Stand-Up Saturday: Pain


Welcome to another installment of weekly no holds barred, profanity-laced, semi-comedic rants straight from the rambling mind of the Supreme Destroyer of Bullshit — The Maineiac.

Today’s topic: Pain

I’ve had lower back pain for years.

And when I say back pain I really mean the feeling one gets when their lower vertebrae are constantly being set on fire then slowly crushed into a fine powder.

Suffering from chronic back pain sounds so innocuous, like it’s a mild nuisance. The problem is it definitely won’t kill you, but it sure as hell will make you wish someone would.


People that don’t have back pain will never get it. Oh, but they have sympathy for other pain. Kidney stones? Oh you poor thing! Migraine? Oh man, those are killers, go lie down in a dark room! Lower back pain?

Suck it up, you wuss.

The thing about having pain in your back is you tend to use your back for just about everything in life. Sleeping, sitting, walking.  The only time you don’t use your back is when you’re having a near death experience or dead.

Even that’s not a guarantee.

“Ooh! I see the tunnel and there’s a light! I’m coming! Just hold on while I…oof…shit…oh God…oh no….crap…my back is giving out. Ah! Here, just let me lie down in this dark tunnel for a sec until the pain goes away…”

I’m so used to having a constant feeling of grinding back pain that one day I was in utter shock when by some miracle it momentarily went away. Poof.  Pain. Gone.

Unfortunately, I was in a hot tub.

I remember thinking, Holy hell! My pain is gone! Is this what it’s like to NOT have pain?! What kind of sheer bliss is this? I am in heaven! I can live again! I can be free! Yes!

Then I got out of the hot tub.

Too bad I couldn’t spend the rest of my life in a hot tub.

So my pain is still there. Doctors don’t know how to treat it. It’s not a disease they can fix. It’s not something they can remove during surgery so you’ll be all better. And believe me, many a time I’ve been stuck down on the kitchen floor and thought to myself, “Y’know what? I really don’t need my spine. Take it out, doc. Just fucking REMOVE IT.”

But doctors won’t rip out your spine. Pfft. Cowards.  Instead, they throw some ibuprofen at you with the prescription:

Take three pills every 6 hours. Stop when your liver falls out of your ass.

They tell you to go to a chiropractor. They “manipulate” your spine until your eyes go cross. I’ve done the chiropractor thing. Several chiros as a matter of fact. I’m so intimate with the whole chiropractic scene I call them “chiros” for god’s sake. It’s all very disturbing how intimate all these men are with my sacral area.

Last month, my pain had gotten so bad I was unable to sleep, bend over, move, breathe, sit or even blog. I knew it was time once again to visit my doc so I could get the runaround about how to ineffectively treat my back pain.

As I sat hunched over in the examination room, silently crying, she scheduled me for another X-ray, then handed me a thick manual on how to properly “stretch.” I stared at her in disbelief.

Oh! I get it now! If I simply stretch my back, this blinding pain I feel every goddamned time I bend over or breathe will magically disappear! Why didn’t I think of that before! It’s all so clear to me now! Newsflash! I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years!! Yeah, I get the stretching thing! It ain’t working, doc! For all I know the yoga is causing all this shit! Fuck Sting! Fuck him and his stupid fucking tantric yoga bullshit! It doesn’t work!

That was when the doctor asked me to leave.

Apparently, I had forgotten to say most of the above inside my head.

Screw you, Sting. Screw. You.
Screw you, Sting. Screw. You.

Today I got my X-ray results. The much-too-cheerful medical assistant called to inform me my spine was “curved” and there was now “moderate-to-severe arthritis” in my lower back. My lower disc was almost nonexistent, now just a thin pancake between my two upper butt bones.

Okay, fine vertebrae. You use your medical terms and I’ll use mine.

Mmmkay….I thought, so what you’re telling me is I have the curved-pancaked-spine of a 90 year old woman now? Terrific! And why the fuck do you sound so fucking upbeat about this? You are the worst fucking medical assistant ever. You and your normal spine suck.

There was a long silence on the other end of the phone.

I really should stop saying these things out loud.

She set me up to meet with my doctor again for some “manipulation” then possibly an MRI. This is a new tactic, I’ve never had an MRI done on my spine before. I’m certain this will finally reveal what is really wrong with my lower back. My official diagnosis?

