Got Your Back15 Nov 2010
It was this time about 4 years ago (November 2006) that I started feeling strange pains in my back. Actually, they were in my legs and butt, and I was too dumb to realize they were really coming from my back. And I was too dumber to go to a proper orthopedist until 2 months later, who diagnosed a pinched nerve in my lower back, and it took another 2 months of shots and therapy to actually relieve the pain.
At that time, as a kind of "it can't do any harm and could do some good" measure I signed up for a back therapy course at our local fitness center Sportland in Buchholz, with a group mostly 20+ years my senior. Part of the course was a back-strength check from Dr. Wolff, and my values were at first well in the red. Eight weeks later I had barely made it into the yellow area, so I had some work ahead of me.
Of course I lapsed in my training, so exactly one year after my first episode I suffered a relapse of my back pain, which unfortunately coincided with two trans-Atlantic flights. Eight hours of sitting in a plane with a pinched nerve can only be a special level of hell never imagined by Dante.
I mention all this now only because for the past year I've been more or less consistent with my training (mostly less), and just re-took the Dr. Wolff back-strength test. My strength values were all green. My triceps are somewhat weak, and my left side is stronger than my right, but the absolute values are OK. And I haven't felt any symptoms of back pain in nearly 3 years. Having gone through that hell, I'm happy not to have to deal with it again.
My weight isn't yet optimal, and that plays a big factor as well. But it's gotten better. I weighed 106 kg when my back problems began, and I'm at 93 kg now. I'm still above my ideal BMI, but I'm much better than I was.
Back pain is one of the major health problems in middle age. I've been able to beat it by reducing my weight and increasing my back strength. That strategy could work for others as well.