Thanks all so much for the sympathy and suggestions. I wish I could say I'm feeling better, and I was feeling better and optimistic at the end of last week. My lower back and I had a temporary detente and plans for possible mutual disarmament, but something changed (? who knows what) Sunday and we're back to open warfare. My ice pack (bag of frozen corn. Don't mock, it works) and I are on very close terms lately.
I think I'm going to have to break out the big drugs as every day this week has been progressively worse. Today I'm walking around with a noticeable list to the left and no position stays pain-free for more than 10 minutes. I refuse to let this stop me from doing things though. I'll hobble around and sit uncomfortably and do everything glacially slow but I will NOT stop.
Sigh, this has happened before, it's like the Wheel o' Back Pain 'round here, every few months->years I spin the unlucky number and lurch around like Quasimodo and bitch and whine and mope about and generally feel miserable. It takes about 6 weeks to heal to "normal" levels, so I just have to trust that it'll heal again this time. This fact that it's getting worse worries me though. The absolute worst thing is the worry, especially the worry that this time I'm screwed and it'll never get better and I'm going to have to live restricted and in pain for forever.
The timeline of back suckage started 8 years ago while doing squats in a kickboxing class. I figure I probably partially herniated a disk then, and occasionally I'll sleep on it wrong or overtax the muscles, which makes it flare up, leak a bunch of fluid which then presses on the spine which presses on the nerves. My Highly Unscientific Conjecture is based on the fact that warmth==very bad more pain but ice is my friend, which makes me think inflammation. I Am Not A Doctor, but then again all the doctors have ever done is throw pills at me and say "try to move around, don't just lay in bed; it'll get better eventually" (yo, there was the time I could hardly make it to the bathroom without falling on the floor. I'll stay in bed and not be in pain, thanks all the same).
Nah, I've never seen a specialist. I should probably hunt down a good chiropractor but I never get around to it until I really need one, and then I don't have the energy. Massage seems to make it worse, but I only tried it once. I should probably try again, I know that sometimes things have to shift around a bit and feel worse before they feel better.
I REALLY ought to be doing yoga; I saw at least one study that shows that it was more effective than traditional muscle strengthening/conditioning at reducing the incidence of chronic lower back pain (and the strengthening in turn was more effective than doing nothing). But I have to do it at least a couple times a week for it to be effective and I don't know how to fit that in yet. I barely make it to the gym (ha, not for the last couple weeks) for an hour in the morning. Sometime in the evenings? Hmm. I need to shop around for good class.
And finally there is the plain and obvious, "lose some weight, stupid." I'm trying, I really am. It's just hard to move around when I want to curl up in a fetal position. I've been very good about food intake lately, lots of veggies and grains, low sugar & fat. I just can't help but envy the pizza & a coke crowd. The ones who are eating all those Friday donuts. Do you KNOW how long it has been since I've had a carbonated beverage? Or a hamburger?
Anyway, enough on the self-pity. I need to figure out how to hobble out for food. I've got an apple in the fridge but I forgot to bring anything more substantial. bleh. Hope you all have a happy, motile, pain-free day.