So 3 weeks ago, I innocently bent down to feed my guinea pigs when something in my back ‘pinged’ and I was left doubled-over in agony. Terrified doesn’t quite cover it. I remembered my mum’s advice that the worst thing for back pain is to lie down, so I hobbled about for a bit to see if it would ease off. It didn’t.
After I calmed down, I started to think a bit more clearly. There was no way that I could get in my car, never mind drive it, and even if I called a doctor to come to me, they wouldn’t be able to get in the house as the door was locked. Anyway, long story short, my mum – a Staff Nurse – came to look after me until my appointment with the doctor later that day. Many pain-killers were prescribed!
I still don’t fully understand what happened, or why, but the initial muscle damage caused by the injury has uncovered a lot of other back issues. I’ve always had a bit of back pain and a gammy hip from years in desk jobs and previous to that, carrying crates of beer in a pub. Although I’d have an odd flare up now and again, I’ve been in constant pain since the injury. [Insert sympathy here]. I’d considered writing this article before now, but between the side-effects of the medication and the mood swings as I think about all of the “what if’s”, I didn’t think it wise. I didn’t even plan to go into all of the details this evening until I started typing…
The support network that I’ve uncovered from this has been truly amazing. One of my skater friends who is going through something similar has given me so much advice; I genuinely don’t think I’d be so positive about recovery if it wasn’t for her kind and honest words. I remembered reading a Twitter bio of a new follower, “a fitness nerd for Sheffield Roller Girls”, so chanced my luck to see if Mickey could give me any advice on whether she thought that Roller Derby training played a part in my initial injury. The muscle tear is on my left side (or ‘flank’, as the doctor calls it!), the exact spot that I get sore in when I skate in ‘derby direction’ for too long. I’ll admit that I sent my email to Mickey not expecting much in return – after all, I’d never spoken to her before – but I was really taken aback at how much thought she put into her response. And of course, my team mates at Fierce Valley Roller Girls have been incredible. I passed on the advice from Mickey, and our Coaches are keen to take this on-board to incorporate into our training.
Although the muscle damage is starting to heal, I’m now getting a lot of lower back pain, with some occasional muscles spasms all over my back and neck. My current ‘treatment’ (Note: everyone is different!) is anti-inflammatory medication and pain killers; regular ice pack applications; light stretches at work; and visits to a chiropractor. I’m awaiting an appointment with my GP to possibly get a referral to a physio – at this point, I’m open to all suggestions! I’ve asked my chiropractor about exercises to help the recovery process, but it’s too early to start anything like that. Walking and swimming is my limit.
I have no idea about the long-term effects of this injury as I’m only in the very early stages of recovery, but for now, playing Roller Derby is out of the question.
As Gadget explains in her article, ‘Injury, it’s not the end‘, there are still lots of other ways for me to be involved with the sport – even if I’m not skating. Unfortunately, the timing of my injury means that I can’t play in our intra-league bout this Saturday, but my team mates suggested that I help Lila de Thrash with Line-up and Bench duties. So of course I grabbed this opportunity with both hands! I’m trying not to overdo things so I can still play against Belfast Roller Derby at the end of July, but for now, it’s very much a case of ‘wait and see’.