An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Getting older pretty much sucks

Starting last week my lower back started to flare up, a ten-year-old injury that likes to say hello every now and then. I’m not sure exactly what provoked it this time, but lately Marlo can’t decide if she wants me to pick her up or put her down and all the bending over is probably causing problems. I’m adding this to a long list of things I’m going to bring up during the toast at her wedding that will begin when I hold up a giant poster of my naked butt covered in stretch marks.


I saw my chiropractor twice last week for this issue, and I thought I was feeling better. But yesterday morning when I lifted Marlo out of her crib my entire lower back started seizing. The pain was so intense that I couldn’t walk, couldn’t sit down, couldn’t get comfortable in any position. In fact, I felt like I was in labor. In fact, I started making a noise that would indicate I was in labor, a sound that a vocal, constipated hippo might make while being gutted with a chainsaw.

I give Jon and many men I know a hard time about how they act when they are sick.

See: Man Cold

And now I have so much crow to eat because I could not stop that noise from coming out of my mouth. It gushed out of my throat, a moaning waterfall of pain. I was, I’m afraid, a poor little bunny.

Since I had already seen my chiropractor for this problem, I made an appointment with a masseuse to see if she might help soothe the knot of muscles in my back. Now, you have to understand, I am one of those people who think it is inappropriate to makes noises when getting a massage. One does not sigh or groan or produce any sound similar to the one made when getting it up the pooper.

So there I am, face down on the table. And already I’m uncomfortable because no position is comfortable, and instead of breathing deeply to calm myself down I’m holding my breath so that I don’t scream. I think this is the scientific process behind volcanoes.

Because when she would ask, “How is this pressure?” I’d answer a little too enthusiastically, “GRRRRRREAT! GRRRRRRRRRRREAT! GRRRRRRRRRRREAT!” just to give a voice to the boiling pain that was searing my entire body. I’m sure that when she was sitting around with the other masseuses over coffee that she had one hell of a story to tell about the woman possessed by Tony the Tiger.

When it was over I could barely put my clothes on, let alone walk to the parking lot and open the door to the car. I felt like I was giving birth and had to drive myself to the hospital. About four blocks from home I pulled over the car, broke down into heaving sobs and called Jon. Could he please meet me in the garage because I’M GOING TO DIE AND I WANT SOMEONE TO HOLD MY HAND WHILE IT HAPPENS.

You guys, I was in so much pain that I didn’t punch him in the balls when he said, “You haven’t taken your meds today, have you.”

NO! I hadn’t! But I would still be crying anyway!

He helped me out of the car, propped me on his arm so that I could climb the stairs to our bedroom, and then he gave me medicine and water and everything I needed to rest comfortably. He was my hero despite the insensitive and TOTALLY uncalled for comment.

Today I’m much better. Loaded up on ibuprofen and ice and more ibuprofen. I can walk and sit in certain positions. Also, I took my meds, so I’m pretty confident that I’m not going to die.

  • srising

    More ADVICE: Myofascial release therapy. it saved my back and actually made my husband’s bulging disks in his lower back bulge a lot less. Also, you can do tons at home. It involves sitting on tennis balls. It totally works.

  • Lillabilly

    I havn’t read the other comments so someone else may have already suggested this, but I have one word for you…ACUPUNCTURE. I saw a chiro for years with my ongoing neck and shoulder problems to put up with a sort-of solution. Massage was nice but didn’t really do a lot. Then I attended acupuncture for something completely unrelated and DUDE FIXED MY BACK. He also recommended yoga and stretching to supplement what he’d done and the pain that I’ve lived with practically every day of my life for the last 10 years is gone. Good luck with yours!

  • Incredimombo

    Okay, I’m coming out of the Wilkinson Center bushes for this one. I agree w/the tequila and ibuprofen, basically because it reduces the inflamation and numbs the pain. Have your blood checked for HLAB27 Miss Scandinavia. If it is positive, do some more research. So been there. Nuff said.

