I’ve long had problems with my back. They originate to a trapped nerve about 15 years ago when I woke and found I could not move my shoulders. Ever since, if I slouch for extended periods of time, I can feel a pain emanating from between my shoulder blades which progresses into a migraine at the back of my head. Usually several days of enforced good posture and a couple of ibruprofen is enough to cure it.
However, I’ve had new problems over the last few weeks. A pain in my lower right back. At first I thought it was a strained muscle from the move and all the lifting and twisting that involved. I can usually walk those off but this seemed to get worse the more I walked.

When I go out Geocaching I always walk with a stick. Not only is it good for poking into undergrowth but it gives extra balance in muddy conditions or difficult terrain. I once made the mistake of setting the height of my stick too low so that I walked with a leaning gait. That caused a similar pain, so my immediate thought was that my walking stick was at fault. But inspecting it I found it was set correctly (when standing flat and straight with it in hand your arm should make a right angle at the elbow). This continued for several weeks until I had to pull out of a caching ring simply because of the pain in my lower back.
I’ve resisted chiropractors in the past because with my upper back, I know that correcting my posture makes it go away, but my lower back seemed to be getting worse. I also noticed that I had a greater range of movement in my left leg rather than my right leg – which is a problem since I tend to lead with my right. Consequently simple things like putting my right sock on or getting into a van or even getting over some stiles was becoming a major issue.
I happened to mention this to my old neighbour during one of my packing trips to the old house and he mentioned he’d recently seen a chiropractor who’d worked wonders. As I said, I’ve resisted them, not only because I could self cure the upper back problems but also because I’d heard so many horror stories. I don’t have any issues with the concept of straightening your spine out – the overwhelming feeling when my back plays up is the need for someone to stretch you out. But there are reports of treatments gone wrong where people have been left in a worse state.
However, my view has always been that accidents aside, it depends on the chiropractor, and here I was being recommended one by someone I trust. Given that last Sunday we’d not walked 8 miles and I’d had to pull out (8 miles is not a lot for me at all), I knew I needed to get something done.
When I told people I was going, I got a real spectrum of opinion, all with very valid points. Those who raised concerns were raising ones I shared but I’d decided ultimately that I really needed to get this done and it outweighed the risks.
And so yesterday I went for my first appointment, half cynical, half with an open mind. The diagnosis backed up the strains I’ve been feeling and the chiropractor was friendly and informative. It’s a bit too early to know how well it went. My ex-neighbour said he hurt like hell the day afterwards but felt brilliant after that and I’m feeling the former today – which is a shame as it’s a nice day, it’s my weekend off-call and it would have been a great day to have gone Geocaching.
I have another appointment next week and I’ll see how it progresses. Hopefully I’ll be back up to my regular mileage and more very soon