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I don’t remember exactly when this pain in my lower back started. It might have been last week, it might have been three weeks ago, I’m just not sure. But it’s been there a while. For the most part, the pain has been minor, more annoying than agonizing. Up to now, it’s been content to just sit back there, constantly reminding me of its presence like a nagging little yip-yap dog that just dares you to dropkick it over the fence.

Fluffy Only recently, that little dog has started to sound more like something you might find guarding a junkyard, or perhaps a secret chamber. I’m not immobile, but last night the pain that hit me was the closest thing I’ve ever felt to physical impairment. I never before quite understood what people meant when they talked about immobilizing back pain, but I have a slightly better idea now. I guess I’ll stop pointing and laughing at those poor bastards.

The frustrating thing is that I can’t quite pin the pain’s origin on anything. I don’t recall lifting anything unusually heavy or exerting myself anymore than normal. My son is Captain Independence these days, So I don’t have to carry him long distances. I don’t have a history of back pain. I was pondering all this the other night, trying to nail down when the pain started and what I could have done to cause it, when it occurred to me that what I’ve been feeling sounds like a remarkably similar albeit less severe version of what my pregnant wife has been complaining about. She’s even going to the chiropractor next week at the behest of her midwife. To this thought, my inner detective proposed, “I say, Holmes, could it be sympathy pains?”

To which some other inner voice responded “Oh. Hell. No!” Something somewhere deep inside was really bothered by that idea. I’m not sure why exactly. I like to think my wife and I are in tune with one another, but not quite to that level. Maybe I saw it as threatening. Maybe it tripped the Unmanly Alarm. I keep meaning to adjust that stupid thing. Or maybe I didn’t like the idea of all that weight gain.

But it kind of left me wondering, could it be? I seemed to recall reading about sympathy pains in one of those new dad books that I pored over during our first pregnancy. A quick pass through the google-matatron brought up some info to refresh my memory. The proper name is Couvade Syndrome, from the French word ” couvee” meaning “to hatch.” My extensive clicking reveals nothing conclusive, a few studies here, some research there, but nobody’s quite sure what to attribute it to or if it even really exists. Of course, I don’t have any nausea or food cravings, so that’s two of the more common symptoms right off the list. But if Couvade is what I’ve got, then it could be that I’m either trying to build empathy with the wife, subconsciously trying to balance out the gender roles, or I might just be an attention whore. Thus sayeth the internets.

So who knows. Hostile Insecure Inner-Voice Guy aside, my wife and I are both plodding around with very similar backaches. Maybe it’s time to stop being such a guy about my health and go to the chiropractor.