My ass is broke and it ain’t no joke.

Fingers crossed there’s a new cutting-edge buttbone surgery.

90 thoughts on “Stand-Up Saturday: Pain

  1. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass when you use your outside voice–or use your outside voice because of the pain in your ass. You get my point, right? May your life be perpetual hot tub!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. Le Clown

    I am snark-free today, or call it Le Clown Lite Version. I have written too much this year about my lumbar sprain and stenosis and what not. Back pain is the absolute worst. Probably as painful as the day I gave birth to my daughter. There isn’t anything funny about being the last one to get to the door because you walk like George Burns, or that everyone offers you help to talk, or that your wife doesn’t want you to help with the grocery bags, or that you can’t pick up your daughter because you will go from crooked to screwed… Yes, I am snark free this morning, because I feel for you, and I should take 2 Naproxen, 1 Dilaudid, 1 Cyclobenzaprine, and two Tyelnol (for good measures) to feel for you without pain.
    Le Clown

    1. I had a feeling you might get this post, Le Clown. Ugh, that is the worst when I bend down to pick up my daughter and get stuck midway, frozen in pain. She is getting way too big for my broken butt bones to handle. I am willing to try anything at this point. Even acupuncture. Sure! Stick the needles in me, I don’t care!

  3. I feel your pain, both in the back and in the fact that you clearly suffer from OTM,OTM syndrome (One the Mind, Out the Mouth). I have that, too. But I also finally have a hot tub, where I can be found for hours every night.
    Wishing you some relief soon!

    1. OTM, OTM. Love that! I think they should warn people on the label that if you take too much Advil it may cause extreme senility and diarrhea of the mouth.

      The good thing about having pain all the time is now I have a good excuse for why I’m so bitchy all the time.

      I wish you many more days of bliss in your hot tub. I gotta get one.

  4. I’m not a back pain sufferer myself, so as you say, I can’t possibly understand what it’s like, but I certainly don’t trivialise it, I’ve seen enough people in my life who suffer from it to not realise how utterly horrendous it is. It doesn’t seem appropriate to say anything funny…not that I can think of anything funny anyway! Hope they find some way to relieve it for you.

    1. Thanks, V. It really isn’t funny at all, you’re right. It’s not a stabbing horrendous pain all the time, so I shouldn’t complain…but it’s more like a constant deep ache. It takes its toll over time. I am very eager to see my doc (who’s an orthopedic doc) next week so we can MAYBE find some relief because I’m only 43 now, I can’t imagine what I’ll be like when I’m 70.

  5. I have had occasional back pain where it was hard to move or stand or walk or get up out of a chair so I cannot imagine having it all the time–you are a saint and the fact that you said that stuff aloud was good–hopefully it got your point across
    Wish I had some words of wisdom–all I have is sympathy……(hugs)

    1. Well… I said it out loud to my husband later on….I tend to keep my true thoughts inside. I like to use this blog as a way to get it all out, it’s therapy. Thanks so much for the hugs, I have a feeling I’ll finally get to the bottom of this next week (pun intended)

      1. Shoot. I was hoping you really said all that out loud, too. We’re *much* too polite when we go to the doc or interact with those insipid techs. They need to hear how much pain we’re in, even if it gives them a momentary wake-up.
        I’ve seen and heard so many horror stories about back surgery that I would beg you to make that your last option before suicide. Try *everything else* first.

  6. I’ve had lower back pain for a little over a month; I thought you’d have some good tips on how to relieve it but NO! (Except for the laughter — that helped!) I offer a lot of sympathy and a month’s worth of empathy. It effin’ hurts! So sorry for your years of this kind of pain. I hope I haven’t been judgmental towards people who complain about back pain but if I have I apologize and empathize!

    1. Sorry you know what it’s like. I do have tips for the normal back pain we all tend to get as we get older. Yoga really does help. (I swear!) Heating pads. Advil. Swearing under your breathe when needed. Sadly, this stuff doesn’t help me much anymore though because my disc has lost all of its fluid and is starting to break down because of the arthritis (which I swear is due to a bad car accident I was in 15 years ago).

  7. Oh just go lie down in a dark room and shut the hell up. Wait. Sorry. Wrong ailment.

    Ug, DP, that sucks. I give you permission to spend the rest of your days in a rose petal-filled hot tub listening to soothing music [up to but not including The Police].

