Bad Back Pain Day.


Yesterday was a Bad Back Pain Day and that means I didn’t write the post planned about how red wine can help back pain.

As R helped me into the shower while I yelped loudly as my back muscles spasmed, pretty much carried out of the shower I thought going to work was a good idea. I had deadlines to meet and my colleagues would be pissed at me if I didn’t go in.

I had to fire Summer Girl as my dressing assistant when she got distracted by a lego toy on the floor, while I was standing with one leg half in the trousers she was meant to be helping me into. R suggested that if I couldn’t get my trousers past my hips and down again, then going to the toilet would be interesting at work. But still I ploughed on through the crippling pain.

I hired 5 year old Winter Boy to pick up the hairdryer from the floordrobe, turn it on at the plug and help dry my hair standing on chair while my back muscle spasmed and my back locked up was causing me to yelp from time to time. Turning around was robotically done to avoid inducing further spasms. But, work would be fine once my medication kicked wouldn’t it?

After threatening to hide my car keys, R finally succumbed to my stubbornness, drove me to work (no way was I able to drive the car), on the condition I got my reports done then came straight home, and I slowly, slowly, pigeon stepped my way to my desk, breathing sharply every time I opened a door, or when the lift jolted.

By 1:15pm, after cancelling all my appointments, having coffee made by colleagues, being helped to the toilet by colleagues (they didn’t help me with my trousers and it took all my effort not to yell as I pulled my too tight trousers up again), my boss was walked with me out of the building as me legs lost their strength and my back pain was so immense I could barely walk. But not before giving me a stern me off for persevering in such pain and immobility.

By the time Ross picked me up and drove me home, I was in tears; my back pain and back lock was so severe I couldn’t lift my feet up a single stair to get to bed, screamed in agony as I tried to get onto the sofa and screamed in sheer pain when anyone touched me. R considered calling an ambulance as I Could Not Move.

Instead, I necked maximum doses of all the painkillers I had in my armoury, (avoiding red wine, shame) and lay in an awkward but still painful position on my side with legs bent at an angle, praying through tears that the pain would subside, before finally passing out through pain and medication. Goodness knows what would have happened if I needed the loo before my meds kicked in as I would have hit anyone trying to move me.

Today I can walk, slowly, as long as it’s not far. I can’t lift anything heavier than a coffee cup, and going to the toilet remains interesting and any movement is careful and considered. I am not in work, instead I am watching The Lego Movie for the millionth time with Winter Boy while R has taken Summer Girl to by some school things.

It might have been a stupid idea to go to work with acute back pain, but at least I got my reports done by their deadline.

If you find yourself having sudden unbearable lower back pain, it can be very frightening. You need to keep as still as you can, in the most comfortable position available. If you have already had this before, you should have an emergency medicine box (if not, get one now), with Diazepam and Ibruprofen or similar NSAID medication in (if you can take NSAIDS) as your minimum medication. And don’t forget trusted paracetamol.  Take these as soon as you can, and apply heat to your back. If you don’t have anything stronger/opiate based, call your GP or other primary care provider immediately who will provide stronger medication to cope with the pain (normally codeine or similar if you can take those). You will likely be woozy with the medication so you won’t be able to do driving, chores etc (not that you can with that much pain) so try to get someone to be around to help you.

Don’t be afraid to call your local Out of Hours care providers if your GP is not available, or even 999 if your pain is unmanageable at home with maximum painkillers doses that you can safely take at home, as unmanageable pain is a medical emergency in itself.

The chances are, the cause of your lower back pain is a muscle spasm and will subside in a day or two (hopefully to more bearable levels within a couple of hours).  If however, you have red flag symptoms, specifically, but not exclusive those of Cauda Equina Syndrome, you MUST call 999 immediately, as this is a medical emergency. If you are unsure about the symptoms, don’t take any chances and call 999. The hospital will do the necessary checks to rule it out/in.

Most of all, try not to panic, as that can tense your muscles even more and increase the pain. Easier said than done I know. 

Vacuuming Increases Back Pain. Fact.

Yes. Vacuuming your home increases back pain significantly. You would think I knew this by now wouldn’t you, having suffered from chronic lower back pain and leg pain for such a long time. But it appears I didn’t quite grasp the fact as well as I did this afternoon when I used the new Hetty Numatic Vacuum Cleaner for the first time.

I will give this Vacuum Cleaner it’s due, it has a powerful suction. So powerful that I couldn’t actually push and pull it as it seared pain down my leg and caused serious back pain right across my lumbar spine. And so powerful it rucked up the carpet. It did get most of the cat hair up, that our last vacuum cleaner struggled to do, even after vacuuming the same spot for 10 minutes. But, as well as the great suction it is clunky, heavy to move around, and very heavy to empty.

Don’t even ask me why I tried to empty it. Foolishness is the most realistic answer, but let’s pretend I have a brain for a moment and give a different reason – I wanted to see if I could do the whole shebang, you know vacuum, empty, put away…

…the answer is, I don’t have a brain. No, I can’t do the whole shebang. I now have severe acute back pain and leg pain and my whole leg is on fire, my foot is burning and tingling and numb at the same time and my back muscles have started spasming.

I have a feeling Hetty is going back to the shops as being completely crap. Summer Girl is going to be devastated. She chose the colour, which is pink, (because there is no gender stereotyping by the Numatic company is there?) and thinks that R should do the vacuuming so that I don’t make my back pain worse, and so we can keep our Female Pink Hetty Vacuum Cleaner. That’s probably as good a reason to take it back to the shop and buy a more back pain friendly model as the real reason of me having just screwed up my back by trying to do some housework with it.

So now I know. For absolute certainty, that even if I spot crumbs and whatnot on the floor. I cannot vaccum it up. Whether the Hetty Machine stays or goes, I suspect I am going to forever be the Nagging Wife following her husband behind reminding him to use the crevice tool and get the edges not just the middle of the floor. I suspect also that soon enough R is going to prefer me with acute back pain.