The Five Stages of Backache


Thanks to Pilates and good luck, I’ve never suffered much from this common complaint. When I have, I’ve channeled Allison, my Pilates mentor of almost ten years, and focused on making my core do its job. But this time, nothing has worked. I’ve had no alternative but to move through the Five Stages of Backache.

Stage One is Trivializing. This can’t be as bad as it feels. What did I do to deserve the first wrenching spasm? Okay, I was showing off. My new filing cabinets had arrived, four very large boxes, and I thought I’d try to lift one of them and when I couldn’t, I didn’t huff or puff, just laughed and handed the job to my Hero. I thought I bent my knees. I meant to engage my core. But fifteen minutes later, I took a step and screamed. Who knew?

To reward my trivializing, after a mere two days, I awoke pain free and ready for our weekend in Idyllwild with the dogs. We got to the mountains the day after a storm that had left five inches of snow on the ground. Diva and Lexy were ecstatic, running, slipping and sliding along on their furred hips. Watching this, we asked each other, What is the pain threshold of the average crashing, racing, chasing, tumbling Doberman and Lab? Later I realized that Diva had been licking her paw for half an hour. She hurt and this was her way of soothing herself.

The morning we were leaving Idyllwild after a blissed-out three days of doing nothing, I got out of bed and dropped to my knees again. My back was BACK.  Since that day a week ago, I have been through all the stages of Backache.

First comes, Trivializing which is also called Acting As If. This stage is all about pretending that you aren’t really hurting all that much and can carry your bag to the car.

Stage Two is Anger: At the back, at God, at whoever is sitting next to you in the car. It can last for days.

Stage Three is called Resignation though I prefer its acronym, LOYBR, which stands for Lying On Your Back Reading. It’s sometimes called the Kindle stage as in: “I spent a day (or a week) in Kindle.”

Finally comes Stage Four. This is the stage when you know you’re licked. You just give in and accept that your back hurts like hell in almost every position and you’re powerless to do anything about it. If you could, you’d pretzel your body and lick it better but you’re not a dog and people would talk so you don’t even try.

Stage Five: Live with it.

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