So I mentioned in my previous post that I did a number on my back. For the past several years I have had pain issues with my back or more directly with my hips / legs. I figured most of the problem was because I was a fatass and I would be better off as I lost weight. After losing 100 pounds the issue wasn’t really getting better and in fact was pretty bad at times. A few years ago, I wet to the doctor to have it checked out. He sent me for some Xrays and told me that I had a condition known as Spondylolisthesis which describes the anterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below. More directly, spondylolisthesis is a forward slip of one vertebra (i.e., one of the 33 bones of the spinal column) relative to another. Spondylolisthesis usually occurs towards the base of your spine in the lumbar area. There are 5 grades of spondylolisthesis that describe the amount of slippage. My condition is apparently a grade 2 slippage. The doctor sent me to an orthopedist who recommended Physical Therapy at the time. I probably should have gone then, but I didn’t because of the time involved and any other number of excuses I came up with at the time.
I dealt with the pain for the most part and on the really bad days took tylenol or darvocet. A week or so into June, right after my dad passed away, I started spending more time outside trying to do more so I had to spend less time thinking about his passing. I hauled about 1000 pound of stone from my drive way to various parts of my yard, built my wife 2 raised gardens and then filled them with about 1000 pounds of dirt. I got alot of other things done as well. But, in the process I really screwed my back up. Now I was faced with a whole new pain and this one didn’t always go away. The pain was pretty much in the low center of my back and was almost instant and very intense. I went back to the doctor who suggested physical therapy again and because the pills weren’t working anymore, this time I decided to give it a try.
I started around the end of June. I was going 3 times a week for the last week or two of June and most of July. I cut back to two days a week for the past two weeks and will probably stick with that for the rest of Summer. My sessions last for between 1.5 and 2 hours generally and it is tough to take that much time 3 days a week during summer because of the kids being home from school. I hope to add in the 3rd day once they go back to school at the end of August. Some days have been really tough, but overall I have been seeing the benefits of going. I feel more fit, I have definitely developed more muscle and have started seeing some results on the scale the past 2 weeks or so.
When I started I was doing 3 miles in 15 minutes on a Total Body Recumbent Bike and following that up with a variety of exercises to help strengthen my abs, hamstrings and various other muscles. After a few weeks of this, though, I started having problems with my calves and shins. I was having pain even on the days I wasn’t going to the gym and wasn’t able to do much of anything on my days off without pain. They adjusted my plan and put me on the treadmill instead of the bike. I have been doing that for about 3 weeks now and it seems to be going much better. It is harder for me to stay on the treadmill as long as I could the bike, but I am not dealing with that extra pain and seem to be getting up to a pretty good heart rate while I am on it. Some days I manage 8 minutes and some I manage up to about 12. It depends on the pain I am feeling as a result of the Spondylolisthesis.
All of this has renewed my search for decent workout equipment that will support my large mass. While the best solution would be simply to go out and walk. It doesn’t work so well because of this pain. When I can’t go anymore. I can’t go anymore and it’s kind of tough to just stop and sit down for a few minutes when you are out walking. I have been doing some research into treadmills and found a few web sites that have some pretty good looking equipment that will support overweight people up to 500+ pounds. I am hoping to talk to a few of the companies in the next couple of weeks to see about getting something. I would love to review some of the different equipment they have and rate it here from easiest to hardest and provide details of the results I get from each. I guess we will see whether that happens or not. But, I know one thing for sure. If I can finally get a break from this pain, there will be no stopping me. I am really enjoying the exercise aspect of the therapy and I want to do more. I push myself too hard some days which isn’t entirely good because then it creates more pain for me in the days that follow. But, I really want to be able to do more and when I start seeing some improvement, I start pushing harder and harder. I guess the pain is my body’s way of saying slow down for a bit. In any case, I will post more about my research into workout equipment for overweight people once I have had a chance to talk to a few of the companies.
Tags: back pain, exercise, heart rate, overweight, pain, recumbent bike, Spondylolisthesis, treadmill, workout equipment