Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Everyone's an expert

If you suffer from back pain or have recently given birth, you've no doubt experienced this phenomenon: everyone, absolutely bloody everyone, has an opinion on your condition (or how you should be raising your baby), and they are all convinced that there opinions are more correct than the countless medical professionals you've been seeing. And then they get pissy when you ignore them or tell them to mind their own beeswax.

And before you get all huffy, this isn't just about unsolicited advice in the comments box, it's about every fucking person I meet who feels they have to give me their 2 cents worth, and then by way of legal disclaimer, point out that if I ignore their advice and suffer a re-injury that it's my own fucking fault and all sympathy goes out the window. That's my favorite part. The old "if you don't do as I (random person who's never met me and has no medical qualifications) say you'll suffer for it and it will be your fault for not taking my advice, which is obviously so much better than everyone elses!"

So for the benefit of anyone else out there thinking of telling me exactly what I'm doing wrong regarding my back:
  1. I'm not doing nothing about it. After regular physical therapy, pilates, and an on-going course of chirpractic therapy and daily exercise and stretching I am at a point that I could live a completely normal life with only a few tiny adjustments (such as not carrying a heavy grocery bag in one hand, but using 2 lighter ones to balance the load instead).
  2. I know problems don't clear up overnight (how could I not???), but symptoms sometimes do.
  3. If any medical professional, at any time had ever said to me "if you go back to rowing you'll damage your back forever and i strongly advise against any further rowing or sculling" I would have taken that very seriously indeed. But every medical pro I have seen has strongly advised me to continue!!!!
  4. This is because of the nature of my injury. I have a degenerate disk. That means one of my spinal disks has no fluid in it. The fluid is what makes the disk firm. Now it's wilted and soggy and cannot, on it's own, maintain the proper spacing between the vertebrae (L4 and L5, specifically). "On it's own" means that I need my core muscles to compensate by holding my spine up properly. Rowing is an excellent core-strengthening exercise, and keeps a lot of movement in the back. I've now had 2 professionals tell me that the best thing I can do for my back is keep rowing.
  5. Of course I have considered the problem of pregnancy and child-rearing, and asked my doctor and my chiropractor about it. They both said that I will likely suffer fewer back back problems during pregnancy than the average woman for the very reason that I'm doing so much to strengthen my back and my core now. As for babies, same rules for lifting heavy objects apply.

Anyone else have any advice for me? Thought so.

11 comments:

Dave said...

So why do you keep making comments on my blog about my medical condition?

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Fair cop, Dave. I apologize, and I shan't do it again.

FirstNations said...

hell yes. you TELL it.

my husband deals with a similar (congenital) issue. he did the exercises and still does them; consequently he's still running up and down ladders like a fool all day at work in his late 40's.

his brothers 'took it easy'. by the time they hit 35 they both needed spinal fusion surgery, and they're both looking at early retirement from their office jobs because they can't even sit for very long now without eating a handful of oxycontin.

S. Vincent said...

Hey, I am really sorry if I had anything to do with stirring up this bee's nest. My intentions from the start were never to discourage or criticize your rowing or question your injuries in any way. I don't think you thought I was trying to do that, but just wanted to clarify that I completely support any rowing endevour you wish to partake in.

Sorry for late replies, but your latest clarification makes much more sense to me now as to why you were upset. I can see now that what happened to you was quite unfair and that your coach is a sissy for not entering your quad against elite competition. Always strive to be in the fastest race possible I always say. No matter what your chances.

Here is a great article I always loved about back injuries in rowing. It inspires me......

http://www.rowingnews.com/sub.cfm?section=blogs&ID=151

Geosomin said...

Seems to me you're doing the best thing for it.
All I know is the people I knowwith health problems that offer advice seem to do nothing but favour their injury and never get better. Sounds to me like you've got it figured out...

ziggi said...

my advice is this . . .




do what the f*ck you like.


:)

Homer said...

Dave: because genital herpes is such an amusing condition. ;-)

hendrix said...

Got to say that my osteopath also advised me to exercise in order to strengthen my core muscles and keep my spine properly aligned...

there...and I bet you thought I was going to disagree with you didn't you?

Sal said...

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Sal said...

"maxima culpa", of course, being the extra-large size cup holder on the modern roman chariot.

Sal said...

what ziggi said