Why You Should Never Pick Up Heavy Boxes...

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On Friday I was at work (Corporation X) and just walked in the door. I have a few projects that I work on, and one of them was to set up a Sun workstation. I had two 75 pound boxes to move around and they didn't have any handhold cutouts or anything to help with lifting. What I should have done was get someone to help, but me being dumb, I decided to lift them anyway.

Two quick points:

1. I was careful about not lifting with my back, and lifting with my knees. I was always very careful about this over the years.
2. The box shape was just too big, and to pick it up was the main issue, it had no good handholds.

My middle back twinged a bit, and I knew something was wrong. After an hour it stiffened up, and even typing at my desk was really difficult. Breating hurt. If I lifted my arms it hurt. I couldn't even concentrate on work. I got up, told my boss that I was going to the doctor.

I went to my sports medicine office uptown, after taking two Tylenol and they did a battery of therapies on me. They did electric stimulation, massage, chiropractic adjustment, and a ultra-sound on my back, which showed inflammation near the 7th & 8th vertebrae. The doctor gave me a muscle relaxer, and told me "It is going to get worse before it gets better."

On my way home, I called the bar, spoke to the owners and told them about my back. They covered my shift.

I went home and being stuck in my condo isn't really a terrible fate as long as my internet and cable are working. I played games, watched TV and slept - a lot. The muscle relaxer is crazy. I take the pill and about 45 minutes later it literally knocks me out.

My eyelids get droppy and next thing I know it is two hours later, with me either lying on the couch in front of the TV or me in front of my PC. It's like someone walks into my home, and hits me with a frying pan. I'm out!

Friday was not too bad, my back was sore. Saturday was worse, my back was very tight. Hot showers helped loosen the muscles. I also tried some stretching, using techniques from a book that my friend recommended, which was the Wharton Stretch Book. I feel a bit better, but not 100%.

Sleeping is difficult, because of the pain. It is like an isolated sharp pain, and on a scale of 1 to 10 i'd give it a 4 for the pain scale. Standing, i'm fine. Lying down hurts a bit. Sitting down i'm in a lot of pain. I guess it is because the spine curves and the compression on the muscle causes the inflammation to aggravate more.

I get a call Saturday night and it's Matt. He's at a bar. He tells me he's at my bar with his two cousins, his wife and a bunch of wife's cute girlfriends (one of his wife's past jobs was being a cheerleader for The Philadelphia Kixx). I tell him about my back and that i'm home and can't bartend and was in no condition to go out for a drink. Yes, i'm an idiot, but i'm not going to go out with my back in pain, and try to have a fun time. I won't have a fun time.

Sunday rolls around and things feel a bit better. But still my back nags, but i'm not in as much pain as Saturday. I don't have the spasms that I would get if I moved a certain way.

Monday morning rolls around and I call in sick. My back still hurts, and I know sitting at a desk for nine hours is just going to make things worse. I'm home today. I'm certainly open and willing to listen to your suggestions on treating back pain. I was thinking of buying a heating pad, because the hot showers make my back feel better, and I figured that would help with the pain. I'm going to try and do some stretches again today.

3 Comments

Buddy, I love you and you know that. That being said, I have to say: This entry will not help out in the female department. Pain? Games? Turning down the chance to be with the ladies at the bar? C'mon man! You're killing me!

To all the females out there: Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain today, it's the meds talking.

Ditto on Joe's post. :D

That being said, I was flat on my back once in college- totally pulled it and couldn't move. And they gave me these awesome relaxers that put me out for 18 hours at a time. I felt better after 3 days.

For these in between pulls I get, the only thing that helps are hot showers w/steam, stretching and rest. I have a very firm mattress, I recommend that above all else. If you want a quick solution, buy a board for under your mattress - it has worked for several of my friends.

Tylenol for Arthritis is the best OTC pain killer I've ever come across. 650mgs in each marvelous little geltab. Keeping your hamstrings well stretched will do wonders as well. If tight at all, they pull your pelvis back and down, straining your lower back muscles further than they already are. Godspeed on your recovery. I stopped in the bar with a friend on Saturday night and it just wasn't the same.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on January 28, 2008 9:17 AM.

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