In my fifties, I feel like I am in pretty great shape—super solid in the core and injury free. The journey to this place of ease has been fairly uneven, marked by many peaks and valleys but infused with perseverance. Having little kids that want me running around with them has provided me with all the incentive that I need.
Everything changed last week when I suffered a sacroiliac sprain in the all-important sacroiliac joint (SI) which connects the pelvis and the spine. Ligaments connect bones to bones and the sacroiliac joint is surrounded by a number of very strong ligaments, all working to help stabilize the pelvis allowing us to stand and walk upright.
My sacroiliac sprain involved the iliolumbar ligament that connects the outside (transverse) of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebra (L4 & L5), to the ilium of the pelvis. It prevents excessive movement between the bottom two lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum.
In my life of late, I don’t get to spend nearly as much time on my couch as I would like– entertaining small children has seen to that. So when my wife took the kids away for a couple of days I was determined to catch up on years of missed movies (*See list below). I am pretty sure that is what did me in. At some point I got up off of the couch and it felt like my lower body stayed sitting as my trunk got up. No fun.
The next morning I woke up stiff in a way that I haven’t felt in years, amazed at how we forget and take for granted smooth and easy movement. I used to struggle with back pain but it seems as if my brain cast all of the memory aside after I healed, only for it to come flooding back last week.
Different injuries require different protocols for healing so the morning I woke up stiff, I strapped on my rollerblades and went for a skate around Prospect Park. On my return and for the rest of the day I felt pretty good in my lower back. When I woke up stiff the next morning, I knew I had a ligament injury.
If you pull a muscle and warm it up and stretch it out it could be good for the injury. With proper attention you can work through muscle injuries. Ligaments are trickier. When you injure a ligament and it warms up as you work it, it often feels good while active but it is likely that you will be maintaining or even exacerbating the injury.
This is why accurate diagnosis is so key, and why I was so pleased with myself when I finally went to my chiropractor and she informed me that I did indeed have a sacroiliac sprain of the iliolumbar ligament. One week later I feel 98% better and I am getting ready to go for a skate around the park with the kids.
If you know how your body works, listen to what it tells you and become active in your own recovery—injury becomes less of an issue because you will have the tools for healing.
*Marley, Children of Men, City of God, Grizzly Man, Old Boy, Eastern Promises