A Short Introduction To My Life With Backpain

Me without the agony of backpain

Hey, as you may be aware, if you know me, I have struggled with back pain for most of my adult life. And as those of you who know me will attest, I like to complain about it. So much so that I predictably begin to moan every Monday morning at work. My workmates have been to call me ‘old man time’ which doesn’t really sit that well with me.

People who haven’t had the misfortune of being struck down by the agony of serious back pain have no idea how debilitating it can really be. So here I would like to share some of my discoveries, stories and how I have learnt to cope with this ailment.

I guess for me it all started at about the age of 23. I had just finished University in ’86 and was back in the bosom of my family enjoying the brief honeymoon period that always tricked me into thinking home was warm comfortable place. Most of us are aware that distance makes the heart grow fonder and this is how it was for my family. I would usually have 10 days to 2 weeks of blissful relaxation, being forgiven for my lack of ambition to anything more than drink beer with my buddies in the evening time and loll about all day reading the newspaper and applying for jobs.

It was on one of these summer evenings, out driving with my friends that tragedy struck. Well, it struck, we and then we struck a tree. The terribly frustrating thing about those defining few minutes was that we weren’t going very fast. We were traveling at no more than 35 miles per hour. I remember the two of us got out of the car and after confirming that we were both ok, staggered around to look at the tree now attached to the front bumper.

My friend let go of a rather incredulous expletive knowing the dire consequences of the current situation once he got home. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I was quietly pleased that it had in fact been his parents’ car and not mine. This may seem rather selfish but I think deep down we are all rather selfish sometimes.

But the thing was, we were both okay. That is to say that at the time we seemed fine. The car was a bit of a wreck and it wasn’t my car so… Everything was okay or at least, for my friend, it would be in a few months

It was not until about 2 weeks later that a twinge began in my neck. It was sort of like a crick. I don’t remember when it started exactly but I dismissed it as nothing more than a passing ache from sleeping awkwardly. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What began as nothing more than a slight discomfort grew into something that dictated what I could do and what I couldn’t do. It has shaped my leisure time activities and from that probably also the relationships I have developed. It is amazing to think that such a small injury has had such a great impact on my life.

Has it been detrimental to my life? I don’t know but my constant back pain has certainly influenced the course of my life.


A General Moan

horrible infomercials

I have read many articles and accounts of how peoples back pain started. Many people say that they just woke up one morning in intense agony. My pain did not start that way at all. It grew slowly from a slight discomfort into what sometimes is unbearable and at other times just a dull reminder of the intense pain that could flare up at any time.

But the one thing that is consistent across all these different accounts is that this problem of ours makes

Over the years I have sought all sorts of solace from my affliction. I have had X-rays and blood tests. I have seen 3 different physios, all who came recommended very highly. Both by personal friends and from forums on the interwebs (sic). I have been to a specialist in something called Atlas Profilax in Ireland. I have had Chinese healing done both with some limited success I might add. But to this day I have been unable to find a lasting solution to my pain.

In one X-ray the doctor indicated that I might have a slipped disk. As you can imagine I was somewhat irked by this as he was the expert, this was my third x-ray with him and he was using the word ‘might’. He recommended something called backtolife.

When I returned home I checked the internet and was astounded by the website. The website for this ‘product’ is exactly like those terrible infomercials you see late at night. You know the ones with those incessantly happy voice overs regurgitating the same benefits and features of the same rubbish product. Promising you the sun moon and stars if only you will part with your credit card details and a small piece of your soul. At one point in the promotional video the “Dr” tells me that I cannot expect to do cartwheel after the first session with machine. My entire brain screamed scam and I felt insulted that such cheap tricks were tried on an intelligent person such as myself.

I sometimes wonder if these infomercials are on late at night, not because it is the cheapest time to advertise but because they can hit you when you are already kind of sleepy and open to hypnotic suggestion. Anyway I digress.

To my utter embarrassment and with a parting wave to a small piece of my soul I ordered this garbage in the full knowledge that it was probably a waste of money and I would never be able to get my revenge on the Botox-faced doctor shilling the product on the website.

My shame arrived two weeks later and I had to sign for it. It was a Saturday morning and with no small amount of trepidation, I unboxed the contraption in the sitting room. It was an oddly shaped, other worldly thing that looked completely alien in my Ikea bedecked front room. I looked at it for a few moments and then decided to make a cup of tea.

Whilst making the tea I began to realize that I would in fact have to use it as I had indeed bought it. The website had shown videos of very attractive middle aged women lying on the ground with their legs splayed and upright with the lower legs resting on the contraction. I thought again of those late night infomercials with robotic human forms in the background using whatever miracle product that was being sold. I closed the curtains.  I am sure you can understand that this was not a position I wanted any of my neighbors to see.

I sat in the half light of the curtains and put in the dvd…