As the winner of Max Muscle’s ‘Best Back in America’contest, Victoria Adelus, 28, of Bend,Oregon shares howshe struggled withdegenerative discdisease and overcamethe pain to competeon stage.
Photos: Dan Ray Photography Gym: The Spa at Glenpointe, Teaneck NJ
bout 80 percent o the American population isaected by back pain at some time in their lives.When I was young, I wasn’t worried about thisalarming statistic. As an athletic child, you eelinvincible. I was a gymnast, a horse vaulter, a track athlete andan avid snowboarder throughout my youth. When I nished highschool and started college, I began Muay Thai kickboxing and Ilater decided to prepare or my rst ull marathon. I there wasan activity that produced a massive amount o adrenaline, youcould guarantee I wanted to participate.Fast orward to 2006. I was only a couple o weeks away romrace day or my rst marathon. I had two hal marathons undermy belt and I elt ready. I was running 15 to 17 miles at a time.However, one day while running, my back began to hurt withevery step. I didn't want to give up despite the sharp twingein my lower spine because I believed it was probably a normalache that comes with the training. I continued training despitemy pain, until one day, my entire let leg went numb.I nally realized I couldn’t put o a trip to the doctor’s oceany longer. An MRI revealed that a disc in my lower spine hadherniated, and it was pinching my sciatic nerve to the pointwhere nerve damage would potentially be permanent i I didn’tdo something about it. I was also told I had degenerative discdisease.The next ew years were lled with ups and downs. Tellingathletes they can’t be active aects them more than just physically.My diagnosis began to seep into my soul. I decided not to gothe surgical route, and instead took the long way around. I wentthrough months o physical therapy, epidural steroid injections,yoga, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. You name it, Itried it.During that time, I got my personal training certication andread numerous books to get a better understanding o backpain. It was a long healing process and one that taught me a lotabout mysel. There were o course times when I doubted that Iwould ever be able to exercise again, but sure enough, I provedthat my injury was just a speed bump in the road.For more than a year I was barely able to move without pain,and I am now proud to say that I’m a national-level NPC tnesscompetitor doing back fips on stage. I’m very proud o my journey. Winning Max Muscle’s Best Back in America contestsymbolized my road to recovery. The contest allowed everythingto come ull circle, and it signies how hard I worked to getwhere I am today. I was blown away by the amount o votes Ireceived rom my local community and beyond. It truly showedme that when you believe in yoursel and have the support oothers behind you, anything is possible. Thank you to my lovedones, riends, medical care providers and sponsors or alwayshaving my back and thank you to those who voted and helpedme win such an incredible achievement award.
What does my story have to do with this back workout?Obviously, a lot. As a personal trainer and boot camp instructor/ owner, I make it my mission to help others strengthen their backsand their core. Building a strong back is essential in keepingyour spine healthy and preventing injuries like the one I suered.Stretching daily, practicing relaxation through massage or yoga isalso important in maintaining general health and preventing injury.You only have one body, take care o it!
By Victoria Adelus