Here's some history: I've had a "bad" back for over 6 months. The issue first appeared acutely and suddenly—like a thunderbolt—over a year ago after a backbending adjustment (leaned on full weight). And at the time it felt so good! Minutes later, getting into my car I was in breath-sucking pain. The serious hurt went away after a week or so and returned briefly after another adjustment. Between those episodes, functional pain waxed and waned.
Anyway, now I experience pain in seated forward bends, as in the first half of the First Series. Back bends are fine, but going from back bend to forward bend has to be done very slowly.
For six months I've done the following:
- toughed it out in daily practice
- taken time off from daily practice
- taken lots of ibuprofen
- taken no ibuprofen
- taken oil baths
- had deep massage focusing on the area - left side quadratus lumborum
- had acupuncture treatment
- purchased a heat sensitive mattress
- adapted my practice
- seen a chiropractor
- accepted (on some days) what I can and cannot do
There has been improvement. In the first weeks of '12, I couldn't do any pose using back muscles (that means almost no poses.) Now I do an adapted "set" of First and Second, leaving out many or most of the forward bends. About once a week, I test recovery with a led First Series class.
Slept in the bed only 4 nights, so it's early to tell its effect. Do know this: I am not waking up with a hurting back (just stiff and sore.) So maybe...
The underlying question is what does age have to do with this? It's hard for me to know for sure since I've been a steady Ashtanga practitioner for about two years, not exactly a lifetime.
Would I have been injured if I were younger? I'm thinking not. Thinking that—for me at least—age has brought fragility. But how can I know that for sure since I have no youth Ashtanga baseline.
Is fragility the difference between older and younger practitioners?
Day by day, I am investigating the truth of my body.