My lower back pain problem
This is, I think, how I ended up with a lower back pain problem...
I was never the sporty one in my family. My younger brother and sister are both more sporty than I am. They played team sports and were the popular ones at school. Me, I hung out with the nerds. I enjoyed making model kits of tanks and planes, or doodling, or reading. I was never very fond of running around in the fresh air...
I was an ungainly teenager. I know, I've seen the photographs. There's one in particular, taken of me side on - I didn't know it was being taken and didn't pose (I think we were at a zoo). My head is slouched forward and I have the most appalling posture. I'm now living with the legacy of that.
(And let's not talk about my fashion sense back then. What on earth was I thinking?)
So there I was, 27, and my back was starting to wake me up.
much like clockwork, at 4am every night, I'd wake with really bad
backache. And I didn't know what to do about it.
So I went to my local doctor.
Frankly, my doctor was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard. He basically told me that the human spine is a very complicated structure and nobody really understands why anyone gets lower back pain. He did give me some simple exercises to do, but also gave me a prescription for slow-release ibuprofen.
The drugs worked.
The exercises were less successful - but part of that is that I didn't understand what the exercises were trying to do. My doctor didn't explain why I needed to do them and as a result I didn't keep up with them.
I'm not all that keen on drugs - especially painkillers. So
while I stopped taking them. And inevitably, the pain returned. So in
between repeat prescriptions I tried more physical treatments including
The Alexander Technique, physiotherapy, going to the gym and visiting
an osteopath. I'm currently "doing" pilates. I also read books and
bought a few aids to help ease my lower back pain.
And I found that while much of it works for a short time, it tends to wear off after a while.
My back problem in a nutshell
Here's my back as I understand it.
My hips are tilted forward, which gives me a bit of a paunch (unattractive, I know), and also causes my lower back to be too arched. Additionally, I have a twist in my spine so that my right shoulder is slightly higher than my left (the osteopath and physio both told me this - without them I don't think I would have spotted it).
Apart from being woken up at night with lower back pain, symptoms include not being able to stand upright for long periods of time - and I find walking slowly or mooching around museums or shops almost impossible.
According to Pete Egoscue's snappily-titled "The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion", this means I have Condition II (the spinal twist) piggybacking onto Condition I (the pelvic tilt). The book provides a good set of stretches to sort out both Condition I and II, but I'm not cured yet. I don't blame the books - I blame my lack of willpower to continue with the stretches when my low back pain eases.
One of the other problems is lack of time. The exercises can easily take an hour or so to do, and these days I just don't have the time.
One of the things I'd like to do is work for myself one day. When I stop being a corporate drone I'll make sure that I set aside enough time to do these (and other) exercises.
But until then, I'm still working on it and still looking for a miracle cure for my lower back pain.
Why I've written this website
Creating a website about my lower back pain may seem like an odd thing to do, but I'm hoping that by making me actively write about my back, I will start to take more action to sort it out.
I suspect it will also make me realise just how much money I've been spending on things like tempur mattresses and other "medical aids". Perhaps if I can save you from spending too much money as well, then my work is done.
That's the theory, anyway. I'm looking forward to seeing if it works.
Written by Steve Hatherley.