Back in the weight room today, woohoo! I missed that, when I was on vacation– the hotel had a fitness center and my partner said "oh we should go" but we never did, and I contented myself with doing yoga and running on the beach instead. Today I found that I hadn’t lost too much progress, and I managed my usual lifts without too much trouble (no more than normal, anyway).
The pain in my lower back has gone away since I focused on strengthening the muscles there. More and more, I’m becoming convinced that a lot of my recurring aches and pains are due to muscle imbalance or weakness and can be helped if not eliminated by adding focused strength. Working on my quads helped my knee issues a ton, and I’ve started to suggest that to folks (along with seeing a doctor, of course) who complain of knee pain.
Sometimes I get funny results, though. My friend that I went on vacation with mentioned that her knees were bothering her, and I told the story of my knees and how much adding strength helped. She said, "Oh no, I could never do that! My thighs are already really big." Mind you, she’s fairly thin despite being inactive, and her thighs looked perfectly reasonably-sized to me. Oh well– you go on with your hurty knees and your skinny thighs, then.