I am in pain again, and finding it difficult to do things. The first time I had a major back problems was over three years ago, and I blogged some months afterwards about the experience. Ever since I have had to be very careful and from to time I find even the most minor of movements can unexpectedly cause me pain and threaten a lock-up (i.e. an inability to move with any ease or comfort, most movement bringing on acute pain).
Sciatica has been a problem off and on, mostly on, ever since. Sometimes very severe. I take this as a warning sign that I have pushed things too far.
Last week I was on holiday in Swansea with my wife staying in my work flat. We had a really nice time. The weather was excellent and we had plenty of walks. Then the sciatica pain really took off, culminating whilst watching an unusually poor RSC performance in Stratford last Friday evening. The drive back home to Shropshire was very unpleasant.
Things seemed to ease on Saturday. We went out for a meal (Indian) in Shifnal late evening (really good meal). I did not do anything people with bad backs should avoid.
Sunday started well, and suddenly I was in terrible pain. I locked up and found the most trivial tasks extremely difficult. Given last time I had a problem, I was off work for six weeks, it is understandable that I was worried. There was a period last time where it looked like I would have to have a back operation. I know lots of people have back operations, and 99.9% (I guess) are a complete success, but it is still not something any of us want to face.
With a lot of support from my family, I got through the day. With doubling up of strong pain-killers and some alcohol (used carefully with the drugs – helps relax muscles – that’s my excuse anyway) I managed a good night’s sleep.
Fortunately, I was scheduled to be at home on Monday as I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon. I did think I would have to cancel the appointment (and the appointment with the hygienist afterwards) but did improve sufficiently to be able to attend BUT driving there, walking in/out and up/down stairs and, worst of all, getting in and out of their treatment chairs were all painful experiences. When I left, I was bathed in sweat from the effort and dealing with the pain.
Last night, same techniques as previous night meant I had another good night’s sleep. (Better than my experience last time my back caused problems.)
Today, whilst still very uncomfortable, I am feeling much more positive. I can move more easily and the pain has eased. I am minded to go back to work by driving down to Swansea this evening. The heated seats in my car usually help my back.
I have tried to work at my laptop a few times, but the seated position is not good for me and I can only last for a short time. An experiment has shown that I am much better off with my own desktop PC, but still not perfect (so not worth going to the hassle of external monitor, mouse, and keyboard on the laptop – messing around with things is not easy either).
The best thing for me to do is to keep moving: sit for a while, wander around for a while, lie down for a while. Nothing for more than about 20 minutes. Thank goodness for an iPhone and a decent wifi signal around the house and garden.