    P.S. – I’m sorry they come from pain, but I love these stand up posts. You are one funny woman.

    1. Bwa haha!! You crack ME up, JD. If only everyone would just leave me alone so I could actually go lie down in a dark room and shut the hell up.

      I love these posts too, mainly because I can finally give myself permission to drop the F-bombs freely. I do in real life, so why not in my writing once in awhile?

  8. Snoring Dog Studio

    OUCH. Every morning I wake up with a stiff, painful back. In my case, I do need to stretch more. Sitting is the enemy of the back. All those muscles tighten up over time. Have you ever tried yoga or is it not a good idea for you? Personally, I hate yoga but so many people swear by its magical properties. I so very much hope you can find some relief. Your back is so important! And keep the sense of humor about it. That and some pain meds can go a long way.

    1. Thanks, Jean. Yes, the mornings are the WORST. I can barely roll out of bed. Not a good way to start the day. I have actually practiced yoga for years and I swear if I didn’t do that, I’d probably be in traction at this point. I also make sure I walk every other day for 40 minutes. My next step is acupuncture. Really, there’s not much left for me to try and I hate taking Advil like they’re candy.

  9. Good post and I’m with you all the way. If we could bend and stretch without pain, we wouldn’t be in the doc’s surgery would we. Last time I saw the GP, he told me to touch my toes. I’ve done the chiro and osteopaths too. Walked in, crawled out, never went back. I so agree the relief of a hot tub. Problem was I couldn’t get out (not a pretty sight, beached whale amidst bubbles doesn’t even come close), so now have a hot shower pelting needles of water at the designated area. Confess best remedy so far has been losing over 4 stone in weight, and surprisingly, walking more (thank you Dog).

    1. I remember leaning on my husband to get out of the hot tub, not a pretty sight. I also will stand in the hot shower extra long, just to feel temporary relief, it’s very fleeting. I had one doc tell me it was a muscle pull. Haha! Yeah, right. A muscle pull that has lasted the better part of a decade and a half? I also agree with the losing weight and walking. I’ve recently dropped 10 pounds through walking more and really, other than my back, I feel great and am in good health for my age. I take zero meds, just vitamins. But I don’t want to take Advil every day so I’m stuck. Hope you continue to find relief with your walking!

  10. Urgh… I know about back pain, and about getting stuck in that sort of old-crippled-person’s right-angle position. Thankfully (hopefully) I don’t have arthritis, mine’s due to not moving enough and moving badly when I do, and to years and years of having been addicted to Valium which fucked my muscles bigtime. But why the hell didn’t your doctor/s Xray you and find the cause sooner? They’re idiots.

    The only thing I know of that’s supposed to help arthritis (but haven’t tried myself, and couldn’t if I needed it, as I’ve a shellfish allergy) is green-lipped mussell extract. Not sure where you’d get it… pharmacy? Health food store? There’s plenty of info online about it.

    And yeah… staying in a hot tub isn’t very useful… also you’d get very wrinkly.

    But if you ever find a cure, y’know what you can do? You can screw Sting and that’s… well, y’know…

    1. Yikes, that sucks, Val. Sorry you have to deal with it, too. Speaking of Valium, my last doc gave me a muscle relaxant. I took one pill and felt like I was dying. Like my entire body was this lead weight, I was actually worried my heart would stop beating! So I threw them away. Too scary.

      I did have another X-ray before this one. My last one was from 5 or 6 years ago (a chiro ordered it) and I only had mild arthritis then in my back and bone spurs in my neck. I have no clue why I’m so fucked up at such a young age. Sigh. I just know I’m ready to be DONE with it. It affects my mood big time and I already have a history of depression. I am determined to find some relief.

      Maybe by screwing Sting? (I do really love the guy…)

  11. Once again, we’re in the same leaky boat, Darla. I popped a disc eight years ago while working out at the health club. After months of waiting for an appointment with the orthopedist, I finally got in to see him, and he gave me exercises to strengthen my core. My core? What am I, a pineapple? And exercise — that’s how I hurt myself in the first place.

    How’s your swallowing thing? We should get together sometime, just to compare ailments.

    I loved this: “…my pain had gotten so bad I was unable to sleep, bend over, move, breathe, sit or even blog.”

