I was a junior in high school working in the plumbing and electrical department at Chase-Pitkin, a home improvement chain owned by Wegmans from which I would late be fired in a gross violation of my first amendment rights. One Sunday, my manager asked me to help him load a bathtub for a customer. I couldn’t figure out why he needed help moving a bathtub since they were so light. I grip the box to lift and felt a pop. The tub? Not fiberglass. Cast iron.
Cast fucking iron.
I was down for the count for a few days. Since then, my lower back has been kind of rickety. Flares up for no reason and sometimes sends pulsating jets of pain to my hips and down my legs. Like today.
About three years ago, I started having more regular back pain. The lower back would flare up, but without effort I could throw out my upper back. My primary care doctor would prescribe muscle relaxers and heat and send me on my way. There was no rhyme or reason to it, but the simplest, slightest move would crumple my trapezius muscles into a knot. Put the two together and I’d walk around like Frankenstein. At its worst, I was taking ibuprofen for the pain, Skelaxin or another muscle relaxer for the tightness and applying heat or ice for sport. I’ve chowed that plus, naproxen, Percocet, Vicodin, Darvocet, Vioxx, Celebrex… I would take anything that promised to quell the pain.
The day I had my first visit with Dr. Scinta, I was going through one my episodes. I had sneezed or sat up from the couch or blinked too hard, only to have my back tighten up. By 30 pounds down, I was seeing less pain. By 50 pounds, I was pain free in the upper back. So, rather than treating the injury and its symptoms, it worked much better to treat the root cause.
That still doesn’t solve the problem of my lower back today.