Here I am, mid-50's, slowly losing that middle-age gut I earned during my 40's, exercising, really starting to build up my walk distance..... So 4 weeks ago, I'm cooking dinner, and needed a small plastic bowl, in one of the lower kitchen cupboards. Bent over, and WHAM!! Dammit, there goes that *muscle* pull again! Always in the same spot, left side of my spine, lower back, right around the glute. **sigh** The "fun" part of getting older, right? Give it a week, like I always have, it will stop hurting so much, and I can return to normal. Except, it didn't. A week goes by, I'm still hurting! A week and a half, and it's hurting WORSE. Just f***ing painful, to sit, stand, lie down....pretty much anything, including sneeze!! So I double check, and sure enough, my health insurance covers chiropractor's visits, so I make a call, and set up a visit for the next day. Go in, have my exam by the doctor, and a couple x-rays, with another appointment the next day, to discuss the results. Come to find out, my two lowest lumbar disks are in SAD shape! Instead of the nice healthy disks they should be (about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick), these poor disks are thinned down to 1/4 inch toward the outer part of my spine, and 1/8 inch (maybe a bit less) toward the inner part! There's evidence, too, on the x-ray, that I might be starting to form a nice bone spur, on my lowest vertebrae. And where I ought to have a nice curvature, in my lower spine, it looks like a very slight one, instead. So much for being in great shape! The cause? Too many years with that gut hanging out, pushing my back out of shape, and putting extra stress on those disks. Too many years of bad posture, usually while sitting (so now I'm making a real effort to sit up straight, stand more often, and not cringe, every time I think of my father, telling me to stop slouching so much, as a kid!). The cure? There is none. The damage is done, and all we can do now, is try to slow down the rate of the damage occurring. I'm doing 3x a week at the chiropractor's, then we'll do a reassessment, and likely cut down to once or twice a week, eventually whittling it down to just the occasional visit, to ensure everything is staying where it's supposed to be. I do have to say, my back feels better, now, than it has in years (and will admit, that I should have done the chiropractor thing YEARS ago!). So if you're reaching middle age, or already past, and feel as though your back needs a tune up, I would definitely recommend checking out a "back cracker" doctor. If you're overweight, seriously consider losing the weight....as if you needed another reason to do so, right? I'm lucky. I discovered this at the 3rd state of degeneration, instead of the 4th or 5th, where they start talking about fusing vertebrae, just so you can function, and drugs to keep you going, through the pain. I'm still able to work out, and walk (just did a 2 mile walk, this past Thursday), and will hopefully build the strength up, to help hold things together, as long as possible. I'll probably never be able to carry a heavy backpack, though, without causing additional damage to those disks, so I'll have to adjust any bugging out plans accordingly. Here's to 2017, and good health. Take good care of your body, folks.....it's the only one you'll get!