    1. “What am I, a pineapple?” haha! Too bad you didn’t really say that to him. Or maybe you did and just don’t remember if you said it out loud? I do that all the time.

      Yeah, I really am tired of them telling me to “exercise more” or “do more yoga”. I mean, unless there’s a move out there where my spine would actually disintegrate completely, I’ve tried everything else. I’m starting to think exercise is bad for you and it’s all a big scam.

      Well, Charles, between our swallowing thing and our messed-up backs, we are a couple of freaky medical mysteries. Maybe we can get Dr. Oz on the case? My mom thinks he knows everything.

  12. My back’s broke, too. Broke ain’t no joke. I do the stupid stretches and exercises. They help because I can’t continue to take the Le Clown-prescribed cocktail (albeit quite fun). 😦 I think I may have pooped my liver out drinking as a 20-30-40-something. Dammit.

    Please, please, please don’t tell me that coffee is bad for me. That’s all I have left. Want some with me?

    1. Hell, yeah! I’ll fix you a cup and maybe slip in some of Le Clown’s cocktail in mine. I am starting to worry about actually getting a herniated disc. A friend of mine had one this year and she said the pain was so intense (worse than childbirth) that she wanted to die. Me no likey.

  13. Shit… I am sorry. Totally get going off on doc. I just unloaded on a specialist the other week. Sometimes it seems like a vast medical professional conspiracy (gee am I becoming paranoid?). All any Dr., specialist, therapist seems to do is refer patients to other doctors, specialists, therapists. Are these people able to help anyone??!! They sure are pretty good at getting their billing straight. Grrrrrr… I do hope you feel better. Here’s a practical idea-a portable, wearable hot tub. Now THAT would be helpful, although not very attractive.

    1. Yes! Funny how they can scratch their heads when it comes to finding a good treatment, but as for paying the bills, they are always spot-on. Over the years I’ve been referred to chiros, orthopedic docs, even a rheumatologist. But because I don’t have a specific disease they really don’t know what to say to me other then, go home and take Advil until you’re dead.

      1. I hear you. Two weeks ago we went to see a specialist for our son. He was fifteen minutes late for the appointment and the only thing he did was refer us to another specialist. THEN he charged us $300. Well at least us adults can handle it cowboy style …drink whiskey. It dulls both the physical and emotional pain. AND it’s a fraction of the cost. Yeehah! Do feel better.

  14. Hilarious post as well as right on the mark. I also suffer from lower back pain and damn it they are discs. Vertebrae is a pain in the ass to say and I have that problem already. I also suffer from “Oh shit, did I just say that out loud?” syndrome. It usually makes me feel a bit better but causes some uncomfortable moments. Anyway, I wish you a pain free future and some sort of solution. Let us know if ya find one. Preferably on a stand-up Saturday. I love to laugh but it hurts my back. HaHa.
    Keep Inspiring

    1. I also wish YOU some pain free days. Once in a blue moon, I’ll have an entire day with no pain and it’s like a slice of heaven. I think, “wow! is this how people feel all the time?!” Happy I made you laugh, sorry you hurt your back. I’m sitting here right now typing this and can already feel a gnawing ache growing, I can never really “relax” my back or find relief. It’s very draining. Who knew those little discs were so damned important? My husband want to buy me one of those “anti-gravity” devices where I hang upside down to stretch out the spine. I might try that next.

      1. Not so much that I hurt it as I have suffered recurring pain from a spinal injury when I was young. So while I can totally relate to the excruciating pain, I am at a loss to understand how horrible it must be to deal with it constantly as mine is not as frequent. As I said before, I wish you salvation from your pain on a permanent basis. Ever see the Jim Breuer movie Half Baked?
        “My doctor says I need a backiotomy” lol. Completely random hilarity.
        Anyway best wishes for pain free days ahead.

      2. Backiotomy! Yes! why didn’t I think of that before?

        My pain isn’t nearly as horrible as what say, a person feels when their disc has ruptured. I don’t really HAVE a disc left to rupture. It’s more of a medium-level of pain that never seems to go away.

  15. First off, damn you! I was composing my next blog piece in my mind all day yesterday, and what was the topic? Pain! Secondly, I am so so sorry to hear that modern medicine has failed you. After all, they have *such* a fantastic track record when it comes to backs. In all seriousness, I can unfortunately relate. Before you ever consider letting someone cut into your spinal area, give my miracle man a try. Seriously. I’ll email details.

