Waves of post-covid body/joint/muscle pain

I don’t intend the title to be that dramatic; by pain I mean “old injuries start to ache again” and by “body pain” I mean a moderate dull whole body arthritis style ache.

I had such a wave yesterday upon waking up. It got slightly better after moderate exercise but, I finally gave in an took a single Narproxen (had stopped this in November 2022). Took one in the evening and this morning.

Prognosis: much better today, though I felt the left glute/hip at 2 miles into my walk this morning (much better pace)

Before the walk:

PT mixed with pull ups: enough reps (10 singles of crunch pull ups, 10 singles of regular pull ups, sets of 5 singles and 5 total) to get to 50 reps total.

Bench: 5 x 134, 3 sets of 6 x 155 (better)

low handle deadlift (form check) 10 x 134, 10 x 185 much improved body position.

3 sets of 10 x 94 high incline

push ups/stretch: 3 sets of 20, 2 sets of 10 chest tap pushups

Then the walk.

Contrast the above to the last time I tried 184.

The second: back is almost parallel to the ground (“stripper squat” position). The top: much better positioning, though on rep 1 there was a bit of hips rising too fast.

The difference: position of the feet. In the first, the hands were closer to my side rather than in front of me; I felt a bit squished at the start.

Enjoying the warmth

Yes, finally, a reasonably warm day! (by February in Illinois standards).

I broke up my workout: first PT and deadlifts. Then T. came by to deliver a lamp. She is an Army vet and KNEW I wore the Navy shirt for her benefit.

Afterwards, I walked my West Peoria 5K course.

Bodywise: I had some glute ache after deads in my RIGHT glute, but in the evening, just the usual in the left. The walk itself: some minor tingles at 2.2 then again at 2.8 but nothing like the bad old days. The walk itself went well.

The deadlifts: I decided to tackle the “hips rising too fast” problem. I think one issue is mobility, though I show decent mobility with 134. Another issue might be that my feet are a bit too far back; I’ll try to scoot them up just a bit.

From 1 week ago with light weight. I wonder if my feet are slightly more forward? The back position looks much better.

Afterward, I decided to catch a Bradley Women’s basketball game against Belmont. I told B that I thought BU would play a competitive first quarter, and that they did: they made 4 of 6 three point attempts to lead 20-17 after 1. But then came reality; it was 34-29 at the half and 55-37 after 3 quarters. The lead reached 22 points then Belmont put in their reserves and coasted to a 68-54 win..that really wasn’t as close as the score might indicate.

Rough season for the Bradley women; they are starting from scratch.
From my end: I am just grateful I got to go and plan to make the rest of the home games (both men and women)

Second back flareup

I had a flare up last night….again while laying down. Relief: laying on the floor with my legs up and bent like this helped. This is a screen shot from this outstanding video by Dr. Andrea Furlan. It is really the best one I’ve seen; lots of outstanding advice here.

The flare ups started last Thursday and are always associated with lying down. I also note they started after I switched to walking before doing pull ups, and I’ve noticed some radiating pain (not severe) a few sets into pull ups. I think I know why: I appear to be arching my back on the way up, and that is never good.

I’ll start doing few pull ups, with legs in front and if I need to 1-2-3 at a time (if that), that’s what I’ll do. I might even do some with the assist machine to train the muscles the right way.

I’ve noticed occasional pain when doing the crawl stroke, pull ups, sometimes with the bench press (after I torched it with pull ups) and toward the end of walking on a hilly course.
Oddly: deadlifts (ok, with the trap bar and light weights I use) are painless, as are push ups, back stroke, side stroke, or swimming as fast as I can.

Walking slowly (15 mpm or slower) starts to get slightly uncomfortable ..walking under 13 minutes a mile feels good.

(for those reading my blog for the first time: I suffer from neurogenic claudication brought on by femoral spinal stenosis which results from isthmic spondylolistheis. the TL:DR version: my L5 vertebra is slipped forward due to a chronic stress fracture in my pars (back of the spine) and this slippage impinges my L5 nerve root.

Today’s workout: I had some trepidation. But walking to work and back home were fine; I added distance to ensure 1.1 out, 1.03 back. No trouble at all. Work was fine too. I also did PT and a morning swim…very gingerly as the back ached while crawling; I made an effort to keep a flat back and not arch.

