Currently I am a cautionary tale. I have only managed two three mile runs since Thursday because I have been injured. I have in fact been injured by a settee. I wish I could say that it was an Acme sofa that fell from the sky with a whoosh and a sproingy clang, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t even moving furniture in a PG Tips monkey/Chuckle Brothers/Bernard Cribbins stylee. I was sitting.
I injured my back by sitting on a very comfy sofa. I spend a lot of time sitting – my working day alternates between sitting at my desk, in my car and in people’s front rooms – and normally I’m very good at it. Unfortunately on Wednesday, I was sitting and twisting so that I could talk to someone and it was just enough to leave me feeling slightly achy at the end of the day. The next day I started running with the intention of doing 6 miles, but quickly downgraded to 3 because of the niggling pain (even though it was feeling a bit better after a mile or so). It was fine for the rest of the day but at two in the morning it woke me up. I couldn’t settle. Every time I changed position I was rewarded with a few minutes of comfort and a false dawn of hope before the pain started again. By Friday I was a one woman Ministry of Silly Walks. Following the advice of my on-call physio (hello mum) I liberally applied ice packs and scoffed ibuprofen like they were Smarties (actually I took the stated dose) and didn’t run until Sunday when I managed another relatively pain-free three miles.
The moral of this story is look after your back all of the time – even when you’re not doing anything in particular. I’ve sat through any number of moving and handling training sessions and follow all of the rules when I’m moving something hefty, but it’s when you least expect it that injuries happen. When I was a student I went on an induction where we were encouraged to share back injury stories – I couldn’t tell you any of the work-related stories, but I’ll always remember the doctor who did his back in getting a piece of cheese out of the fridge. Sadly none of us dared ask what was he a man or a mouse.
This is what the NHS Choices website has to say about backs – lots of advice about avoiding injuries, exercises, yoga, posture and all sorts of gubbins.