Going Slow

After taking some time off from working out, it time to get back at it. I ended up taking a few days off, not a full week, from the gym to let my back calm down. Part of me was bummed about not being able to do my normal routine but for the most part I was okay with resting. I felt like my body needed it.

My chiropractor suggested I keep active while I’m healing and suggested swimming and the elliptical. He said to take a break from yoga for a few weeks, which was okay with me because a few of the poses (downward dog especially) killed me!


I waffled back and forth between going swimming and taking one more day off. In the end I decided to give it a try because swimming was something that never really hurt and I promised myself that I would stop swimming if it hurt, even if I hadn’t done much. It was a decent swim. There were only a few times my back kind of bugged me and that was when I did the breast stroke. So I decided to skip that move and just do freestyle.

I was glad I went. I felt good the rest of the evening and my back actually didn’t hurt! When I got home I had a sensible dinner that was pretty low in calories. Leftover ham, some rice and Brussels sprouts. I think it’s a good plan to take it easy on the foods while I am not 100% at the gym. It sucks, but that means cutting back on calories.


The back felt okay until I went to bed and then it started to ache and feel uncomfortable. Saturday morning it was still a little achy but once I got out of bed and moved around, it was alright.


Saturday is usually my “big” gym day. I spend a little more time than the normal hour in the gym and the focus is more on weight lifting and body weight exercises. Since I was taking a break with this, I decided to just stick with the elliptical and then round out the workout with walking on the treadmill at an incline. Thankfully during this whole thing walking never hurt.


The rest of the day the back felt pretty good. I was hoping that I was on the mend! Dinner was baked salmon with lemon pepper and dill seasoning, plus leftover rice and Brussels Sprouts. More healthy foods. And wine, of course. 🙂



Michael and I watched a few episodes of “Girls” after dinner and then I called it a night. The wine had definitely gone to my head!


Sundays used to be my swim days! It was nice because I could sleep in on Sunday mornings and I was usually sore from the Saturday weight workout so it was nice to swim. I switched to doing yoga on Sundays because I liked the teacher that taught that morning class. Since I can’t do yoga right now I’m going back to what I know: swimming.

Swimming is the best exercise if you hurt. Any kind of pain–joint pain, sore muscles, if you are over weight and other exercises hurt your body, try swimming. It’s always worked well for me; it’s relaxing, it feels good, and it’s a good exercise.

This particular Sunday I slept in pretty late for me and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast (complete with coffee AND orange juice) and when I went to the pool it was near empty. I love that. I love when the pool is empty. I did my swim, which started out not so great…I felt slow and like I couldn’t catch my breathe (which is abnormal for me) but then I warmed up and felt pretty good. I relaxed in the hot tub, enjoyed the sauna and the pool was super empty. I was so tempted to go back in just because it was EMPTY! An empty pool is bliss to me.

Anyways, I was feeling pretty good most of the day and I went for a walk with Bella to round out of my fitness for the day.


Next up: I went shopping for new hiking boots! The last time we went hiking I kind of started to wonder if the boots were how I bruised my feet and started this whole thing…My boots are amazing. I love them and they’ve been great but they are like 15+ years old. I think it was time to invest in some new boots. I went to REI and used the 20% member coupon + Michael’s dividend + my dividend + a $25 gift card from a friend for our wedding! I essentially got the boots for 50% off! I also love that they are called Gargoyle/African Violet. 😉




I can’t wait to try them out! I love REI. Not only did I get a great price, the guy helping me was nice and honest about another pair I was considering (he said they were terrible) and they guarantee the boots for a year. A few years ago Michael got me some new boots and I tried for months to break them in and they just didn’t fit right. I ended up limping on hikes. 🙁 So I’m happy that REI has this guarantee even if I wear them out hiking and decide they don’t work.

