First appeared on on 13th March 2016

A couple of years ago when I started documenting my running experiences on this blog, there was very little available on the web regarding cervical spondylosis and running. I didn’t find much from a runner’s perspective and so decided to journal my ups and downs. Most web pages and people said that it was a bad idea to run with my condition. I believed it too until I started to run. I soon discovered that I didn’t feel as bad on the days I ran.
My early months saw progress in fits and starts as pain derailed me frequently. The usual symptoms were a debilitating pain in the neck and shoulder which travelled to my wrist. It was almost always on the left side.  At times, the pain would be so bad that I could not turn my neck nor carry the lightest little sling purse on that side. There was no grip in my fingers and I broke a lot of things as they would slip out of my hands. A flare up would last days and require anti-inflammatory medicine besides tractions followed by physiotherapy. Pain of that sort at regular intervals led to a slow eating away of the mind and spirit.
However, pain also brought me to a way of healing and taught me to walk tall. Running was a step out of pain that depressed me to an uplifting of my spirit. It was not easy to start and stick with a new habit as any runner can vouch for. But something made me stay with it and despite the monkey mind, running has been a constant. Periodically, the spondylosis would flare up and there would be a spoke thrown in my efforts. Finally I sought relief in yoga and that brought healing, strength and flexibility of mind and body. It is the perfect balance to running for me. I got stronger and began running for longer periods without the grinding halt of pain. Most of the change happened even as I thought there was no progress.
Finding relief was not without pain though. My early yoga classes left me sore and the poses to relieve the pain would be very painful but over time those actions melted away the blocks in my body and I learnt to walk tall and sit straight. Running regularly made me stronger mentally, it taught me that my ability to endure is far greater than I think it is.
I’ve been off running deliberately as I attempt to transition to barefoot. It is probably time to start again now. The feet have been spending at least an hour on all kinds of surfaces and my walking speed has also increased. I’m excited and a little resistant at the same time. Somewhere I feel a little bashful of having to go through the huffing like an elephant on the run phase out on the roads. It’s nothing but a little runner’s ego at play here. And then again, it may not be as much of a starting all over. I’ve been surprised often enough to not go with any preconceived ideas. I’m curious to see where my feet will take me.

Disclaimer: This is a journal entry from my running blog and is only personal experience. I am not a qualified doctor or health practitioner and this post is just an expression of personal observations. It is not meant as a recommendation or discouragement.