I’m getting old, apparently. Actually, according to my physiotherapist, I have bits that have got old before their time. The wear and tear on parts of my spinal column appear to be progressing ahead of schedule for the average adult. I had to spend 15 minutes in a grinding, clunking, banging MRI machine to discover that I’m prematurely worn out.
Currently, as I type this, I feel disturbingly like 2000AD’s Stickleback. I don’t really strive for either the look or the sensations that might be involved in having a spine like this for real (although, it isn’t real… old Stickleback just wears that thing to put people off their guard thinking he’s some semi-harmless old cripple). My back and neck have struggled since the middle of last year, when a creeping tension from my shoulders advanced up my neck and tugged on my scalp until I had a near permanent headache. Luckily, I don’t feel quite so bad now. Now I feel like I’m wearing a nigh on permanent yoke of discomfort that weighs down on my shoulders.
By the way, I’m not looking for pity here… I’ll be the first to admit that I have never exercised enough. Fifteen years ago, maybe I got close, playing badminton one or two times a week and walking to work every day. Then again, I was fifteen years younger at the time (oddly enough). Now, in my late thirties, I make room for a 30 – 45 minute walk (almost) every day at a brisk pace – which represents quite a progression from doing nothing at all. However, hunching in front of a PC pretty much is 50+ % of my day job, which does nothing for the neck, back or pretty much anything involving the spine. I need to take a proactive approach to improving my health, wellbeing and posture – something that requires commitment, time and a little concentration.
Anyway, I saw the physio yesterday and he poked, prodded and pulled at me for 20 minutes. Wherever he located pain, he pushed his digit hard into the spot and rubbed the discomfort away… or, at least I think that was the idea. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I sort of thought a physio session might be more physical, with exercises and tugging on a macro level. I found that the actual process resembled a less ‘gentle’ form of manipulation than I would expect from my osteopath (he spends more time with prodding followed by swift acts of bone cracking). By the end of the session, I felt a patchy improvement, though the pain lingered in the right side of my neck.
In the same way as a lot of this medicine approaches each part as an element of the whole, I need to get my exercise, diet, posture and environment sorted to stop this currently situation becoming a regular part of my life. I don’t want pain as a permanent hanger-on.