“Get up like those pregnant ladies do . . .”

(Image source: JohnStoneFitness.com)

[Note: This post is a continuation of my previous post “My own dog is barking at me” and is my attempt at lightheartedness and humour, and not a ploy to get sympathy. Feel free to laugh at my antics!]

“Get up like those pregnant ladies do . . .” (i.e. use my arms to heave myself up off a chair or the bed) is the advice I get from a friend, when I complain to her that I struggle to get up once I’m sitting or lying down. This comes from somebody who has never been pregnant, nor as far as I can gather has ever had any significant back problems. Her wisdom is no doubt mostly based on what she’s witnessed on television!

The problem with her advice is that doing so inevitably would result in me arching my back, which would cause waves of pain to move up my spine. So I’m not even going to try it. My current method of dropping my head and chest down toward the table/desk, putting my hands to either side and essentially doing a push up while at the same time straightening my legs, at least doesn’t cause my back to spasm. The same method is used when I get off the bed, although slightly modified. I have to roll onto my stomach, use my feet to pull myself to the edge of the bed, and drop my legs over the side into a kneeling position. After this the push up thing gets me high enough to grab the headboard to steady myself, and do the final “walk up” into a standing position. Although this method ensures I don’t have to endure excruciating pain, it must look extremely funny to anybody watching. Willie hasn’t laughed at me – at least not out loud. Rosie and Lucy (the dog and cat) however, watch me with very clear bemusement. In Lucy’s case, it’s probably closer to disdain.

One thing is for sure. After this episode my weakly developed arm muscles are going to be far more toned, and hopefully I’ll have better upper body strength. Oh, and according to the articles I’ve read about my kind of back injury, if I had had toned abdominal muscles, my back may not have got injured in the first place. Another thing I’ll need to work on . . .

Remember: Lift with your muscles, not with your back!

[This post was written while I lay comfortably in bed i.e. I didn’t have to suffer any pain for my “art”]


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Categories: Health/Healthcare, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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25 Comments on ““Get up like those pregnant ladies do . . .””

  1. June 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Bless your heart, Lisa! I have been there! Is it getting any better?

    By the way, big news on my blog today–check it out!


    • June 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

      I am improving every day – less pain and more mobility! My big breakthrough today was being able to wash my own feet in the shower! 🙂

  2. June 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I have felt your pain. For now, do whatever you have to do to avoid re-injuring the back. Does not matter how silly it may look or feel. And continue to be cautious well past when the pain subsides. A few weeks after you’re feeling “normal” then start on exercises to strengthen the back. At least that’s my $0.02 from my own back problems. Hope you feel better soon!

    • June 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Thanks Mike! I hope you don’t have backache on a regular basis? I have quite a high pain threshold (lots of migraines), but this is truly a unique pain situation. Not being able to even shift in bed without having severe spasms is something I’ve luckily not experienced before. I’ll definitely be heeding your advice on being cautious during the next few weeks. There’s been a marked improvement today, so I’m hopeful the worst is almost over.

  3. June 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Uhm yes, “heaving” might be a bit much – pushing yourself up works much better 😉

    I’ve been laid up once for over a week with an acute back muscle spasm. Couldn’t stand the pain by the second day and ended up visiting a doc who specializes in sports medicine. He was very upset with me for not using my tummy muscles and my knees. And I don’t want to remember how painful it was getting in and out of the car, just know that it isn’t something that I’d want to repeat!

    I’ve gotten into the habit of bending my knees now – it took some getting used to but it works. As for the tricks to use, it probably differs from person to person. Your body will tell you what it can handle. Something else I’ve done from a sitting position is to scoot to the tip of a seat, place my feet wide, lean forward and use my leg muscles (with a bit of a tummy-tuck mixed in) to push myself upright – especially if lifting my arms caused pain.

    Oh yeah, I think I know why Lucy would look on with disdain. She’s probably trying to tell you something like “if only you stretch when you wake up, like we cats do, you won’t get a crick in your back” 😉 Wonder how may humans does that?

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

      Ah, so you know what I’m talking about then! Did you get any treatment besides anti-inflammatory meds and bed rest? My knees have not been good since I was a teenager, which is why I haven’t been using them to pick up things . . .

      You could be right about Lucy’s disdain . . . By the way, Rosie who watches everything Lucy does, also does cat like stretches sometimes. Not a bad habit to pick up.

  4. June 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    *that is supposed to be “many humans”

  5. June 30, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Do what ever works for you. I promise you we are not laughing! Hope you feel better soon.

  6. Lu
    June 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    I’m afraid that I don’t have much in the way of advice to offer you. My back clicks in and out – which freaks some people out 😉 My dad and sister, however, do suffer and find that doing regular, simple stretching exercises do reduce the number and/or severity of back pain episodes. Hope you get better soon..

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      Thanks, I’ll try the stretching exercises once the pain subsides. Your back sounds like my knees – they crack horribly when I bend them, although there’s no pain involved.

  7. June 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    It sounds like you have it all figured out. At least Rosie isn’t barking at you while you do this.

    Feel better soon!

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂 Rosie has got over me moving strangely, and she now thinks it is NO excuse for not taking her for a walk or playing with her. She’s getting so bored without her usual playmate (me) at her disposal, and is causing havoc in the house.

  8. June 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    oh dear – I have missed out on so much – will be going back and reading all your posts. Hope you get better soon!

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      Hi there! So nice to see you online again – hope you are well? Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂

  9. July 1, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    good comes from bad, now you´ll have perfect arms!!! 🙂

    what I did when in your situation was to rest till the pain decreased, took some antinflamatory pills of course, and then started to strecht my back. I´ll see if I can find the page with the excersices …
    anyway, visit a chiropractor for better advice!! he surelly knows the right way to treat it!!

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      I’m not sure that my arms will be perfect, but they’ll definitely be stronger and more toned. I’m scared to go to a chiropractor – my mother’s got a bad back and hers got a lot worse after visiting one.

      • July 2, 2011 at 1:18 am #

        I cannot find the link in my computer but I guess if you google it, you´ll find some useful tips for things you can do without hurting yourself.
        As for the chiropractor, there are good and bad ones. Maybe you know another person who had a better experience and you ask for that doctor´s name?

      • July 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

        That’s a good idea for finding a doctor. Thanks, I have found some basic back exercises which I can start with once all the pain is gone.

  10. Sarita Botha
    July 1, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    You seem to have worked out what works for you and what not. Hope you feel better soon.

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      My “rule” is to only do things which don’t cause any pain. Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂

  11. July 1, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    I hate that you’re still not on the mend. Hang in there!

    • July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      I have improved quite significantly since Monday, but I still move very slowly. Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂

  12. jacquelincangro
    July 3, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    You really don’t realize how much your back is involved in every movement you make – until your back is out, that is.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    • July 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      You’re right about that – I found that even just moving my toes, I could feel it in my back. Thankfully, I’m improving steadily.

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