When I say "lift" it basically means lifting Junior. Most everything else I can move around without lifting them but Junior, I lift him up for things. The worst is getting him into a car - it got to the point where I'd put him in the car first because I knew that if I couldn't do that then we wouldn't go out. If I could get him in the car then I could get his bag and whatever else.
In fact this morning the Missus took two of the cats to the vet. They totaled maybe 30 lbs but lifting one was brutal and I realized pretty quickly that I wouldn't make it lifting both the cats as well as Junior. The Missus took the cats and I stayed behind with Junior. I think that this saved my back from going out today.
Changing position is bad also. For example standing up from a kneeling position is pretty bad, and I tend to do a lot of kneeling with Junior. From a laying position isn't as bad. These are limited to perhaps two or three every hour. It helps if I can lift myself up by bracing against a table or something.
The worst is lifting Junior when I'm seated, on a chair or couch. I've resorted to dragging him up onto my knees because I can't perform a proper lift.
Of course I try to save a lift or two for emergency purposes. Today there were a couple, one when he toppled back off of a full sized chair, another when he needed a belay while climbing the cat tower.
Junior, poking at Mike's eye and yelling, "Eye! Eye! Eye!"
Mike is laying on a platform five feet off the floor.
Still, though, my back has been pretty screwed up. I'm unclear on what caused it but I'd been riding consistently for a bit, did some snow shoveling, and bam, that was it.
Last year I did almost the exact same thing, some consistent riding, snow shoveling, and then I was done.
So remedies going forward, to try and prevent this from happening:
1. Buy a snow blower, per the Missus.
2. Be a man and let the Missus shovel the walkway when she offers.
For now it's Advil, some very easy stretches (my back feels like it needs to pop), and taking it easy.