Having a bad back is a lot like opening the hood of your car, taking a hard whack at the engine with a 10 pound sledge hammer, and then driving off wondering if anything bad happened.
You honestly never know when its going to happen and, when it does, how bad its going to be. You usually know when it happens. You’ll feel a slight twinge. But its not a nice twinge. Its like accidentally putting you finger in a light socket. You’re like "POW!!" But you don’t know if it was a ouchy that will last a minute or if it will last a month.
I have been working on my depth in my overhead squat. I blame lack of depth mostly on tight ankles. When most people sit in a deep squat (or malasana in yoga), I look around and everyone has their heels touching the floor. Mine are no where close. Some of that is genetics. My wrist extension is the same way, which causes issues for a host of other poses.
When I was in a yoga class, one teacher commented on my lack of depth in chair pose. Since this was the middle of class, I didn’t have the time to explain myself or the decades of running and ultramarathons I did. And, that I’m a little older now and undoing decades of connective tissue build-up would be a tough cookie to bite in to. But this teacher had the audacity to say "do you stretch at home?" Hmmm, I’m a yoga teacher…let me think about that 😦
So back to the issue. I have been doing something called a Pressing Snatch Balance. Its nice because you don’t have to balance the weight overhead when you squat. Instead, you push it up as you squat down. You can’t use very much weight, but its been great in improving my depth. By my last set, I can get to a full depth overhead squat with my heels on a 1/2" board.
But, as sometimes happens, I got down to one of these squats and felt that ever problematic painful twinge. On a pain scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, it was only a 1 or 2. A day later, I taught a hot yoga class and avoided demonstrating too much. But I was functional. Two days later, I sit here in semi-agony. All my spinal erectors are locked up as I speak. I have to focus on them and breathe to let them release. And I walk like Tim Conway’s "old man" with my first 20 or so steps.
I’ve mentioned this before, people give me lots of good advice. However, I know my body. I’m a yoga teacher, Thai yoga massage practitioner, and I study a lot about human movement. I know when you damage a neural pathway, only time can heal it. There aren’t any stretches, inversions, body cracks, tractions, or magic pills that will fix it. I just have to wait it out and keep my body moving.
I wish you all good health my friends. Never take it for granted.