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We Shall Overcome! (Part 1)

October 29, 2009

A recent friend of mine and blogger, Rico, has a great blog detailing his workout journey over at Pushing Play – A P90X Blog.  I learned of his injury prone lifestyle (sorry Rico!) and thought he had a great story to tell that I think many can relate to.  Below is part one of a two part series showing how P90X inevitably has assisted where many therapies could not.


My name is Rico … and looking back at my life, I now realize that I’ve always been injury prone.  1 - overcomeMy first conscious injury happened when I was 6. I jumped off the stairs at my elementary school, trying to impress the girls, and landed square on my pants (that was a Spongebob reference). After that, I couldn’t sit right for a week and have suffered from back problems ever since.

My ankles are another area that has been a point of weakness ever since high school.  My ankles are so screwed up now that I can sprain it as I am going either up or down stairs, on a flat surface while walking … while sitting on the couch (true story) …. just 2 weeks ago I suffered what I consider to be my first MAJOR ankle injury: a fracture of the Talus bone.  I say “major” because I consider that to be structural damage and, in construction, any structural damage suffered to a building is pretty important and requires extra careful attention in order to salvage the building and not endanger any lives. Yeah … I’ve torn ligaments, muscles, have fallen arches and experienced Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendinitis. My feet are pretty weak – I call them my rag feet. Thanks, Basketball …. I love you to the core and this is what I get, huh?

I tore my Meniscus for the first time when I was 17, about 2 months before Prom. I was the team goalie and was having a helluva season (3 shutouts in 5 games) until I landed on a minuscule rock by accident. It hit the right spot and that was my season. I had surgery about 2 weeks later and spent the weeks leading up to my graduation on T3s and crutches. Imagine my fun at Prom: Recovering from surgery, Awkward date, knee brace like Robocop, Prescription painkillers and no alcohol!

From there, I suffered 2 Ulnar Collateral Ligament tears (one in each hand) as well as tears in the ligaments of both wrists (one was a dirty play by an opponent) and a near fracture of my orbital bone due to a flying elbow. These injuries were caused by both Soccer and Basketball … sensing a trend?

Life Altering Change

In August 2006 I was playing outdoor soccer (yet again) and, similar to my second injury 2 - Life Altering(directional change), a quick shift of position caused me to suffer MAJOR back spasms that forced me out of the game before the first half.  After a month off, my basketball season kicked off and we began playing.  In January 2007, on a seemingly ordinary play, I collided with another player and torqued my back again. I really didn’t feel anything until about 2 hours after I got home and had a nice, hot shower right before bed. I begged my wife to help me to bed and proceeded to suffer through another round of “back spasms” for the next few weeks.  About a month later, with the pain being sharper than it had ever been, I went to the doctor’s office on the suggestion of my wife. An MRI was scheduled and, 2 weeks later, was told that I had a herniation of my L4 and L5 vertebrae. By this point, I would cry for hours from the pain and could do nothing more than lay on my back. I was put on Cox-2 drugs like Vioxx and Oxycocet as well as T3 and Naproxen.

I estimate that I spent over $5,500 on physio and, after one YEAR of attending these appointments, I was nowhere near being done or fixed. The pain had not lessened or become bearable. The prospect of spending more money on techniques that weren’t working was daunting.

I’m not gonna lie: Sometimes, the pain was so overwhelming that I wondered and prayed for my life to end simply because I didn’t want to hurt any more.  The pain dominated every facet of my life and it took hold of my very soul for a while.

The Tide Turns

I read a book called A Consultation with the Back Doctor by Hamilton Hall  Eventually, I 4 - turning tidestarted taking it with me to physio appointments because I had grown tired of playing my Game Boy.  The book turned out to be an eye and soul opening experience that paved the way to where I am now. The more I found out about my current condition and listened for advice from this medical professional, the more I was  strengthened. In the pages of his book, I found information, hope, courage and – combined with the reinforcement of my Physiotherapist and Doctor – I also found the willpower to act.

I ditched my phsio appointments – all of them (which I’m sure was NOT what anyone had expected) – and decided to opt for a personalized round of physical conditioning. I had been assured by my doctor and physiotherapist that I was beyond the point of damage and that all I needed to do was WORK through the pain and re-strengthen the muscles in my core. And after understanding and coming to terms with the fact that pain does not equal damage, I went out and bought a copy of P90X, after my baby brother suggested it. This was in July of 2008.

After buying it, I was SCARED of going ahead and doing it – I had my doubts, like …… What if it didn’t work? What if it caused me MORE pain? What if it didn’t help heal me? What if I re-injured my back and set back my recovery?  But I put my fears aside and decided to move ahead with it. The first week was very hard, but the more I did it, the better I felt and eventually – about a month later – I realized that I was not suffering from back pain anymore! The bad days gave way to good days and I passed my time NO LONGER counting the amount of good time in between bad days, but counting the amount of bad time in between good days and eventually, I stopped dwelling on the bad at all!

Honestly, it was the best decision I could have ever made.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 3:29 pm

    You know…that’s exactly how I felt about P90X at first, for the exact same reasons. I have chronic back pain due to a snowmobile accident I had about 13.5 years ago. I literally rolled the snowmobile on top of myself on ice…thankfully it had gotten mild and with rain, I broke through into a foot of ice water, or else I wouldn’t be here today. Anyway, chronic back pain is tricky. It’s a viscious circle…have back pain- exercise to build strength and lose weight to lessen back pain-get more back pain. I’ve been living in this cycle for sooo long. Initially, knowing that P90X is Xtreme, I was a bit apprehensive. I knew I was strong, yet I doubted that I would survive it…lol. Happily, I feel awesome. I have more of a sore back today because of working out with Back and Biceps yesterday, but the pain is no where near what I usually have. I have still get locked occasionally…but that’s what muscle relaxants are for, hehe. Since I’ve gone refined-sugar-free/gluten-free, and especially since I’ve started P90X, I feel better than ever.

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