Rise and fall of the spine

· by Steve · Read in about 4 min · (744 Words)

Apologies in advance for another dull post about my varying spinal health. But, I figure friends, family and some people in my various online communites are interested in contextual stuff like this, so here we go. Hit up some other bookmark now if you’re bored 😀

Since my epiphany 6 weeks ago I’ve been on what I realise is going to be a long road to recovery, and generally each week I’ve been improving, barring the odd minor blip. That was, until the middle of last week when I seemed to go backward a couple of steps, ending up with pain and stiffness in the middle back area which I associate with my most recent problem (as compared to the lower lumbar pain associated with my lingering problem from about 4 years ago). This has persisted all week - better some days, worse others - meaning that I’m having to be extra careful. I’m not sure exactly what triggered the relapse - it might be that Rock Band 2 came out and I did 2 hours of solid drumming one evening, it might have been the time we spent playing Left 4 Dead, it might have been that I’ve been playing my new guitar with a strap (extra weight on the shoulders), it might have been that I took a particularly brisk walk last Tuesday as I was in a rush to get back to work (and at that point my back was feeling great) - or something else.

What is frustrating is that the risk of relapse seems connected to almost anything I do. I sometimes feel trapped - that I can’t work as much as I want, can’t do many things I enjoy, can’t be too active, can’t be too _in_active - it’s like I have to be afraid of doing anything because of the risk of setting it off again (except that of course doing nothing also makes it worse). Yesterday this really started to depress me a bit, and I’m generally a pretty hard guy to depress, being as defiantly optimistic as I usually am. I got over it, partly because of my wife, partly because we had a social evening last night which cheered me up, and partly because my ever-reliable sense of logic eventually kicked in and pointed out in no uncertain terms that feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to help, and I was just wasting time.

So, I’m opting for a more scientific approach. I’m starting to keep a weekly record of how well my back is feeling, and noting down relevant events, and how much work/gaming/exercise I get during each week to try to correlate what’s helping, and what’s making it worse. I went back over my diary & blog to add a bit of history (higher numbers are better):

Obviously too much hunching at the desk was bad, as probably were long-haul flights. The games are mostly on there for interest - with the exception of heavy drumming on Rock Band 2 I don’t think any of them put any particular strain on my back, although Left 4 Dead is at the desk so I should keep that fairly light. Trips to the physio/osteo clearly help short-term but the only real way to conquer this long-term is to keep learning how to rehabilitate myself, and quick-fixes aren’t the way.

The positive note to take from this is that despite the last week, I’m still on an overall up since mid-October. As my wife keeps telling me, I need to resign myself to the fact that this is probably going to take a very long time to put right properly. Frustrating when you have a head full of projects (Ogre & otherwise) wanting to see the light of day, and when you just want to lead a ‘normal’ life without being in pain, or feeling afraid of what you can and can’t do. But, as ever there are plenty of people far worse off than I am in the world, and I have the benefit of a very understanding wife and a flexible working environment (I don’t get sick pay, but I can at least take breaks when I want and set my own workload), so I should stop wingeing and get on with it. I’m going to choose to be grateful that my red line is averaging an upward trend, and work on trying to keep it on that course as best I can.