Back to the Chiro

Monday after work I went back to see the chiropractor. Over the weekend I had had several good “moments” where I wasn’t in discomfort or pain and even FORGOT about my back issues. The chiro said that was a good sign. It wasn’t going to be magically fixed, but the fact that I had some relief several times since the last appointment was good. He also suggested that ice the crap out of my injury. I asked him how often and he said, as much as you can tolerate it. Hourly, if I can.

I spent about 25 minutes on the amazing massage chair with the TENS device on. That thing is amazing. Then I saw the chiro for my adjustment. It wasn’t as easy/smooth as the first time, but I hope it does it’s magic and gives me some more relief.

Physical Therapy

A week later I finally got to go to my Physical Therapy appointment. It took a few weeks to get the appointment and in the meantime I stuck with taking it easy in the gym, icing obsessively and going to chiro.

The therapist did an exam and asked me a bunch of questions. And while I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what happened to make my back act up, the answers I gave her and how I described it gave her a good idea of what was going on. She determined that I had a bulging disc, probably L4.

I have to admit, that freaked me out! It sounds scary. It sounds like something that needs SURGERY. But she assured me that wasn’t the case and she said that when it comes to backs, this is actually best-case scenario. She also said that because of some of the improvements I’ve already shown and the fact that certain movements she had me do made me feel better she thought I’d heal pretty quickly from this. Okay….


She show me what a bulging disc looked like.



She said the disc part was kind of jelly-like substance and that when it bulges it kind of squeezes out. If you have nerve pain (sciatica) it’s because the bulge is pressing on the nerve. Thankfully I don’t have that! In that second photo, the bulge popping out and touching the tubey-thing (that’s the nerve) is the bulge. So that’s what she thinks I have.

I asked her how this happened and she couldn’t really give me an answer but she did say that sitting was probably part of it. I sit all day at work and while I do get up a lot and walk around, it’s not good to sit all day.

She told me to keep swimming, do the elliptical, I can do upper body weights as long as it doesn’t cause pain in my low back (so basically stick with things like chest press, bicep curls, etc and no overhead pressing). She said to wait 2 more weeks before I do yoga or running again. I got back to see her in 2 weeks as well to get more exercises.

I have mixed feelings about this diagnosis. Part of me doesn’t think this is it. Time will tell. I’ll continue chiro and physical therapy and hopefully one or both will do the trick.

That night for dinner I made a salad with tons of veggies, a Trader Joe’s Marsala veggie burger and sauteed Brussels sprouts (I’m addicted). And a glass of wine (not the whole bottle lol):

I steam the Brussels Sprouts and then sautee them in coconut oil with seasonings. They are so delicious! I tried to relax (and ice my back again) even though I was kind of worried about my diagnosis. The therapist was upbeat and positive about it but I’m still anxious…

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

6 thoughts on “Going Slow”

  1. I have a fully herniated disk in my back. I understand where you are coming from. I will say this, though – pretty much everyone had bulging disks in their back. Some are symptomatic and some aren’t so you never know until it protrudes enough to be bothersome. Just take it slow and listen to your body and it will get better over time, but probably will end up being a chronic issue. I ended up with nerve damage because mine was pretty bad. My back flares at times, which is really annoying, but I just try to be careful. This is why I ended up stopping running, but sometimes I will do a little bit here and there.

    I love the brussel sprouts. Yum!
    Lori recently posted..Riding and landscaping.

    1. It’s already doing a lot better. I go back to chiro tonight and then I think I’ll take a break from it. My back was pretty good all weekend, so I think I’m on the mend. Still going to wait another week or two before I try yoga and running again.

      Sorry to hear about your back. Do you know what you did to get that?

      1. The only thing I did was to have something in my hands and I turned my torso to look behind me and that did it. Unbelievable, isn’t it? Horrible injury with very little provocation. I wish it was something more dramatic to make it worthwhile, you know? Other flares I have had from it occured when I emptied the dishwasher and lifted a suitcase with one hand. Little things. Not sure why those are the trigger and not exercise stuff.
        Lori recently posted..Riding and landscaping.

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