How do it start?
There was no start to the pain. Just a few stiff moments and slight ache which would spontaneously disappear and reappear with movement, lifting and getting out of bed in the mornings. All part of taking around 3 weeks off from my usual exercise routines and going full on with relaxation mode - well I deserve the rest I work hard!
It was a Sunday in September and I had to shift some not so heavy but awkward to lift black bags as part of a house clearance. The task was causing increased stiffness and a general ache in the lumbar region but I wanted to just finish the job, so I just pressed on. The final chore was a big sweep of the front of the house, collecting the leaves with a small hand dustpan and brush, then having a moody teenager hold the bag at around 50cm off the ground so I was forced to keep bending over to deposit the leaves into it . So let's add frustration, annoyance and fatigue to the equation.
That night my sleep was disturbed with each slight move or turn and lying flat on my back required minuscule, slow movements to sit up. The pain was real!
In the morning I was able to get myself up from the bed only because of my high pain tolerance.
The muscle spasms and shooting pain in my lower back and right leg were excruciating! Every simple movement produced more and more pain. I had to scream for the teenager to come forth with the pain medications, which were only in the next room but navigating the physical logistics and random movement induced muscle spasms to get there was not feasible.
I managed to get to work with the help of pain medication, but I could only move very slowly. Not sure how I got through my client list that week, but I remember it involved short days, raising the clinic couch to heaven and standing as straight as a foot guard. My chair was also raised to the highest level and if I had to turn to the right or left I had to move my whole body in the process.
It was indeed a tough few days but by the end of the week I had to resign myself to the fact that work was making things worse. I cancelled all appointments, classes and life for the next 6 days!
This was the most discouraging part of back pain. You just simply can't do the things you want to do. The pain restricts all movements, you actually get fed up of the pain because its constant. Getting up from sitting or lying requires serious planning and to get something quickly from the next room for example is just no worth the pain you have to endure.
Well meaning remarks by Clients:
"Oh dear, what have you done to yourself?" "How did you hurt your back?" "Looks like you need a physio" "My gosh, what happened to you? We can cancel my appointment you know, I don't mind"
Next: Part 2. "The next 6 days"