From the files of "running can be dangerous for your health", comes an update on my back.
After pretty much suffering for over a week and only experiencing minor improvement on the back pain, in other words - not enough improvement with anti inflammatories, regular icing, chiropractic adjustments etc - it was time to find out more of what was causing the problem. I had an MRI late yesterday. The MRI itself was a first for me - when I had my knee scoped they actually used an ultrasound type of device to see the inside of the knee and the torn meniscus. Yesterday I got to experience the big and scary machine. I decided I am not a fan of an MRI machine - very loud and a little claustrophobic, while having to lie completely still for about 20 minutes. Not too unbearable but not comfortable either. But, I made it.
Anyway, got the results this morning and learnt I have basically a good case of a bad thing. Meaning what is wrong with me is not great, but could be a lot worse.
I missed most of the technical stuff (L5 - S1 something blah, blah) - but caught that I have a bulging disc in my lower back, it is bulging on the outside of the disc and compressing into a nerve that runs across my right hip into my thigh. The bulge is somewhere between minor and major in size. It is in a location that causes a decent amount of pain - no duh. But if it was more centrally located (on the disc) or on the inside of it - it would then be more difficult to treat without having to resort to surgery.
So, treatment for this is a mix of chiropractic, some specific exercise therapy, many more ice packs and I should start to see noticeable improvement within 5 days or even less. Encouraging news to me for sure. If no noticeable improvement then I could need a shot in there of cortisone, but the doc is confident that it should get better without that.
I knew this next part already, but he confirmed that no lifting much of anything for a while and sadly, no running either. But eventually - in about a month or even less I could / should be capable of doing the running thing without any damage.
Of course my question is "how did it get this way?" Simple answer is that we don't know. However, some likely contributing factors could have been the downhill running of the Pikes Peak Marathon. A couple of weeks after that on Labor Day I hiked up to Barr Camp with my 2 oldest kids, carried a backpack that starting out was almost 20 pounds. Going uphill was fine, but carrying it back - even though it was lighter - may have had something to do with it also.
According to the doc, it's possible that it took a while to surface as a problem in my back because I was so fit and my back muscles and nerves had tensed over the problem - then a few days after that hike was when the disc had "room to go nuts".
So, I have a bulging disc, treatable and likely able to get back to full health. I have to be careful with downhill running in the future - the doc said I should possibly consider not doing the PPM again - but fortunately that is a ways off.
It's nice to know what is wrong. It's better to know that it can be (most likely) fixed. I think and hope that I can be patient with this.