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News Office Blog - Stringers » injuries
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massachusetts institute of technology

Guest Blogger: Doria Holbrook

MIT news

blog

A Bad Back


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My back hurts—all the time, every moment of every day. It hurts to sit at my desk and work. It hurts when I give someone a hug. It hurts to sleep. It hurts if I jump over a puddle. It especially hurts when I dive. If pain were on a scale of 1-10 and a 7 were the edge of one’s pain tolerance and a 10 was the pain one felt the moment before they die, I range from a 5-8. I only hit an 8, though, on backs and reverses (two types of dives) when I have to go from full extension (where my back is in a C) to full compression (my face on my knees in a pike). So long as I only have to do three reps of each of those, then I only reach an 8 six times a day. I can deal with that, most of the time.

The diagnosis—I don’t want to know. The possibilities—stress fractures, bulging disks, scar tissue, more permanent damage, who knows. I don’t want to know the diagnosis because it will jeopardize everything. If we know what’s actually wrong, then someone might have to make that tough call and not let me hurt myself worse on MIT’s watch. Lame.

Although we haven’t actually nailed down what’s going on, I am getting treatment. I go to the soft tissue specialist down by Government Center three times a week. I head to the physical therapists up at BU every other week. I get 20 minutes of stim, 10 minutes of ultrasound, and 30 minutes of PT in the training room everyday. With all of this, I’m still diving 2 hours a day, doing 30 minutes of dryland, and being a student at MIT.

It’s been a frustrating process, but I’m trying to stay optimistic. I take each day with a grain of salt and am not afraid to tell Brad, my coach, when a day is more than I can handle. It’s been interesting how much being in pain wears on you. Your patience thins and you start driving the people around you a little crazy. I try to catch myself and keep my goal in mind. Good morale works well in conjunction with lots of drugs.

Well, I’ll keep you posted on the situation and hopefully I will have good news to offer soon.