Saturday, 24 February 2007

My struggles with back pain and sciatica.

I would like to share my back pain story with you and if you find it useful that will make me happy.I am always impressed with people who knowledgeably negotiate their way through back pain and if that's you I hope you laugh with me at how na├»ve I was when i was trying to work my way through the back pain maze. I did not try everything and I am well aware people have success with things which did not work for me and vice versa. If you want to know how it was for me please read on…..

This account is not always pretty and I am not always proud, but it is a frank, and very personal journey.…..

A year ago I knew nothing of the trials of back pain. Sure I had a riding accident when I was 10 and since the age of 18 minor episodes of backache, spasms and pain, but always resolved quickly, if not completely….a few treatments, rest, and back to normal. In my youth I was athletic, loved horse riding and running and nothing was stopping me. After all isn't a little back pain part of life….?

I was a positive, happy, and healthy person, and I saw no reason that would change…... Had I known when I was 18 what I know now I would have been finding the root cause of my aches and pains and doing targeted exercises to help me years ago.

Well I was in ignorant bliss but things were about to change…..big time!! I had a burning feeling above my knee. I assumed a pulled muscle. No big deal. I waited three weeks but the pain got worse. The Dr suspected disc problems and sciatica. The solution? Physiotherapy, but a twelve week wait list……..I asked what I could do, he said my spine was very curved and it was all about posture and to stand up straight. I thought I was standing up straight! I did not ask for detailed explanations. I assumed they would just take care of me. I was about to start a steep learning curve….

So getting worse and no physiotherapy, I went privately. She explained about discs and showed me the spine. It felt good to be resolving the issue….or so I thought. Twice a week ESTM and manipulation great and did ease the pain…temporarily. Exercises to help myself, fantastic! I did them diligently. However, I did not really understand why I was doing them or how they would help me. I needed to understand how my body worked. I had lots of questions but there was little time. However, people were talking about me being better in weeks!

Then it got worse....much worse!! Severe hot burning pain and tingling down both legs hip to toes day and night, no respite. I was desperate, Physio was concerned and thought I may need surgery, she said I needed to request an MRI and soon.

Waiting for the MRI, I spent many weeks off work, lying on the floor with severe back and nerve pain. I became miserable and demotivated and wondered where my life had gone. I hadn't slept in months. Painkillers spaced me out and make me feel sick and I couldn't live like that so I chose the pain… I was not pleasant to be around; tearful and angry at what had happened. My husband deserved a medal!! Physiotherapy only helped very temporarily with the pain and I was not making any lasting progress. Even so i still hoped it would work .......I should have remembered the saying- keep doing the same things you get the same results.

I focused on the pain and everything I could not do and worse projected in to the future all the things I thought I would never do. That is a killer. I know how powerful the mind is and I was seriously doing myself no favors. I felt isolated, I knew no one with back pain to share this experience with. I read everything in the house and my brain was turning to mush with daytime TV! I knew I needed to stop focussing on the negative and focus on all the good in my life.

I started a journal, noting all the pain free time I had, even 5 minutes, and being grateful for all the wonderful things I had in my life. I started to focus on what I could do. I listened to motivational CD's and positive thinking tapes. I got a little better. I determined to go back to work. My employers were considerate, adapting seating, taking advice from the physiotherapist, but it was hard. I quickly became exhausted from dealing with pain and trying to work.

So to the MRI appointment. The only problem was getting there…in a thunderstorm!! It should have been 90 minutes drive, but I couldn't sit for more than 15 minutes, so we kept stopping…I know every lay by and trucker stop on that route!!

So I arrived and changed into those oh so flattering gowns. A guy who had been in before me said in a cheery booming voice "your turn in the barrel now love!!" A great sense of humor is so important in these situations! The radiologist was great and explained everything. A tip, take in some music and they will play it for you. I took in my favorite relaxing CD but to deafen the noise I should have taken in heavy rock!! While MRI is certainly a weird experience it was fine.

Two weeks later, the NHS physiotherapy appointment arrived; now at last I wouldn't have to pay anymore…. From her I got new information; she told me she thought there was something wrong with the position of my hips….

That same week MRI results!! . Now there would be action. Now I would know exactly what was wrong and they would resolve it for sure. To me a scary diagnosis of prolapsed, desiccated, degenerative discs with nerve compression and lordosis of lumbar spine…What did that really mean??? but hey I got to take away some great slides I did not understand. They felt I was best seen by a neurosurgeon to interpret the results and plan the next step. A four month wait list. Dr said with my results and little progress he saw no point continuing the physiotherapy…

I went home to wait....This, yes this, was my low point. I felt like a failure. A hopeless case…. I hit rock bottom. I asked myself poor questions "why is this happening to me?" I know I should have asked empowering questions like "How can I find a solution" but I was tired, stressed and giving up hope.....but i had to keep going.