    1. Heh heh. We are on the same wavelength, Sue. I will never ever let someone cut into my spine. No way. Send me email, I’d appreciate it. I’ve tried to do Reiki on myself but I can’t seem to get in a comfortable position putting my hands behind my back, y’know?

  16. In my next life, I’m going to invent an “Empathy Machine” — where we can put folks who do not understand pain, illness, poverty, whatever-the-problem-is-itis. That way folks will really understand what it is like to have these problems.

    Hope you feel better soon, that they invent spinal transplants soon, and that you can always laugh through the pain. Laughlin’ and cry in’ you know it’s the same release.

    1. Elyse, you have endured much more than I have, so you know all too well the toll pain can take on a person’s psyche. What’s sad is I’m actually so used to it now, that if I DO have a moment of relief, it’s like I’ve won the lottery.

      And some of my best laughing is when I’m crying and vice versa. Feels good to get it out. Cleanses the soul.

      1. Funnily enough, this week I have visitors. One of them ate something that didn’t agree with her and she was having to go to the bathroom all the time. I developed a new appreciation for my husband’s side of my illness.

        And I don’t think there are any prizes for misery. Which, of course, is unfortunate for both of us! Cause we’d get some good stuff!

  17. Ay, Darla. No me gusta!!!!!!!!! You poor thing. I hate it when doctors don’t really get it when you tell them you want to be put out of your misery – you’re hurting so bad. I’ve yelled at several doctors and nurses for that very reason. My husband says that my problem is that I wear lipstick to my appointments so I look better than I feel and thus, I get no sympathy! I’m sorry, but I do not leave my house without lipstick no matter how much I hurt, damn it! Good luck next week.

    1. That is a good point, they think because I’m fairly young and “look” okay, it can’t be that bad. Sigh. Maybe if I rolled into my next appointment with zero makeup and my hair all a mess? Wait a sec, I do that anyway….
      Thanks for the luck, I’m almost afraid to go to my appointment but who knows, maybe we can figure this out finally?

  18. 😦

    I’m sorry about your back but glad you have a sense of humor about it. Because this was effing funny.


    Also, I know lower back pain is no joke – my brother sprained his lumbar years ago and it still bothers him – and when I say bothers him, I mean he feels like his ass is broken and when he helped me move he could only carry lamps.

    I hope you find some relief soon!

  19. I feel so bad for you, but you really made me laugh at all your pain.
    My sister suffers just like you and you are right when you say “unless you’ve had it you have no idea.” My sister gave birth naturally and came home the same freaking day, yet when her back went out I’m really not sure what I witnessed…exorcism comes to mind. I had to take her kids for days because she was in so much pain. One thing she learned over the years, stress always brought it on,
    Feel better soon!

    1. A friend of mine had her disc rupture and she said the pain was so intense, there were no words to describe it. Thank god I’ve never had that happen to me yet. Thanks for the well-wishes, I’m sure I’ll get some relief from this upcoming adjustment.

  20. I don’t have the patience for hot tubs. But I do get this one. Having fusions in the top (T2-7) and also having three herniated lumbar discs that are now disintegrating, well I get that. But I also have a great set of doctors who have figured out a pretty good treatment plan.

    Stretching – check, when I am actually able to move at all
    Exercise – check, when I am actually able to move at all
    Swimming – check, when I am actually able to move at all

    Best? Spinal Injections. Don’t ask what the cocktail is, I don’t know. But it is a in-patient surgical procedure. The injection lasts about 18 months. They alternate between my neck and lumbar area to keep me 85 to 90% pain free. I have been getting these injections for about 7 years now. They say they won’t keep doing them, but yes they will even if I have to find new doctors. They work.

    Talk to your doctor about spinal injections.

    1. Wow, you have been through it all! I will have to do more research on that for sure, Val. The swimming is a great idea. I walk a lot now and maybe that is taxing my back too much. Apparently, this arthritis thing is pretty common once you get to my age. I also have it in my neck with a few bone spurs. Sigh.

      1. I have bone spurs both upper and lower. I have nixed the idea (for now) of more surgery. But, swimming does help, now weight. The walking is putting weight where you don’t need it.

