a photo of my own X-Ray, this is the closest one I could find to my own, bone spurs degenerative disks etc.
It turns out I have Osteoarthritis. I'm glad I dropped ( get it) the advanced backbends a few years back, perhaps it would have been worse. Lumbar spine is where the problem is (for now) but I think I’ve done my last Sarvangasana (shoulderstand), if as it appears I’m susceptible to disk degeneration I don’t want to stack the odds against my cervical spine.
Perhaps I’ll go back to forearm vinyasas instead of Sirsasana (headstand) Vinyasa.
I remembered I have Simon Borg-Oliver and Bianca Machliss' excellent Online/Download Yoga Synergy Yoga Therapy course, it has more videos addressing the spine (and Osteoarthritis directly) than I remembered (around thirty of the 80 or so videos).
Simon and Bianca’s Yoga Synergy Spinal movements are pretty much designed with such concerns in mind, so glad I was turned on to this approach to practice a few years ago, it’s not going to be such a traumatic adjustment.
Here's a link to another of my blogs where I recently brought together all my old blog posts on Simon and Bianca's approach to practice http://activemovementyogaathome.blogspot.com/
There is a conversation here of course, how many of us pop off for an X-Ray to check out our spines before we start Second series asana say as well as more extreme postures - or indeed, Primary postures. We may think we are being careful in the short term but rarely consider possible long term effects.
Of course my spine might have been a lot worse without my ten plus years of practice, I worked in construction for a time in my travelling days, building houses, laying concrete, raking tarmac but it might also of course not been as bad or not perhaps for another ten years or more further down the line.
I've had a couple of periods of back pain recently. Something similar to Friday in the UK a few years back, also about 15 years ago when I couldn't even get out of bed, this though is the first time I went to a doctor.
The pain has passed for now, I’m good thanks but this is the life now.
You can't reverse this condition but you can seek to manage it, to slow it down, limit future damage and build a tool box of techniques for releasing the spinal compression to relive the pain as well as working on pain meditation for when those bone spurs catch a nerve.
There’s a book ‘Back care basics’ that writes about the little adjustments we can make in our daily lives to manage the condition somewhat (E.G. I bought a lumbar cushion for my 90 minute commute).