An Evil Cirlce – Back pain, missing workouts and junk food = weight gain

Since the beginning of Aug I have not been 100%.  I slipped on the stairs and landed on my ass and elbow. But at the time I was still in the middle of my Ironman training and it was not enough to slow me down.  I managed through the pain and completed all my workouts and was able to finish all my races with respectable times.

But since Sept 6th and the end of my racing season, I have not been able to ignore the discomfort. I thought that the 3-4 weeks off from training in Sept would help, but when I started up again three weeks ago, it’s still there. So that discomfort in my back started this down hill trend.  I have gone up in weight the last two months.  Why?  Most likely because I am eating out of boredom.  and the more I think about my weight gain, the less motivated I get, the more junk food I eat, the bigger my belly gets and the more my back hurts.

A little background for those of you that do not know, in the summer of 1989 I hurt my back on a diving board accident.  From the summer of 1989 through my last swim meet in college in march 1996 I was treated for muscle spasms and a rotated vertebra. When I quit swimming and moved on in my life I was taking 2400 mg ibuprofen a day just to function normal. After a while I just gave up and started living with the pain and that was the first time in my life I was overweight. Less time in the gym meant more time at home with access to food.

Finally during the spring of 2004 I went to a doctor and told him that the pain was so great that I could not sleep at night.  He gave me sleeping pills.  Great, that’s not what I needed. After a while I was able to convince them to take an x-ray. But they did not see anything that could be the problem.

So when I was visiting a orthopedic doctor about my hand a few months later, I quickly asked him if he could look at my back x-rays.  He promised to have the resident back expert look at my older x-rays.  Sure enough he saw something and sent me off for an MRI. The same day that we got a time to visit the back specialist we would then go to visit the midwife for the first time. so at 9:00am I was told that I have spondylolysis, which is a crack in the vertebra (see below)


During the rest of the meeting we discussed arthrodesis, which is an operation that connects the defective vertebra with a healthy one to reduce movement and nerve impingement. So walking out of the doctors office with the information that they only chance to reduce the pain was for this operation.


No matter which procedure they used, fused bones or plates and screws, it would mean 3 months in bed, and the operation was successful then 6-9 months rehab. If not, a second operation would be needed. Best case on my feet again after 6-9 months, worst case up to 6 months bed rest and another 15-18 months of rehab. Not the best information of the day.

At 10:00 am we meet with the midwife and find out that in 8 months we will be parents. So that pretty much ruled out any operation for me, but I quit playing golf and started working out more to lose weight and see if I could get the pain back under control. In 2006 I started swimming again and by 2008 I was able to lose weight and my wife Jeanette even noticed I stopped complaining about my back.

Back to present day…

I am not sure what specific event triggered my back pain this time, if it was my weight gain (aug-sept), the lack of training in sept or the round trip plane & train traveling from Sweden to Saudi Arabia last week. But I have been eating a significant amount of candy the past week, and I have yet to get out of bed for my morning workouts.  I was hoping to get back into things the last few days of October, but its starting to look more and more like I will be on the road again as early as next week…

2 thoughts on “An Evil Cirlce – Back pain, missing workouts and junk food = weight gain

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