I had a really bad horseback riding wreck in my 20's which cracked some of my lumbar vertebrae, dislocated my entire shoulder, tore the muscle structures in my left thigh, damaged my sciatic nerve along the left side, and altered my spinal alignment. I'm seriously lucky that I'm not paralyzed, and for the record I am truly grateful for my ability to walk at all, much less enjoy a physical mobility at the level that I do.
But whenever I have tension in my back, it creates torsion in my spine, which increases the pain, which then increases the tension in my back. It's a vicious cycle. The torsion in the spine pulls on the spinal ligaments which causes them to tighten and rotate and twist my vertebral column in a way that bends me over at my waist at about a 30 degree angle and then rotates me around my left hip so that I look a little like Quasimodo. And the pain? It's just ... exquisite.
Eventually, I'll have to have surgery, but my neurosurgeon says that as long as I can live with the pain, then that's what I need to do because anytime you start talking back surgery you're entering seriously dangerous territory.
Hippotherapy (physical therapy on horseback) helps because it maneuvers the bones, muscles, and nerves in a way that keeps them toned and flexible. And I know which types of chores I physically cannot do. Running the vacuum sweeper, for instance, has a push-twist motion that aggravates the injury and causes the tension-torsion combination.
It doesn't happen often, but this morning I woke up with my hip and back joints all out of alignment. The pain is coupled with an inability to feel my left foot at all and an increase in the tingling sensation that I always feel along the outside of my left leg. I don't know what I did yesterday, but whatever it was, I wish I hadn't. And if I could figure it out, I'd never do it again. I do know that because of the cold weather, I've not been on my horse since before Christmas, so that's definitely part of it.
But right now, the only thing to do is to take major pain killers and get myself into a hot bath and wait for the upper back muscles to loosen up and release the hostage that they've made of my body.