Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bloody back pain !

For many years now I have had a tight lower back (LB). Standing around for too long or going for long but slow walks would result in tension in my LB. Easily fixed usually with a few stretches and all would be well again, leaving a dull ache.
More recently with being a lot more active, a lot of that has gone away. My achillies tendon issues have cleared up, my asthma is far less troubling, and in general my body is far less problematic than it has been in the past. Sure there have been achy days after a long run or ride, but nothing out of the ordinary.

However, more recently I have been struggling, quite a lot in fact.
A couple of months ago I started going back to physio for tight glutes and LB. The massages and exercises were helping to a degree, but as the weeks went on, it was clear that the main root of the pain was not going away, in fact, it was getting worse.

I have reached the point in the last couple of weeks where even walking the dogs has actually become painful, and I have to stop and stretch out 2-3 times in a 25 min walk. And I am talking, full on squatting and stretching my back right out, not just a quick bend, or flex of the back. Side stretches as well, trying to alleviate the pain from my hips, which is deep set.

It is hard to actually determine where the pain is coming from. Note I am using the word pain, rather than ache or discomfort. This is truly one of the worst feelings I have ever had. After a short walk the thought of walking up stairs, or bending down for something is horrible.
Anyway, it seems to be coming from my LB then radiating out into my hips. Tight hip flexors and glutes sets in, then all around my hips tightens up to the point of no movement.

Finally realising that physio was not going to get to the root of the problem, I started looking at specialists. If you have never done so before, it is really quite confusing. Chiropractor or Osteopath ? Who does what, and who should be seen with what ailment? Eventually, after a lot of confusing guidance by others, I settled with a recommendation from a friend to see a Chiropractor in Beckenham.

Knowing it is a long journey so to speak, I was ready for the long haul with them. On my first appointment I had no idea what to expect, it was a completely new experience for me. Thankfully the Chiropractor was well versed in explaining what they do, and with model in hand, spent 10 minutes explaining to me how problems with the spine can affect our muscles and organs throughout the body. Finally the penny was starting to drop about how one thing could be affecting another so badly.

After the explanation, we moved on to the examination. This surprised me no end. I have read about pressure points, trigger points, reflexes etc, but never really paid too much attention to how it all works. So as I lay there being prodded and pressed in various places, I was astounded with how pressure on a part of the back could affect the strength in my arm and shoulder, and various other combinations.

After the examination,  the Chiropractor explained what she had found, and was pleased to tell me she didn't think it was anything too serious, and that it was within her ability to get me back on my feet. Great news! 20 minutes later, and some twisting, contorting and a whole load of back cracking took place, and my upper back suddenly felt a lot looser. Very nice feeling indeed. Sadly there was still a lot of discomfort in the bottom half. A few nice pops were had from the LB too, but nothing substantial.

Warned I would feel it later, I took little notice, but sure enough, I was in for a surprise.
Making my next appointment, for the next day, I was told to expect to need four to six more appointments to see any significant difference.
The next day I was back on the table, and after some cracking, and testing, we talked through the progress and expectations of treatment. Now more than aware that soreness was a part of the package, applying an ice pack to the treated area post treatment was now a must in my books.

The program of treatment was set as six appointments, with the last being a review point to see how we are going. The hope is that half way into the treatment, I will be given some exercises and be able to assist by doing some of the work at home.

Trying to walk for any distance right now is a non starter, the brain just starts to switch off any interest in where I am going, and just want to stop, take ibuprofen, and lay down. Which is what I have been doing a lot of funnily enough. I went to the shops before work yesterday, 10 mins each way, and by the time I reached the office, the thought of climbing the two short flights of stairs to get to the office was almost overwhelming. Not comfortable at all, and very slow.

Needless to say I need to get out of this situation, and fast. It is playing havoc with my exercise routines, leaving me in bed til late in the morning, not wanting to start the stiffness in motion. Having to lay or sit in weird positions is not very pleasant at all, so the shorter the day, the better for me.

I am off to see the Chiropractor this evening, and then twice a week for the next 2 weeks. I am hoping as things start to ease up, treating the LB will be a bit easier. It feels like it has a huge pop in it that is waiting to happen. But from listening to what I am being told, it is most likely far more muscular than anything else, and the signals the muscles are receiving are causing them to spasm, causing the pain. Which also explains why what feels like a bone ache, can be stretched out in ways I have learned to do.

All in all, it really isn't much fun at all. So to cover all the bases I am seeing a GP tomorrow too. As some have suggested that there are sometimes underlying issues which can lead to this sort of pain, I want to eliminate all that I can. I doubt I will be lucky enough to have a scan, but a referral would be nice, just to make sure things are not more serious than they appear.

So for now, it is painkillers and rest, with lots of sulking and being bored. Although strangely cycling doesn't seem to affect me too badly, so that is one saving grace. Now if only it would be dry enough to ride, things would not be so bad.

Here's to lots of crunchy, crackling goodness at the Chiropractor tonight.

For reference, I am being treated by Christine Bakker at
Beckenham Clinic
366 Croydon Road
Beckenham, BR3 4EX
Telephone: 020 8663 3878


  1. With lower back pain, it can be very hard to function on a daily basis. We know that it's debilitating, and you're probably looking for a solution which can permanently fix the problem. Those whom stand all day can rejoice in the pain relief solution that can be the answer they need.

  2. I used to have a lot of the same back problems, and I've found that semi daily yoga, and daily stretching exercises seem to really do the trick. Walking and just being active also really help my back pain. Thankfully it looks like you are being taken care of by quality chiropractors. Thanks for sharing this.