1000 with 4 side stroke 100’s, 4 back stroke 100’s, 1 fin segment (50 crawl, 50 back) and 1 no fin segment (50 crawl, 50 back)

5 x 100 drill/swim (4 kick on the sides/swim, 1 kick front, swim

6 x 50 on the 1:30. all but 1 were 0:57, one was 56 (swimming scared..kept a lot on the tank)

200 in 4:00 (again, swimming scared)

Then I had my two lunch walks.

So back to this injury: it is sort of crazy. I’ve got walking back, I can swim (provided I mix strokes and don’t over extend my crawl) and I can lift..with in reason.

The new worrisome symptom is the lay-down flare up. But my work life and walking are 90 percent better!

I am not ready for the knife yet, but I do have to manage my activities carefully and constantly checking for what might not be working.

Minor flare ups

I’ve reached a point where I am getting minor flare ups from time to time, but not while walking.

I feel it some just after pull ups (have to work on keeping the back straight; maybe use a belt?), bench (couldn’t quite get the back comfortable) and on rolling on my side from a prone position. I seem to be sensitive to arching; wondering if:

  1. Not doing the press ups
  2. too much sitting; just ordered a lumbar cushion
  3. Walking: how is the volume..it seems ok..the old pain while walking has gone down greatly.

I was worried about work, but no problems…even walked an extra mile home. But I didn’t do high incline presses.

PT, 1 mile walk, weights. Then a lunch walk

weights: pull ups 2 sets of 15 singles, then sets of 5. push ups: 3 sets 35, 30, 25 incline, 10 flat

bench: 10 x 134, 10 x 139, 10 x 139 feet up

curls: 3 sets of 10


The weather didn’t want to cooperate at first, but eventually we got a 4-3 Chiefs win. It was 4-1 in the top of the 9’th, when the visitors got a double and a home run. But that is where it stopped.

The crowd was pretty good, especially considering the weather delay.

Step achieved

Back in June 2021, I started physical therapy for my shoulder and what I thought was a piriformis injury. I got to walking up to 1 mile segments at a time; in the fall I did 3 miles usually in 1, .6, .6, .5, .3 segments or the like.

Early this year, it took a turn of the worse; I got medical attention for …my back. I brought back walks; 3 short ones at first. It was my dream to get to 5K.

In May, I got my “long” walk to 2 miles; 1.2-1.7 was more typical.

Finally, 2 miles is typical and I got a 3 today. That is 1 mile in 2.5 months…though the pace is much, much faster than it was then.

What I did:

PT inside.

Pull ups; did 2 sets of 5-5-5 (first one: 30 seconds rest between sets, second was “5 on the 1 minute”, then 2 sets of 10, and banded walks.

Then the 5K walk maintained a decent pace.

2 more sets of 5 mixed pull ups

push ups: 30 incline, 30 incline, 20 regular 20 regular

Walk 2 (1 mile)


Downstairs: bench press (legs in the air)

3 x 150, 3 x 155, 3 x 160, 3 x 165 (hard), 2 x 170, 1 x 175, 9 x 145 (every 3 minutes)

High incline: 3 sets of 10 x 94 (105 was too much for full ROM)

Curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

Of course, this is like when I first made 2 miles: this is my max, not my daily. Pace was fine, though my right knee kind of buckles.

The improvement is definite. But I am NOT healed by any stretch.

Next goal: average 3 miles a day, then 3 miles a walk. I am at 2 miles per walk (average). That will take time…several months.

Snapping out of it..

I am seeing more progress.

  1. Walks: are now starting with “I wonder what I can do today” instead of with dread. No, I am NOT up to 5K yet..still got a ways to go, but I am doing a lot of 1-2 milers and am at about 18 miles a week. YES, I know, in 2019 I could walk a marathon, but this isn’t 2019.
  2. Weights: I seem to have a good idea as to what hurts me and what doesn’t. I do have to be careful with the trap bar deadlifts and the “let’s see what I can do for 1-3 reps” days are probably over. I am not that far away from 10 reps with 300 lb (8 inch handles) though. I have to bear down on my form.
  3. Swims: most progress here. Again, where I am is laughably bad from where a good swimmer is and from where I once was (I was never good). But I think this is my best physical activity right now. This is where I restarted.
  4. Physical Therapy Routine: I think I have it down; I do these and add some of the Williams set.

It will be good to reach a point where I am no longer constantly whining about my back. It has been a long 2 years.

What went down today:

PT, included shoulders.

1.5 mile walk; a little tighter than I’d like but I probably wasn’t focused endough.

