Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Mediaeval torture!

I had my first session of chiropractic yesterday, with a nice therapist called Mark.  He was very sympathetic and kind, putting me at my ease straight away.  After taking a detailed history, he examined me....he said my lower back muscles were incredibly tight and my spine was twisted sideways.  He located which 2 discs were causing the most problems and noted that my entire lower back area was extremely sore and sensitive.

I then had to lie on the couch face down, and he gave me the works!  Ultrasound first of all, followed by some deep massage - lovely, if a little painful in places.  Mark said he wanted to do some manipulation next, but my muscles were still a bit too tight for that, so used acupuncture needles first, which he said would loosen up the muscles sufficiently to do the manipulation.  I've never had acupuncture before, it didn't hurt at all, in fact if he hadn't told me he was doing it I would never have known. 

The manipulation was more like mediaeval torture!  He had me lying on my right side, he pressed my left shoulder and pushed it hard, whilst at the same time actually kneeling on my left knee and yanking my left hip towards him, so effectively twisting my body in half....I felt a sharp wrench somewhere in my lower back and yelped.  "Good, there it goes!" he said (the sadist, haha).  Then he did the same on my other side.  Mercifully, that was it for the manipulation, so although it was painful, it was very shortlived. 

After he'd helped me up off the couch, we went into another room with another couch, which I again had to lie face down on.  He stuck 3 large TENS-machine type pads on my lower back and set the machine to pulse gently for 10 minutes, whilst some soothing music played.  And that was it. 

I slept like a baby last night, for the first time in ages....torture clearly relaxes me!  teehee.  I'm going again next Monday.

Today I ache a lot, including some places that didn't ache before.  My left shoulder in particular feels like it's been rammed into by an American footballer.  But my lower back is less painful and my stomach muscles are no longer spasming all the time.  So it's well worth the money, in my opinion (even with the torture! ;-) haha).

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Saving money

We've got a big holiday to look forward to in the autumn.....going to Scotland for a week, to meet up with a very dear friend I've got to know through the internet but haven't yet met in real life (hello D!)....how exciting, I can't wait!  Somerset to Scotland is a long way and will take many gallons of fuel (sorry, litres....I still work in old money), as well as many hours.  To break up the journey so OH doesn't have to do it all in one go (I don't drive), we're going to spend a night in a motel both on the way up and the return journey.  So it's going to cost us a fair bit of money, hence the need to save. 

Since January we've been saving £2 coins, to go towards the fuel.  OH counted them the other day, we've saved £66 so far which is a really good start.  Whenever we go on holiday, we always take a big coolbox filled with meals that I've cooked and frozen during the 3 or 4 weeks prior to the holiday - things like cottage pie, fish pie, lasagne, curry, pasta bakes.  Together with some frozen milk and bread and a few ice packs, the food always stays frozen until we reach our destination....this saves us money and means I don't have to spend the week cooking.  That's not an option this time though, seeing as we're going to be staying in a motel on the way up, obviously we can still take tinned and packet stuff, but not fresh.  There is a small supermarket, one of the Spar type shops where stuff generally costs more than in a bigger supermarket, next door to where we're staying, and a couple of restaurants close by where we will no doubt eat once or twice.  After all, it's a holiday so I don't want to spend it stuck in the kitchen all the time.

One of the best and most immediate ways I can save money is by cutting back on the food shopping, which is fairly easy really if I put my mind to it, plan accordingly, check what we have in before writing a menu plan and shopping list....and sticking to it!  As more of our garden produce becomes ready (we're harvesting new potatoes, onions, courgettes, a few carrots and strawberries at the mo), so we will be able to reduce the amount of veg and fruit we buy, which saves us lots of money.  I reckon I can easily save £10-15 per week, which I'll put by to go towards the holiday. 

