Do as I say (or How I hurt my Back)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Confessions of the CEO, Fitness
Tags: , , ,

Last night I rolled over 11 times.  I know this because in order to perform this sophisticated movement, I needed to be at full attention.  Anyone who has ever “thrown” their back out knows what I’m talking about here.

I’m writing you from my bed, hopped up on anti-inflammatories about 2 days after I did something that I highly encourage you not to do:  Don’t swing a 50 lb kettlebell while talking to someone on your left.  Or your right.  In fact – don’t swing a KB and talk at all.  Really – who does that?!

In any case, in the last 48 hours, I’ve been thinking a lot about back health and wanted to share a few things:

1. Did you know that if you live to 90 – you’ll have slept for 22 years?  (Yes, it’s been a long 2 days).  Sleeping positions affect back health. Of all the positions (back, side and stomach) sleeping on your stomach is ill-advised.  Not only is your neck forced to one side, it’s  impossible to maintain a neutral spine.  Back sleeping (with pillows under the knees) and side-sleeping (with pillows between the knees) are better.  Really – I think the best way to sleep would be standing up – completely supported by soft magical walls while having a massage.

2.  Lifting is fine.  Twisting is fine.  Lifting and twisting is not fine.  When I went to the chiropractor yesterday and told him what I’d done – he said, “oh yeah – the classic Lift and Twist.”  Back to basics. Before lifting a heavy object – be sure that you can manage the weight.  Ground your feet.  Bend your knees.  Use both hands. Relax your shoulders.  Engage your core.  Be mindful.  Lift.  Don’t twist while lifting.  🙂

3.  When you injure your back, it may very well be that the back is not to blame.  It could be inflexibility of the hamstrings, hip flexors or glutes.  If movement is inhibited by inflexibility, the lumbar spine may compensate by flexing more than usual. The risk of injury is high if the lumbar spine is not accustomed to this movement or workload.  Morale of the story:  strengthen, stretch, repeat.

4.  Practice good posture when walking, going up stairs, driving, standing, lifting, carrying, sleeping, dancing, exercising, punching, eating, doing laundry. swinging kettlebells…

5.  If you are injured – use your injury to become more aware.

In health,


  1. Deb Furlong says:

    feel better soon Sandy. I totally agree, nothing like an injury or set back to make you aware. The other day I was at the dentist getting 3 root canals done. I found myself tensing, reminded myself to breath and engage my core of all things, bit it worked! Totally helped me get through the 4 needles it took for the freezing.

  2. hitgirl says:

    Hi Deb! As luck would have it, the pain is gone and I’m back to regular life, having learned a great lesson in the process. Quick treatment sure helped!

    3 root canals? That’s 3 too many if you ask me. I’m impressed by your ability to control the situation to some degree. Thanks for commenting!

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