Friday, March 10, 2017

Living on with Back pain

April 2016, it is 11 am in the morning and I'm still not in the office, in fact, I'm still in bed. It is not a weekend, I have to be in office but I can hardly get up from my bed, can hide no more. I called it off, took a cab to an orthopedic hospital, my dad accompanied me as I did for him when he almost broke his spine. First I tried sitting, then lying in the back seat, it was getting terrible by moments and every move I made trying to ease my pain only increased it.

By the time I reached the hospital, I wanted to call for a wheelchair, but I was also not ready to give up on my willpower or self-esteem, worst I could lose all the money in the pocket. As I guessed, I was sent for no questions asked x-ray costing 600 and then advised for physiotherapy for 5 days which would cost 150 every day, topped this with transportation (cab) charge, pain relief medication and consultation charge of 300 on first and last day; total crosses to 3000.

Evidently, I care too much about money still I stuck to the advice of the doctor, because living with lower back pain is horrendous. On the third day of physiotherapy, I made the change to my transportation my cousin dropped me and my friend would pick up, both in bike and not in a car. After physiotherapy, I wanted to step out of the hospital so I can stand beneath tree shade and enjoy some breeze of nature and dust of civilization. I wore my old bathroom sandal that didn't offer any grip on the shiny tiled floor, given my awkward walk attributed to back pain I was destined to fall anytime.

The fall happened when I stepped out, I managed to not hit my butt hard, but enough to undo all the physiotherapy; my pain had reset to day zero. I sat on the steps as I fell, holding my posture and loud cry that I wanted to make, it took me 2 minutes to even open eyes. I was still there sitting, none from hospital cared to ask, I'm their patient sitting on the steps and not leaving... then it stuck me they think I'm resting, so did I.

I didn't return to hospital after that for back pain, I took good amount of rest and started to exercise my back through yoga and tried to make correct posture as I sat or lay down. Flashback 4 more months, I started using a moped to commute to office instead of public transportation that demanded 4 km walking every day. Could be the lack of walk but I was told that its not the absence of jogging/yoga/exercise/gym that contributes to back pain, but it is continuous sitting without minor breaks.

I was not brought to knee on day zero of lower back pain, I suffered tolerable amount of pain for more than a month. I believed it would go away it just didn't, the pain exponentially increased to a point where getting up from bed seemed impossible. Here are some advice that I can offer if you are suffering or if you don't want to ever be affected by lower back pain before age catches up.

  • Move. Your body is not designed to sit about, move around often; even short breaks are fine but long sitting is not acceptable even if you are planning to follow it with long moving
  • Hold your posture while sitting, standing, walking or even lying down.
    • Sit with your spine erect, it is fine if you have to look up a bit stop looking down. (your phone is your enemy)
    • Stand with your spine straight
    • Walk with correct shoe, take real care while you jog or run
    • Lie down facing ceiling, if possible don't use sponge like bed flat surface is best. If you have lie on your side give appropriate support to head so neck is not burdened. Try to not lie on stomach
  • Don't lie in bed for long even if you have back pain, it only worsens. Start slow roll to edge of cot and get down, use arms and legs to support spine while getting up or down from bed.
  • Don't give too much attention to pain, do small job like folding cloth, doing dish.
  • Get a warm bath, it is relaxing. Some say cold ice pack helps too (never tried)
  • Do yoga: I know the name Baba Ramdev sort of strikes funny bone but this one really help me. Think the guy who dubbed has a lot of personal vengeance against Ramdev, some humor is good I guess https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4NnLER1EXk

Disclaimer : In no way this write up supports not going to hospital. (I just happened to realize with enough and slow movement I can tolerate pain, lying down limp made things worst).  These are stuff that worked for me, some might not work for you consult specialist doctor if your pain doesn't decrease. The yoga video that I have linked here is good for novice, but don't push the limits, you might flatter real bad. 

Image credit  : common.wikimedia.org