I went to see an Osteopath. The first visits seemed promising and helpful, but when he saw my scan he seemed to be not so sure and I lost confidence.I tried a healer who said it may be a problem with one or more of my past lives …. Not sure about that. After a couple of treatments I found ineffective, Acupuncturist told me I would need at least 10 sessions plus herbal pills at a cost of hundreds which I simply could not warrant spending by now, and so on..... I was sick of standing in cold rooms in front of total strangers in my underwear ...

So what next?

I struggled into work tenaciously determined to live a normal life in spite of the back pain only to crash out when I got home. I got through each day using heat packs…. The only relief I got from pain was in the bath. Many nights were spent wandering around the house trying to lose the pain. It took its toll and I got constantly sick. It was painful to drive, to sit, to lie down, to walk. …. What a life I thought…..Is this really the way it's going to be?

I had been told what not to do but not what I could do to get rid of the pain. I guessed I was heading for surgery but even in my darkest moments I thought, I cannot be that bad, surely there must be another way…….…I got a grip, stopped feeling sorry for myself and started searching.

Then two things made a big difference to me. I saw an advert for a Memory foam mattress. I was hesitant to spend more money but it had a money back guarantee and proved a good investment. It didn't change my physical condition but finally I could get comfortable. The foam cradled and supported my suffering body and although I still was in pain I could get to sleep. Bliss!

I searched the internet for help. I didn't just want another book. After researching possibilities, I found Lose the back pain system I read page after page, testimonials and information. Even so I wasn't sure. I had lost trust in anyone who offered a solution. Were these guys really on the level? Did they really care? However with a money back guarantee and personal support seriously what did I have to lose?

I watched the DVD's. Well I was surprised; it was just two regular guys Steve and Jesse(who are the co founders of The Healthy Back Institute) explaining simply and clearly about back pain. No jargon. I did the self assessments. I recalled my Dr mentioning my curved spine and the physiotherapist remarking on, "something wrong with your hip position". There certainly was!! In less than an hour I had discovered the root cause of my pain! Why in 7 months of this pain had no one mentioned muscle imbalances? The handbook was full of great solid advice and exercises I could implement. However, I was nervous about the exercises. I needed answers to my questions.

Poor Steve was the guy who got them all! He replied with sincerity and compassion, but also the push I needed. I remember his first advice to me,

"If you do nothing, nothing will change"

I had found an oasis in the desert! Steve educated me how to help myself. I started the specific targeted exercises for my conditions, slow and steady, gaining confidence in my body.Lose the Back Pain system is the main thing which helped me tackle my physical condition. To the bemusement of my colleagues I even stretched during long meetings! Steve and Jesse and the support staff are wonderful and the ongoing support is fantastic. I slowly and surely improved. The pain changed and eased. To supplement the program I got in the water, gently moving and found it really helped especially with pain. Water therapy is fantastic!

I got a burning desire to beat this thing!! Motivated and empowered I hogged the computer at home researching back pain! The facts about my condition were the facts but now it was up to me. I learnt so much. I moved from a passive patient to a co partner in my care and treatment

When I saw the neurosurgeon, I was well prepared, had done my research, and was armed with questions! I gave him a summary document of my issues and treatments, what had worked and what had not. Finally I had a good grasp of my issues. I am lucky; I did not need surgery, just water therapy and continue what I was doing. It was good to have a medical opinion.

My experience is I needed to ask the right questions, get to the root cause, get educated and take control.

Through all the struggle stay focused on seeking your solution. We all have our unique story. This one is not special. I just got to write it down. Thank you for listening…

Here are a couple of other Peoples stories

If you are looking for back pain relief click here to find out more about the lose back pain system  If you liked this post do consider joining our Facebook Page Sciatica Solutions.

Lose The Back Pain System
Lose the Back Pain, is a system of self assessments to determine what physical imbalances you may have that may be causing your pain, then specific and targeted exercises to follow to address the imbalances, along with pain reduction strategies. 

For useful information and suggestions there is a Free Back Pain Book Written by the Healthy back Institute-

7 Day Back Pain Cure
This free book (there is a small shipping/handling fee for physical book) will give you a good starting point for taking back control of your back pain covering reasons for pain, pain relief, possible treatments, action plans and many other things you will find useful.
Follow Jasmine Ann Raintree's board Back And Sciatic Pain Strategies. on Pinterest.

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