Dreading the worst, like DDD (degenerative disc disease), I put off going to the doctor again and again, making work and studies my excuse. Because of my lower back pain, I did not push through with a planned second marathon in 2009. However, I did continue to run, finishing several half-marathons for the year.
Now, it is 2010, and I have decided that two years is long enough to hope that the pain will go away on its own. I finally consulted a doctor, and the diagnosis: muscle spasms.
Generally, muscle spasms are caused by repetitive rotational movements of the spine (e.g., tennis), radical changes in training, or prolonged flexion of the back. Mine was probably the latter. During my marathon preparation, I sought to build my abdominal muscles through sit-ups, crunches, and a lot of leg raises. This put a lot of pressure in my lower back, for while it strengthened my abs, it did nothing to my back muscles.
Treatment for muscle spasms
In my case, after two years, ice will no longer work. My doctor prescribed muscle relaxants (Eperisone HCl 50mg) and pain reliever (Etoricoxib 120mg), and although I winced at the cost, I was more aghast that he ordered me not to run for a week. One week without running!
This experience has indeed taught me a valuable lesson. Never, ever, again postpone going to a medical professional. I should be happy I did not have DDD, but the thought of no running for one week is enough to make me cry.