I have been exercising since the age of 20. I am very disciplined at what I do and once I start something, I will only stop if pain interferes.
I started doing ballet-style exercise and after 10 years. I added karate and weight training. I did 2 to 2 and a half hours a day, combining these three activities. I must not forget the fourth one, which is Israeli folk dancing.
At the age of 40, after practicing these activities for 20 years, I started getting back pain and took medication for a year, until it got so bad that I ended up going to an orthopedic surgeon.
The doctor said that I had L5 extruded. He said the last thing I should do is go into surgery, so he told me to stop doing all my physical activities and start walking in the pool, after three consecutive steroid shots.
Amazingly, I got better after two months of walking and started swimming and I was pain-free for 4 years. But in the beginning of 2013, I started getting back pain again and went to the doctor.
He said it was normal and did not suggest anything, but I was uncomfortable until this past August and went to see him again. I asked for a second MRI, after the first one which was done almost 5 years ago.
He said L5 was in its place, amazingly, but that my pain was being caused by the herniated disc between L2 and L3. I had one steroid shot, which did not help much.
I keep swimming. I stopped doing karate in the beginning of this year, but I keep swimming, hoping to get better. I also stopped doing the other activities, as well, but I hope I can return to the folk dancing in January.
I plan to swim all my life, since besides helping my back, I do enjoy it very much to keep me fit. - Clara