How Our Fall Break Turned Into a Physical Therapy Vacation!

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Manic:  Having a teenage boy in multiple sports activities that includes hockey, high school golf training and his newest interest….weight training.  It became manic when he hobbled over to my car on Thursday with extreme back pain.  Yikes!

Managed:  Going with my gut and trusting my mother’s instinct that we should go straight to the doctor, so that is what we did!  And guess what…our fall break has now become our physical therapy week, but we are making the best of it.  Read on to see what I mean and if you have a boy who is or will be a teenager someday, definitely read on!

In the last few months, our almost 15-year-old boy has traded in his t-shirts for what his generation calls “bro tanks” and if you don’t know what that is, it is simply a muscle shirt or tank top for boys.  Here is our boy modeling one of his favorite “bro tanks”…although he wouldn’t like that I call it modeling!  The truth is that I was quick enough to get a picture of him.  He is not the most agreeable subject to photograph these days.  It is a teenage boy thing! 

So once he made the switch to bro tanks, began asking my husband to join him on his 5am gym workouts and registered for his high school’s advanced PE class, we became very aware that our son now wanted to build muscle.

Ok we thought, but at what age can boys weight lift?  How much is too much?  Since we were concerned that he not overdo it, we enlisted the help of a personal trainer from Anytime Fitness, my husband’s gym.  A twice-weekly trainer became our big early birthday gift to our son and he loves it!

His trainer, Vegas is a great guy and is really good at what he does.  The only thing our boy didn’t like about his training sessions is that Vegas told him that he doesn’t believe that boys should weight train until they are 16 years old, so we went with that and thought we were good.

But on the mornings that Vegas wasn’t there, my husband spied Jack weight lifting at the gym.  He told our boy to take it easy, but our boy is determined to shape his body like a muscular man and his body certainly is changing into a man’s physique each and every day.  It is almost surreal to see just how much he changes on a day to day to basis!  Just look at last year’s school picture compared to this year’s picture…

It is truly like a magic trick!  So our son also started weight training in his advanced PE class.  They are careful to check his form, so that is a good thing.  At some point in the last week, we don’t know when, our teen decided to challenge himself with more weight and unfortunately, his back didn’t agree.

He first told us about it after his dry land training at his hockey practice.  After that, his back was hurting, so we gave him two Advil and by morning, he said he was just fine.  Awesome, we thought!  He then attended his high school’s golf practice and again, he did fine.  Great we thought!  But then he ran a mile in his school’s PE class and when he got in my car after school, his face and form didn’t look good.

So off to the doctor we went, despite his protests that he had hockey practice that afternoon and then the end of the Cardinals game to catch at home.  And he was right about the appointment taking so long.  We waited an hour to see our very busy doctor.  We love our kids’ doctor and once she could see us, she was very apologetic.  We usually don’t have to wait long at her office, but they had been slammed that day with colds, flu and guess what else….several other teenage boys with back issues from lifting too much weight!

I don’t know why I didn’t consider this, but I never imagined having to take my teenage boy to physical therapy.  I have imagined other teen challenges, but not this one.  So the doc told us that he was having pretty good muscle spasms in his lower back and that all of his beloved activities had to be halted until he went through physical therapy (PT) and was cleared by a physical therapist.  We had a bummed out boy on our hands now!

I am definitely a glass is half full person and I like to look on the bright side.  So, I have decided that it is lucky that it is our fall break next week because our schedule is open for the three PT sessions that we now have scheduled for next week.  And since we have decided to take our boy to my husband’s PT, who is on the other side of town from us, we are making it a physical therapy vacation and staying at a nice hotel close to the rehab facility, so we still get to go on Fall Break, even though this was not what I had imagined!  Sweet hubby is staying behind to take care of the house and cats for us as we go on our “physical therapy” vacation!

Our muscle man is also taking nine Advil a day!  Yikes!  But that is what the doctor and our PT is telling us to do.  He takes 3 three times a day, but just for a few days, so that is good.  He is also seeing his personal trainer today (who is not happy that this happened!) to learn some helpful back stretches.

So let me ask you parents out there.  Has this happened to you with your teenage mini man?  Any advice?  I know he wants to be muscular and I love that he wants to be fit, but it looks like he is getting a lesson in physical therapy and patience first.

Ahhh….these teenage years!  These are the days….and in 3 1/2 short years, when he leaves us for college, I’m gonna miss these days, big time!


  1. thanks for sharing — I’m sure other moms of teenage boys are experiencing similar concerns and this will help them cope and make the right decisions (i.e., doctor visit, weight lifting limits, etc.)

    Good luck with all the teen years–I’m sure there will be more surprises coming your way!