Monday, November 10, 2008

Back to back

My back has been getting slowly but steadily worse for several weeks. By this weekend I was having serious problems, including but not limited to:

  • pain that reduced me to tears every time i sneezed or coughed
  • an inability to bend over to put on my own knickers
  • an inability to bend over to wash my face
  • an inability to get into a car w/o assistance
  • an inability to twist around to wipe my own ass

So I finally did it. I slept on the floor.

I expected that I might feel somewhat better after a night on the floor, instead of in a bed so soft that when you sit on it your ass sinks below the level of your knees. I did not expect that after one night on the floor that I would feel completely fine.

That pretty much settles it. We need a new mattress.

For budget reasons we'd really rather not make a major purchase until after Christmas. As a stop-gap we're going to try putting a sheet of plywood between the mattress and box spring. Several people have suggested that this will help, so it seems the obvious first step.

(Oh, and I've got an appointment with the doctor in the morning to see if there's anything else that can be done from a medical perspective. In the past 2 years the NHS has shown a distinct disinterest in my back problems, but this is a new doctor so maybe he'll be more openminded to helping a 29-year-old healthy woman with chronic pain issues. I'm not holding my breath, though.)


Mr Coppens said...

That is terrible news. I sure hope that something can be done to alleviate the pain during the hols.

I wish that I could suggest chiropractic manipulation but I am not as yet a firm believer in the spine being the centre of our internal universe.

Some swear by it while others swear at it.
What's your take on it?

Annie said...

Don't mess with your back,hon. Lots of furniture places offer interest free credit , maybe you could pay off monthly without having to wait and without paying more?(Furniture Village is just one.) Also take a diary of your back problems in to your GP (hey, you could look at your blog for dates)to show how long you've lived with chronic pain, and wave it in their face - then they can't fob you off - insist on them referring you. Basically it's best to be a demanding obnoxious pain in the arse, instead of polite and stoical...

FirstNations said...

annie has the plan! look back here, make a log of the pain and the dates of the flareups, what brought it on in each case and how long it lasted, then take it in with! even doctors here eat that stuff up with a spoon! there you go!

Mr Farty said...

We got one of those memory foam mattress toppers, it's only an inch thick but it makes such a difference. Mrs F swears by it and it has to be cheaper than a whole new mattress. And see a doctor.

Frobisher said...

Hey, you spend a third of your life in bed, so a decent matress is essential - you should be able to pick one up on interest-free credit these days.

Geosomin said...

I agree with the hordes.
A bed is one of the few things worth having a good one of, especially if your back has problems. Try and find anotehr one...but talk to you doctor/specialist first. There may be a particular bed you need to help you back out...makes sense to get the right one.
I tried the plywood thing for my old shitty bed in kinda works...but only for a while. If your back is bad like it is, it isn't worth months of pain over a bit of money.

hendrix said...

Buy a new mattress and buy it as soon as you can - seriously, I never get things on credit but I'd make an exception for an orthopedic mattress (you can always pay it off in full after Christmas).

Re your GP, the problem is that they really can't do anything about back pain other than refer you for an x-ray to make sure that nothings broken/fractured and prescribe painkillers, although osteopathy is recognised as a "proper" treatment by the NHS most health authorities simply don't have the funds to hand it out. When you consider that osteopathic treatment can cost upwards of £30 a session and that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are registered as having back problems, you can sort of see their dilemma.

The suggestion that you take a list of incidents/events to your GP is a really good one. Also, I've learnt by bitter experience that any instinct to be rational about health problems to the doctor is useless. If in doubt, cry.

If all else fails then I can absolutely recommend seeing a good osteopath even if you have to pay. I go once a month - I badly damaged my back a few years ago and sitting at the computer for 18 hours a day does it now good at all - and visiting my fabulous electro-shock bone-crunching lady means that I'm able to live a pretty pain free existence. Make sure that whoever you pick is registered with the British Osteopathic Council.

realdoc said...

Hendrix is pretty much spot on about GPs and back problems but if you cry they'll probably try to put you on an antidepressant so be warned.

Mrs. Chaucer's Pirate said...

mr. coppens: i was in chiropractic therapy for months. it cost a fortune, but i have to admit it helped a lot. when i started i was in near constant pain. after a few weeks of treatment i was able to begin training again seriously. i'm convinced that without it i never would have made it to Henley this summer. The problem is it only works as long as you're receiving treatment. The moment you stop it all goes tit-up again. So all it does is alleviate the symptoms, but it doesn't address the problem.

Annie: i'm already in so much debt from my degree we're not doing ANYTHING on credit right now. Nada. The pain diary is a good idea, though. I'm going to do that.

FN: I convinced the doc to refer me to a specialist, so I'll start a pain diary (today was a doozy) and take it to him. Should help.

Farty: we've got one, too. And it's great if it's on a firm surface, but on top of a mattress that's softer than a victoria sponge left out in the rain it's not much help.

Frobi: i agree completely, but credit's not an option. As soon as we can we'll get ourselves a good one, though!

Geo: see above

Hendrix: i did cry

Realdoc: I was on anti-depressants for ages because the pain made me so miserable. Stopped taking them in June, though.