Running and exercising with back and neck issues

Runners and other exercise enthusiasts are notorious for pushing through discomfort.  Determining when the discomfort is pain telling us to rest is not always clear cut.

Running through pain is inevitable for me since I have chronic neck and back pain.  This week, I broke down and went to my chiro/sports PT and he said it was an irritated nerve and that my prior issues were probably connected to it flaring up.

Rocktape on my neck– the new fashion trend

I have not determined what caused this issue — sleeping the wrong way or upper body exercise are the only things that seem possible.  It is driving me crazy but I’m thankful I’ve been able to continue working out since that gets my mind off the pins and needles feeling and pain.

More Rocktape–I don’t know if it helps but it can’t hurt

I’m not new to back issues..

I suffered major neck and back injuries starting when I was in junior high school and was involved in car wrecks that further damaged it.  After a back injury in jr high, an orthopedist told me I would never be able to run.

I exercised after that but I listened to him about running until 2007.  I was asked to participate in Team in Training and signed up to fundraise for and run the Nike Women’s Marathon.  My best friend’s mother passed away from multiple myeloma and thinking of her passing and my friend’s loss got me through the tough training runs.

Crossing the finish line of that marathon, I hooked on running and decided to do another marathon.  Throughout all this, I deal with being in constant pain in my neck and entire back; I often wonder if the back injuries created muscular imbalances that are why I am injured so frequently…multiple doctors and physical therapists have said that is probably true.

I do not allow pain that is bearable to be an excuse for being a couch potato. Instead, I view exercise as a way to strengthen my body to prevent other issues.  Exercising often makes me feel better and loosens up the stiff muscles.  Days when the pain escalates, I do more stretching (ex: yoga or pilates or barre).  I know many with back and neck issues cannot run or do any form of exercise but I encourage those who can to workout and to modify exercises as needed.

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