Wednesday, July 11, 2012


My back went out this past Sunday night - sometime before Monday morning. It was a flare-up of a chronic problem - degenerative disc disease.  Sometimes the vertebrae go out of alignment.  The muscles react - or should I say, overreact - and clench tightly to try and keep the back from going "out" further.  The problem with that is ... it HURTS.

One thing about being in pain - you really cut out the non-essentials. And it's surprising how many things you thought were essentials ... aren't.  

But I digress. 

I knew early Monday morning, as soon as I awoke and put my feet on the floor, that I needed to go to physiotherapy; I was hobbling around and every step I took was agony.  Even sitting was way more than uncomfortable.  The pain was so bad that I called in sick and made an appointment to look after what was essential. After a visit to the doctor to get a referral to physio (as well as a prescription for some pain medication), and going through my first treatment, the pain lessened to manageable levels and I was able to get back to work the next day.  I was rather pleasantly surprised because usually my back is slow to respond to any kind of treatment, be it chiropractic treatments or physiotherapy. 

Here's the site where I got this photo.
My therapeutic regimen involves moist heat, electrical stimulation of the muscles surrounding my back, a bit of acupuncture, and some deep massage to "release" the clenched-tight muscles that have gripped my spine like a vise to keep it from slipping out of alignment.

But there is a home regimen too - some of which I can carry out at work.  It involves 20 minutes each of a couple of different exercises to stretch those lower back muscles.  

And stretch those they do.  Feeling that "pull" is pretty uncomfortable - but I put up with it for the benefits that I know will happen.  Not pain - my therapist is quick to tell me that - but a pulling feeling that is uncomfortable. Very, at times.  But the exercises are teaching my back muscles how to behave, how to let go, so the joints can slip back into place.  

It's going slower than I'd like - well, face it, I'd like it to be immediate!! But I can see a difference, day to day.  And in time, I'll not only be better, but I'll have the knowledge that I need in order to help prevent another flare-up.

In the meantime, I'm learning a lot - about how important letting go is, for one thing.  The back pain seemed sudden, but it had been building for a few weeks - a little tension here, and little clenching there, and finally my back jumped the rest of the way to pain, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  And "not letting go" can creep up on my inner life too.  Little things I hold onto, little things I think I can handle without God's help, tiny things that niggle at me and I ignore them rather than dealing with them as they arise. 

I  need to let those go and relax my grip on them. 

They'll only end up hurting me (pardon the pun) in the end.

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