2000 meter swim, straight crawl (longest crawl set in forever). Great: well, no, but much, much, much better than were I was even in early July.

500 splits: 11:41, 22:50, 33:59, 45:04 (11:41, 11:09, 11:09, 11:05)

Miles: 9:25, 18:30, 27:20, 36:13 (final mile: 35:40)

Yes, I know; in 2001 I averaged 33 minute miles for a 5K swim; in 2008 I averaged 31 minute miles. But I am early in my training; I need to progress slowly. And I am well beyond where I was here (12:52 for 500, 11:44 for 500) and here. (11:14 after warm up, 10:52)

Afterward, a short hike ..and ONE stop (to take a photo..no stretching..though I did have to scramble under a fallen tree and that helped a bit. The hike was “easy effort” and in line with my other hikes on this course.

July 4 2022

Part I: the YMCA pool was open so I drove there and..well, evidently the swim team started at 6. So I was shunted into another lane and even we ended up circle swimming. I ended up beating up my hand on the lane line..it was a bit disconcerting to see so many next to me (yes, they were faster; a lot faster)

I made the best of it..and glad I didn’t know in advance else I wouldn’t have gone.

200 warm up (side, 50 back, 50 easy free)

200 of 50 kick, 50 swim with fins.

500 in 11:14 (zoo)

200 of 50 kick, 50 swim with fins)

100 (interrupted as someone wanted to circle…it was that kind of day

500 in 10:52

200 fins (some kick)

100 in 2:05 (damn, the 50 meter pool is long)

Then most of my PT, including shoulders

Then a hike: first part was on the single track wooded trail, second half had some asphalt, mostly single track woodchip/ grass

The single track: I did have to do some very quick stretches (20-30 seconds) but things cleared up when I was on flat asphalt or gravel. The back is better; that is undeniable. But the reality is that there will be a lot of “activity management.”

Swim: went very well, in terms of body and pain (shoulder and back).

Note: the swim itself went much better than a month ago; I have improved in swimming. But I thought I’d try for a mile straight..just not ready for that yet. I’d get chopped up at Barton Springs.

Not rainbows and unicorns

10 days after the injection:

  1. Night tingles reduced.
  2. Day to day “small stuff” pain greatly diminished.
  3. Swim pain (glute) mostly gone
  4. Ok, walking: 2 miles kind of feels like 1.5 used to and there is far less “after the fact” glute pain. But there are still tingles and duller pain..pretty dulled but still there. I also think that I get more “pop” out of my leg.
  5. Trying to learn how to squat: that still sucks.

Today: most of my PT

2 mile walk (slower)

Two months ago, this would have been exciting. Today is is “meh” due to the gorgeous weather.

More PT then 2000 yd swim:

600 of side/back

200 of 25 front balance kick, 25 free

50 alternating free/back recovery free (49, 48)

100 free, 50 back (1:41, 1:42)

100 back

100 of 25 free, 25 front kick

Then 500 of: 100 pull, 150 swim, 150 pull, 100 swim (9:36)

203.8 after swimming.

On one hand, this swim is nothing compared to what I once did. On the other hand, it is a major improvement from when I started (restarted swimming)

And the shoulder feels great.

Testing it out.

Ok, there was some mild disappointment with my walk. I did most of my PT first, stretched and decided to do 2 miles all at once.
Ok, it was painless BUT there were some tingles and some post walk “almost pain” (similar to what I used to get with “heavy” deadlifts..after the fact) Pace was not that bad (13:21 for 2 miles) but I suppose I expected rainbows, unicorns..and to be able to 10 miles without any sensation at all

It was my best walk in over 18 months, but…expectations were unrealistic.

I finished PT and ended up with a very long workout: 2:40 or so total?

pull ups: 10, 10, 5-5, 5-5, 5 chin, 5 wide, 5 mixed, 5 mixed

push ups: incline: 20, 30, then 5 sets of 10 with a banded walk, 10 on a step.

bench press: 10 x 145, 10 x 145, 7 x 150 (tired)

deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 260 (8 inch); very sloppy (too fatigued ..need to do this set rested)

incline press: 10 x 94, 10 x 94, 7 x 94 (lost the grip)

curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

then the belt squat: 3 awful sets of 10 with a joke weight (22 lb) trying to learn the lift. I might try with a plate under my heels; limited mobility (too stripper like)

Reading this, I am surprised the workout took as long as it did, but I did get kind of tired at times.