  • Just Julie

    First time commenter, couldn’t let this post go without these sage, wise words from another back spasm sufferer, who told me that her own doctor did NOT tell her that taking a muscle relaxant BY ITSELF WOULD NOT WORK. You need to take the muscle relaxant (we both take Flexeril 10 mg) WITH ALEVE, which is an anti-inflammatory drug. Together, not by themselves. I know, I tried to take just the Flexeril, found no relief, and of course, before the doctor appointment after the first back injury, just Aleve by itself. Neither drug seemed to work.

    So, there I was in the doctor’s wait room, figuring I was looking at suffering chronically . . . but still willing to try — so I did.

    Next back injury (usually doing extreme yardwork on our acreage) I tried it. Took Flexeril 10 mg plus, 2 Aleve. For the first 3 days. I did not skip a day, even if I felt markedly better.

    And then? Wa-la! On Day 3, I woke up pain free. FREEEEEE. It was amazing.

    And, it’s worked ever since. I do not do yoga, I do not have the core muscles or strength of my younger years. And? I am mildly overweight, having just passed through menopause-land. I’m relatively young at 48, too.

    So, there’s more advice for ya. First—get a diagnosis. I’d have to agree with no massage either, you might be doing worse damage to whatever injury you’ve got going on.

  • kristinpaula

    OK, I’m chiming back in to second what Goddess said: GET A DIAGNOSIS FIRST! Like I said before, I ended up having to have emergency surgery for a ruptured disc, but before that, I had tried chiropractic, massage and exercises, which all helped a little (at the time) but I think may have ended up exacerbating the problem. Yoga and PT have helped me get back on track since the surgery, though you’re never really the same after a back surgery (or at least that seems to be the case for most people)–so do what you can to address the specific problem in advance so it doesn’t come to that. And for what it’s worth, I’ve tried acupuncture as well for flare-ups since the surgery and it didn’t really help. So any advice that ends with “do this and I swear it will help” should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • kentuckienne

    I’m sure you’re getting lot of good advice, but this stretch worked wonders for me after I sprained my back during rowing practice. Lie on your back on a yoga mat or folded towel and set your feet against the wall so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, or as close as you can get. Take your right foot and place it on top of your left knee. Place your left hand on your left hip and your right hand on your right knee. Apply gentle pressure to your knee while holding your hip stable against the floor. Hold for a few seconds, and then do the same to the opposite leg. This stretches your hip flexors; my physical therapist explained that if you sit all day (as most of us do), you can develop a vicious cycle of tight back muscles, tight hip flexors, tighter back muscles, tighter hip flexors….

  • Brandy in Canada

    I’m guessing since you have a chiropractor then when you started you got xrays and a diagnosis as to what causes the problem. I’ve had chronic back pain since I was 12,yep,12 (nothing like having your back seize in grade 6 and being carried to the school nurse on your chair!) My options in life have been pain meds or physio etc. I choose physio and see a chiropractor, accupunturist, RMT, do yoga and stretches EVERY DAY. Back pain sucks balls so I hope your feeling better fast and then can avoid more pain in the future.

    Also I really hope your picking Marlo up by bending down by the knees and not the waist.

  • Cheryl M.

    I recently strained what I thought was my back moving an end table to our cellar…turns out it was my hip joint, and that I wouldn’t have hurt it if I hadn’t had a baby five weeks prior.

    Well, don’t let anyone tell you your siatic nerve can’t be bothered by something that isn’t back related! I was literally a crumbled mess on the floor with the pain shooting down my right leg and couldn’t pick up our month old son (who weighed all of nine pounds)! Stuck it out for a month and a half, and my PCP finally referred me to the spine center at the local hospital when I saw him. He also put me on a 600mg/3x daily ibuprofen prescription (this brings down the swelling so you can get better). For now we’re doing chiropractic adjustments, walking and stretching daily. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be doing physical therapy as well. He also wants PT to help me strengthen my pelvic muscles – apparently this delivery kicked my 39-year-old butt way more than the birth of my five-year-old did.

