Pat’s story of her back pain is unfortunately a familiar one for us to hear. I wonder if any of her story sounds familiar to you?
Pat is 52, she works part time and loves going to pilates, walking her dog, seeing her grandchildren and spending time with her friends. She’s had the odd bit of back pain over the years but over the last 2 years it has got worse.
She tried just soldiering on, nothing changed. So she went to her GP, they were very nice but just offered her painkillers. Pat didn’t really want to take them, but the pain was beginning to impact on her life so she did. They helped a bit at first but after while she wasn’t sure if they actually did anything at all.
She got lots of advice from family, friends and anyone she mentioned her back to. It appeared everyone thought they were an expert when it came to her back pain. She tried getting a massage, she tried acupuncture, she went to see a physiotherapist who used strange looking machines on her that were supposed to ‘reduce inflammation’ and gave her some exercises to do. None of it really helped.
So she went back to her GP. By this time the pain had got worse and had started going into one of her legs. Her GP requested an MRI scan. The results came back showing ‘osteoarthritis, wear and tear and degenerative disc disease’. None of this sounded very good. She was told that she didn’t have cancer, and didn’t need surgery though, so that was good, but her pain was the same despite all of this.
She decided to try seeing a chiropractor for a while. They were very nice and she felt better at first, but after a while the pain came back, the same as before.
By this point Pat was fed up with the pain. Walking her dog for long distances caused her more pain. She had stopped lifting up her grandchildren as that made her pain worse. The pain was really getting her down.
Eventually after hearing some good things she decided to come and see our back pain specialist. She was not hopeful but was getting desperate.
Well to cut to the chase Pat is doing very well now. She is back doing long walks with her dogs, is lifting those cheeky grandchildren, is off all painkillers and generally enjoying life again. She is not shying away from doing things and is looking to the future.
This all sounds too good to be true right?! Wrong. In Pat’s own words “ They didn’t really do much, but at the same time they must have done something as I have got my life back on track again. I only saw them 4 times and now all my pain is almost gone!”
So what’s the catch, where’s the magic? Well the fact is that there is no smoke and mirrors, no magic machines, just science and a bit of psychology.
Pain can change our behaviour, our mood and our energy levels. It is very easy to let it take over our life or just soldier on with it. However if you understand that our spines are tough, but they need movement, flexibility, strength and exercise you can maybe see why changing our behaviour due to pain might lead to things not improving.
So what did we do? Well we assessed her, found some lack of flexibility, lack of strength and fitness. We also spoke with her and heard her version of her back. It was quite far from the truth thankfully so we debunked the myths about her back that she had understood to be true.
So a fitter, stronger, more flexible Pat now exists as a person who trusts her back is tough, and guess what….her pain is going.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, find yourself someone like us that listens to you, that asks lots of questions, that does lots of tests. This should lead them to talking with you about all the things YOU (and they) can do to help your back pain, and it should all make sense. It should follow a rough rule of 80% you and 20% them.
So, don’t be a passenger in your journey for a pain free back. Get in the driving seat, get proactive and get yourself pain free.