        The injections are a miracle temporary solution. They don’t fix everything but they do give relief. With the relief you have greater mobility and thus more flexibility. This helps both the emotional strain that pain causes and it allows you to do more, which then provides more long term relief.

  21. I also suffer from back pain. I think there has to be some way we could be in hot tubs all time like the people on The Real World. I’ve seen those limo hot tubs so couldn’t we design a segway version?

  22. I cannot even imagine how frustrating this must be — in 2013, shouldn’t we be able to fix everything by now?! Especially a back. We all have one, let’s figure this shit out already. And, in the meantime, I hope your literal broke ass takes its broke ass home and leaves you alone.

  23. As a Pilates teacher, I KNOW I could relieve some of your pain. While your post is funny, I deeply understand the effect of chronic back pain 😦
    There is unfortunately a certain amount of ‘nothing you can do’ re degeneration of the vertebrae, HOWEVER there is some hope! Demand to see a physiotherapist- keep going till you find a good one- try swimming- have a hot bath every night- don’t gain too much weight- don’t bend over to pick your daughter up, try to kneel down to her level to cuddle or talk to her- a good physio can give you many small changes to make which will add up to reducing the pain you’re in. I wish I could help more, but best of luck from Oz, gabrielle 🙂

    1. I will check into the physiotherapist idea, thanks. I am taking lots and lots of hot baths, I have my heating pad permanently attached. I just don’t want to take bottles of Advil every day to get by. That can’t be good for your stomach.

  24. I have been fortunate enough not to suffer from chronic back pain, but I have had a few minor back injuries. I couldn’t sit down, I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sneeze without wanting to die. Luckily, my pain disappeared after a few weeks each time. I couldn’t imagine living with a chronic injury. I feel for you, seriously.

  25. Owwww…. I feel your pain. Ok, not exactly but I’ve recently been introduced to back pain. The baby thinks it’s fun to make me suffer.

    I hope this MRI gives more info to help you feel better. Really shouldn’t the MRI just fix you? If you’re going to lay in a giant tube, it might as well zap you and fix the problem.

    1. You’d think the MRI would also fix you at the same time. Maybe make it heated, put a blanket in there…pipe in some GOOD music for a change.

      I remember how painful my sciatic nerve was once my son sat on top of it when I was 9 months pregnant. I feel for you, Thoughsty!

  26. You have to be careful now so that you don’t aggravate your back pain. Don’t bend your back. Don’t pick heavy things even a milk bottle. Sorry you will have to stop picking up your daughter. Change your mattress. Take plenty of rest lying straight. I hope you don’t mind my suggestions. I feel bad for you. Hope you will be okay.

    1. You are right, no more picking up my daughter. She asks me all the time, too. Sigh. Thanks and I am taking it super easy this week. I had my first “adjustment” from my orthopedic doc and it really helped. I have to get another one every 3 weeks.