    I feel your pain, and hope you feel better!

  • Darleya

    Ugh. That’s really not fun at all, Heather. I hope your back pain keeps improving. I hear back pain is one of the worst chronic pains to have. Get Leta to pick Marlo up 🙂

  • Cheryl M.

    I also agree with Kristinpaula – definitely get a diagnosis first! I was afraid I was in for the whole x-rays, etc. so I put it off and have been in pain far longer than I would have been had I gotten it checked to begin with.

  • Crazy Card Lady

    I used to swear by chiropractors. But after what I have been through, I will never go back.

    A little over a year ago after going on a 5 mile run, I sat on the couch and when I got up, I was in so much pain and that I though I was going to throw up. I went to my chiropractor to releave the pain and after a couple of months, I wasn’t making much progress, so I asked for some xrays. The chiropractor hemmed and hawed and said he usually didn’t find them effective, but authorized them anyway. He said the xrays indicated that I was out of alignment. I asked him if I had a herniated disc and he said no.

    He continued to treat me for the next year. About three months ago the pain got so intense, that I had to start taking pain meds. Those worked for about a day and a friend told me I should go see a spine and pain specialist. So I did.

    This doctor ordered an MRI. It turns out I do have a herniated disc and have had it for over a year. I had two cortisone shots which didn’t help so I elected to have surgery. All they do is clip off the herniated part. Boy what a difference that makes.

    My point is, if this is a continuing problem for you Heather, go to a spine and pain specialist or a neurosurgeon and get evaluated. Back pain totally sucks. It is the kind of pain where it is so bad you think you are going to die. I know it well and frankly it’s not worth being mutilated at the hands of a chiropractor.

  • bellamaxjoy

    Seriously you can very much damage yourself with chiro if you are not first exrayed to make sure the disc is not bad. I hope you are not getting any more massage, as I said before, not good in the throws of back issue. I have gone to a Physiatrist, they deal with this, and they are a rehabilitative doctor, not immediate surgery type docs.
    Hope it is doing better, and remember NO MASSAGE for awhile!

  • pearldoor


    I should write it more….chiro was only temporary..but after three sessions of accupuncture, my herniated lower disk was cured, I swear by it.

    feel better

  • Siouxzq

    You can TOTALLY be Valedictorian of Bikram yoga, and it can’t hurt your back. They even have competitions. I bet you would rule hardcore in that after a few months–it’s hot as hell, hard as David Beckham’s ass, and after a good class you totally get high on endorphins.

    Short testimonial, but my back is fused in one spot. This yoga has increased my strength SO much in 6 months, and my back never hurts unless I do something really dumb.

  • pyjammy

    I haven’t read the other comments, so I’m sure this has already been suggested, but are you sure you don’t have a herniated disc or anything? I got one by *sneezing* and after being in agony (not unlike what you’re describing) for months, I had surgery last month. (It was causing severe sciatica.) Finally, no pain! You may need an MRI.

    (My doctor says she sees a lot of moms of toddlers with back issues, because we lift them incorrectly, blah blah blah. I have three 3 year old mama’s boys, so I don’t doubt that contributed to my issues.)

  • pyjammy

    Also, I felt EXACTLY the way you describe after I had a massage, two days after my sneezing incident. It took me 10 minutes to get dressed and I cried all the way home.

  • Geeg

    I have had a hip thing for the past two years and have tried PT, chiropractors, and acupuncture – all of which helped somewhat or short-term, then the pain comes back. I started going to an Osteopath recently and I am hooked – pain free for over a week now! Turns out my sacrum is twisted so she basically does myofascial release, a little bit of alignment work, and acupuncture. Hope you find somehting that works for you!

  • Katesss

    Acupuncture! It’s incredible how well it works.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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