Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to cope with the misery of backache

BACK problems crept up on me slowly. There was no dramatic incident, just a gradual ache which spread across my lower back and gradually got worse. Since then, despite the best efforts of top-notch osteopaths, physios and complementary practitioners, my bad back has become a fact of life. At times, I have cried with rage and frustration.

The problem seems to be a weak link in the lower vertebrae, where a disc can start to bulge out from its moorings (it has never, thank goodness, actually "slipped"), exacerbated by a sedentary office-based job and the fact that I clench my jaws tightly all night when I should be relaxed.

As anyone with a bad back will know (and this includes the Queen, recently crippled by sciatica, in which the pain from the back shoots down the leg), whenever it "goes" there's a dreadful split second of realisation as you feel the ripple or crunch of the thing giving way, before the searing pain of muscle spasm sets in.

Along with the ruined holidays, there have been the interviews that I have conducted lying down, and long meetings around boardroom tables where, obliged to sit upright, I've been so distracted by pain that I could barely concentrate on the business in hand.

I think I have now worked out what needs to be done to keep the thing in check - enough exercises to maintain sufficient strength in the "core muscles" of the stomach and back. But it's never quite that simple. An incautious piece of lifting, or something out of the usual range of movement patterns, can still throw the blasted thing even when I'm feeling strong and - theoretically - less vulnerable.

The thing is not to panic; it will, gradually, get better. There are, however, many remedies and treatments that can either protect you or get rid of the pain more quickly. Over the years, this is what I've tried.
( Alice Hart-Davis' article goes on to list various terapies and her reaction to them. )

Source - Scotsman

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