I had such great hopes from my visit to see a physio yesterday. Usually half an hour with these miracle body fixers has me hopping and skipping out of the clinic, almost pain-free.
I thought my back was just a little ‘frozen’ and that with a little bit of expert manipulation all would be well again (& I pain free). But as the physio listened to me recount what had happened (I omitted the carol singing bit), had quizzed me about exactly how and which side of my back I twisted (I have difficulty telling right from left so this alone was a challenge) and had me standing semi-naked in front of him, he declared, ‘It’s slipped disc, I think. But let’s see…’
Now I have been to see several physios in my time, usually for my neck, so I knew ‘let’s see’ meant me bending this way and that with the specific purpose of finding out how flexible I am – or to locate the pain. I braced myself and managed to even touch my toes, although coming up from that position wasn’t exactly pleasant. ‘Not much flexibility, then,’ said the physio and I felt like hitting him. Had he been to any Pilates classes? Did he not know that many people with perfectly healthy backs can’t do what I’d just done – touch the floor in front of them with their fingers?
‘OK, lie down here,’ said the body fixer. I lay on my stomach on the treatment table. He twisted and turned me and told me to do push-ups. It was the weirdest kind of work-out I’d ever taken part in. ‘Very good!’ I was more pleased with his reaction this time. He then twisted my body a bit more, did some weird massaging and asked me to do a few more push-ups. That’s when the pain really hit me. I couldn’t as much lift my little finger than take the weight of my upper body onto my arms. My back was killing me.
‘OK, get up in your own time.’
I lifted my head of the weird breathing hole these kind of treatment tables have and squealed. Every bone in my body was telling me to stay put. ‘I can’t,’ I said.
‘Take your time.’
Feeling like a beached whale, I eventually managed to turn myself on my side with the help of some very un-ladylike pushing and rolling movements on the narrow table. Next my tormentor massaged my back on each side, while I was curled up in something one could only call the foetal position. Or as close to that as I could get. The last straw came when he told me to ‘go on all fours’ and rock my pelvis back and forth. I was beginning to think he was getting a different kind of kick out of this session.
But obviously he wasn’t. The man is a professional and after the treatment when he drew me a rough sketch of what a slipped disc was, and how, with the manipulation, he’d tried to ‘pop it back into its proper place’, I too understood what it was all about. I was sent home with a set of ‘home work’ exercises and told to come back in a few days.
When I hobbled out of the clinic door and into Husband’s waiting car, I was in twice as much pain as I’d been going in. I had to work hard to hold back the tears until home where my two trusted friends, max-strength ibuprofen and white wine, were waiting for me.