  27. I feel your pain. No seriously, I do. I have suffered with back pain for most of the past 19 years. He assures me is moving out next year. I’m looking forward to that. About 10 of those years was almost constant, Cherish those hot tub moments. They will stop you from killing people with that incineration stare you’ve been developing (I’m convinced that back pain is going to be the catalyst for our next moment of human evolution). I, too, have been on my knees in front of the dishwasher screaming for someone to remove the knives lodged in my pancake vertebra. Then, one day, I had the extraordinary experience of the MRI coupled with the shift from the manipulating chiro bastards (only to be surpassed in pain induction by physiotherapricks) to the visualizing Osteopathic angel who helped me to see and understand exactly what was happening every time God, in her wisdom, chose to smite me with crippling and paralyzing pain. While I can’t keep the pain at bay completely, I understand a few things better now and have more pain free days than not (cue angel music and light at the end of the tunnel). So here’s what I know and I hope it helps you:
    1. Nothing you do will prevent it, if it is going to happen, You just have to have drugs on hand and go with it. You can be shifting furniture without incident one day and then the next you reach down to pick up a bar of soap and you find yourself on your knees (okay, not the best image but you get what I mean. Now back up, Bubba, I won’t be your b*&ch again.)
    2. Lying on your side at night is a killer – visualize a straight spine and tell me how that is going to work without the bed of a thousand pillows inserted in places that are guaranteed to ensure that your husband will never get near you again.
    3. If you can visualize those vertebra you can also see a way to lift them off that nerve that they are so insistent on crushing – try it, it really works. Oh, and left side pain means right side is getting crushed – how’s that for God’s design flaws.
    4. Heat, then ice, then whatever fen fen drug of choice you have on hand rinse and repeat (best taken while in a recliner chair hooked up to No. 6)
    5. It’s cyclical – yep, those pesky little hormones are weakening everything at the right moments. Of course, mine now cycles around every time SlugBoy (the aforementioned 19 year old pain in my ass) has his hand out for more funding.
    6. When all else fails, gin, taken intravenously, will miraculously lessen the pain. It will also make you cry so that you are not suddenly without the requisite sympathy from the family. I would recommend tequila but that has the counteraction of making one feel invincible so you are just as likely to lose pain but end up in traction a few hours later.
    7. Get that toddler/shopping bag/computer bag/ off your hip. Again, straight spine is a happy spine.
    8. Sensible shoes are your friend. A day in running shoes does more good than any of the above treatments. Doesn’t do much for my sex-kitten image but I’m willing to sacrifice for a few hours free of pain.
    Finally, everyone’s pain is different and unique and special so I don’t guarantee any of the above will work nor is it completely accurate. It does, however, work for me. I wish you the best of luck trying to work it all out. I would never have believed I could find days without pain, but I have. I am at least proof that it is possible, or I am some fruit loop sent to curse your blog by writing an inordinately long and tediously unfunny response.

    1. Thank you so much for all the advice! And for making me laugh.

      I am starting to sleep with a pillow between my legs because I do sleep on my side. It seems to help relieve the pressure. I will also take your gin advice to heart. Can’t go wrong there, really. I’m happy that you’ve found some relief in your back pain misery. I think if I keep on top of things, I might find a semi-pain-free state of being one day.

  28. Oh, back pain. Sweet agony. Yup. I know it well. My spine is similarly cursed. This is why I don’t believe in the concept of Intellligent Design. Because an Intelligent Designer would have done much better. Meanwhile, we’re walking around with the prototype spines, and it’s bullshit. I recommend acupuncture, though, and certain stretches can help. So can booze. Oh, and reiki can help. I may know someone who can help you there…

  29. Pingback: Stand Up Saturday: Parenting | She's a Maineiac

  30. formyfrog

    I didn’t read all the comments so maybe someone wrote about this already. My brother had severe chronic back pain and what he did was to have some of the nerves burned inside his back so that even though the degeneration is still going on, he doesn’t feel it.

  31. Shomenuchi

    Hi Maineiac. I never normally respond to blogs (especially not to older posts) but something is telling me to this time. Back pain sucks. I should know…I took a knee to the back which fractured one of my lumbar vertebrae. Being the smart type (I’m a martial arts instructor) I decided to ignore my crippling pain and keep on working. Not a great plan. The pain just got worse and worse. Months later I finally got a CT scan and MRI which confirmed that I’d broken my L3 down one side…and by not acting sooner I’d made things worse, not allowing the bone to heal. In the end I couldn’t even walk more than a few steps. It has taken me 18 months get to where I am today, back in the gym, lifting weights, running, starting to box again. But I’ll tell you this…there’s no one answer to chronic pain. It takes a consistent, multidisciplinary approach to fix. One doctor, be it a GP or an Orthopaedic specialist isn’t enough. You will need the above as a co-ordinator, plus a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, a personal trainer, a feldenkrais teacher and maybe a massage therapist…wait, I can’t do all that you say…It’s too expensive, I can’t fit all that in my life. Well, get used to being in pain. Some hospitals can arrange programs featuring all these folks. Some health plans can do the same. Or you might just have to put it all together yourself. Don’t be entranced by a diagnosis. You need to read some Dr Sarno, and the book Explain Pain. Explain Pain is gold. Chronic pain has mechanical, chemical and psychological elements. Until you address all of them (and at the same time) nothing will change. Passive treatments feel great (chiro etc) but don’t last, because you’ve changed nothing about yourself. You will need to address posture, daily movement habits, core strength…as well as targeted exercise and stretching programs. You’ll also need to address diet, mood and sleep practices. Sounds like hard work. You bet it is. Worth it? That’s up to you…depends on how much you like being in pain. Best of luck 🙂

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