I woke up this morning feeling pretty good - sore, but better. Until I tried to move a certain way, at which point it was pain central again. After a couple of hours in which, despite having loaded up on over-the-counter Ibuprofen and Paracetamol it still felt like someone randomly taking a chainsaw to my back, I went to see both a doctor (for ‘pain management’) and a physiotherapist (for longer term help).
The doctor has given me some stronger painkillers and anti-inflammatories which are definitely better, although they do mean I can’t drive or operate machinery because they make you a little dopey, although I do think I’m more qualified to be a patent examiner. The physio after lots of prodding declared my back ‘interesting’ - which is not the first time (I’ve had similar assessments from previous physios and osteopaths) - quite why medical professionals feel the need to infer that my spine is of alien construction I’m not sure. I mean, if by ‘interesting’ they meant it could perform some great superhuman tricks like sprouting barbs (at which point I could find myself a tan brown suit and call myself ‘Hedgehogman’), that would be ok, rather than meaning ‘it’s buggered and we’re not entirely sure why’.
Anyway, his eventual conclusion of why it’s getting worse is that that my posture is actually too straight. That’s right folks, I apparently sit and stand too straight and I’m aggravating an existing injury on my thoracic vertebrae as the various ‘fins’ (technically the ‘processes’) rub against each other, produce swelling and then catch the nerves that are winding their way between. Sitting up straight pushes them together more, and pulling into an upright position from sitting (the ‘demon move’ for me right now) tenses all the muscles around there which also pulls them closer together, which aggravates the nerve, which makes the muscle spasm, which pulls the vertebrae - you can see where this is going. Classic cascade failure 😕
So, his advice? Slouch more. Seriously - to take the pressure off these fins while I’m standing and sitting, I’m to deliberately curve my spine in the very way you’re always told is ‘bad posture’. I’m supposed to find relaxed, slouchy positions and then move as little as possible, except for some hourly exercises. When I’m walking, I’m to do it in a slouchy, hands-deep-in-cargo-pant-pockets kind of way. Essentially, I’m to act like I’m 17 again, just without the bad 80’s hair. 😕
It’s weird, but it actually helps a bit so far. I spent a little time at the keyboard today, but I did it with the chair tilted back, feet on a footrest, and my keyboard on my lap, slightly hunched in a way I haven’t done for years, since I started sorting out the ergonomics of my work area to alleviate RSI. Who woulda thought such a set up was actually ergonomic in its own right?
I hope all this works anyway. I hate being off work, even partially, and these physio appointments are damn expensive! I probably won’t be in the forums much until this is sorted, if something is really urgent (and I mean really urgent), you can reach me on email in the meantime.