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Jan 4, 2023

Dealing With Pain and Staying Active

My Personal Story

Pain.  There are many forms of pain.  There is physical pain.  There is emotional pain.  As a runner/walker, I am currently dealing with physical pain and trying to find the best ways to not only manage the pain, but ease or eliminate the pain.

For a few years, I noticed that lower back pain started to become a regular visitor for me.  When the pain first started, I only experienced very minor pain and could make it through a full 5K or 10K and then just needed to make sure I took a long soaking bath afterwards and stretched.  Over some years, the pain got increasingly worse, and now I find myself not even able to do a full 5K without stopping to stretch or cutting my 5K short altogether, because the pain is just too nagging and unbearable.

My heart has become sad because of this, as I enjoy being on the pavement so much, and have enjoyed watching my body transform into a stronger and leaner woman over 50.

X-rays have determined that I have sciatica, and my spine has curved.  This is a condition that is possibly genetic, as my mother has issues with her back.  Although her issues started while she was in her thirties, mine did not begin until I was in my late forties.  Once I made it through my thirties and did not experience any back discomfort, I thought I had escaped the sciatica issue and would breeze through my forties, fifties, sixties and beyond unscathed with pain.

For any of you who have experienced some sort of pain either due to an issue such as sciatica, knee issues, hip issues or something similar, you know the pain can set you back as you learn to deal with the issue.

Many people believe that being diagnosed with a mobility issue/disease calls for totally removing yourself from the pavement or your workout routine.  Although rest may be prescribed initially while your doctor properly diagnoses you, the worst thing you can do is to remain sedentary and put yourself on permanent rest.  I have had three specialists tell me that the best thing for sciatica is to keep moving and carry on with my normal activities as much to my ability.  I have had to slow down and cut the distance, but I continue to move.  There are physical therapy exercises one can do also that help relieve pain caused by sciatica nerve pain.  I have had to learn that.  I have to incorporate my exercise routine in my daily schedule, I must also incorporate regular stretch exercises in my daily schedule.

I am hopeful that I will not need to have any painkilling injections, as I am hopeful that my continuous movement will keep me mobile and reduce the pain in a natural way.

One exercise that I found extremely helpful with my pain is meditation.  Incorporating meditation into my daily schedule along with the other exercises prescribed by my doctor has really helped take my mind off of concentrating on the pain.  My pain is usually at its worst first thing in the morning and whenever I over-exert myself.  By practicing meditation, I allow my mind to become calm which takes my mind off of the reality of my condition.

As I navigate my way through this sciatica condition, if you are experiencing a form of physical pain that has altered your time on the pavement or regular activity workouts, I encourage you to contact me on Instagram @gardenonthegram so we may support each other and offer further tips towards healing.

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.