Pain in the Proverbial

I like to write one of these pieces every day, but until today I have missed two in a row. As an excuse, I could use the ultra-hot weather which has left everyone a little dozy and off the pace. I might even suggest that I have been revelling in the adulation from my performance at Author Craft on Tuesday evening. I won’t take you through all the detail other than to say that it went very well apart, that is from one big problem.

It is a problem that has persisted.

On Tuesday morning I went to the gym and while on the weights I leant forward. I wasn’t holding a weight but going to pick one up. It was a casual movement but I felt it go. I had tweaked a muscle in my lower back and I was almost locked in a bent over crouch.

It eased a little in the sauna, but not a lot.

I own an old car, but it is a sports car and even with a totally flexible back, not the easiest to get in and out of. Fortunately, no one was parked too close so that I couldn’t open the door fully. I needed every inch of space to sit and swing myself into position.

At home, around about Tuesday lunchtime, I was flat on my back wondering if I could even make it to the conference. The sofa was comfortable but getting upright caused the problems. I rolled to the edge and hoped my feet touched the ground first to break the fall.

Walking and moving was always more comfortable than sitting and so during the conference, I paced the back of the hall probably exuding nervousness rather than my attempt to stay loose. Anyway, we made it through and all was good until an hour sitting on the train stiffened up every sinew in my back. Changing for bed I had to kick off my shoes like a recalcitrant teenager. I couldn’t reach my feet at ground level.

It has been like this all week although with some slight improvement. At least now I am able to get out of bed in the morning which on Wednesday was a whole new gym exercise.

If you want to know about knees smashed up by rugby then I am your man. I can tell you all about ACLs and cartridges, but backache is new. I know nothing. A trip to the internet was needed and I wish I hadn’t.

In summary, among the causes of back pain are: an osteoporotic vertebra has collapsed; lung, breast, or prostate cancer; a kidney infection; kidney stones; encroachment upon spinal nerves; diseased arteries; or a lumbar disk protrusion that has entered the spinal canal.

Fortunately, none of these applies to me as I felt the muscle as it cramped or tore slightly, but what a list of possible concerns.

According to the ONS, an estimated 137 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016. This was equivalent to 4.3 days per worker, the lowest recorded rate since the series began in 1993 when the number was 7.2 days per worker. Musculoskeletal problems, including back pain, neck and upper limb problems, at 30.8 million days (22.4%) was the second most common reason after minor coughs and flu.

In the past, I have not been over sympathetic to back pain excuses but after struggling from the horizontal to sit to write this I now understand. A bad pain in the back really is a pain in the proverbial.