My back is slightly better, my stomach muscles aren't constantly in spasm anymore which is a massive relief.  I'm fairly sure it's because I've been taking the anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant tabs regularly....3 days ago I deliberately didn't take them, just to see what happened, and was crippled and in agony again the following day :-(  I'm hoping the chiropractic session (well, more than 1 session I expect) will result in me being able to come off, or at least reduce, the medication sooner rather than later....I really hate having to be on drugs all the time.  Thank you again for all your well wishes.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Still crippled

Thank you for all the sympathetic comments.  A week on and the back is no better at all.  Saw GP....a nice lady locum who gave me a (painful) examination and then cheerfully gave me a dire warning about ringing for an ambulance to go to A&E immediately if I found myself unable to pee or poo, or I wet the bed!  :-O  Apparently, the disc can sometimes press on a nerve which could cause complete lack of feeling in my saddle (as she called it - then helpfully explained it meant the bum/fanny area...she was quite a character).  Thankfully, that's not happened (yet!).  I came out with an armful of pills, one of which is to counteract the side effects of one of the others, hmm.  One of the medications is Diazepam....I wasn't very happy about that, seeing as it's a tranquillizer - "We don't call them that anymore, we call them benzodiazepines now!" - she said, as if that makes it any better!  She assured me that in the lowest dosage and as a very short course (10 pills) they are a very effective muscle relaxant.  To be frank, the way things are at the mo, I'd happily swallow handfuls of any of the pills if they did the trick.  Told me to go back in a week's time if no better and they'd see about referring me for 'other treatments'.

Well, I can't wait that long - goodness knows how long a referral would take - so I've booked in for a chiropractic treatment on Monday.  I'm trying to carry on as normal, we even went out to our favourite little town, Wells, yesterday for lunch and a walk round the lovely little shops.  Had to cut it short though and go home as I was getting more crippled by the minute.  After taking pills and lying on the bed for an hour, the muscle spasms stopped and I could move around again.  This is what it's like all the time.....I do some activity for an hour or so, be it a bit of housework, cooking or walking round somewhere, then I'm in such agony and so bent over sideways that I have to stop and rest completely.  I'm also totally woolly-headed from all the tablets, my brain feels like it's in slow motion.

The garden's coming on a treat....husband is doing all the work as i'm so incapacitated, I'll take some photos and put them on soon.  We're eating onions, new potatoes, courgettes, baby carrots, radishes and strawberries from the garden.  Just bought a couple of French lavenders and a gorgeous smelling old fashioned type deep pink David Austin rose, OH's just planted them in the front garden.  Had a bit of rain at last, much to OH's relief as his water butt has been empty for ages.....they've been forecasting showers for the west country for a week or more, but up till yesterday they'd mostly bypassed us completely.  We definitely need more rain though, everything is so bone dry.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Backache

I'm crippled with it, have been for days....erm since last Wednesday I think, the days are passing in a haze of painkillers.

I had a slipped disc as a result of playing tennis when I was about 18 or 19 (tennis!  my word, those were the days.....doing a crossword puzzle is about my level of sport now), it was treated by 3x weekly sessions of physio (torture more like) for a few months.  Ever since then I've been plagued with backache occasionally, it flares up if I've been standing in more or less one position for a while (in the kitchen doing a lot of cooking or washing up, eg), or if I've bent over to pick something up or out of a low cupboard.  Yes, I know we're supposed to bend from the knees, but honestly, who remembers?!  I've had a few more courses of physio or chiropractic over the years, plus painkillers and muscle relaxants on repeat prescription.  Haven't had any physio/chiro in the 6 years since we've lived down here, the pills have normally been enough, along with a hottie pressed on my back (the heat pad kind you warm up in the microwave, not a fit young bloke!!).  They're doing diddly squat right now though.

Sometimes, I can actually feel the disc pop out....it's a weird sensation, it's just like a kind of 'pop' in my lower back, it brings me upright with an immediate jerk and sharp intake of breath.  That's what happened last Wednesday morning...I needed to get a notebook out of the desk low cupboard, sat on the edge of the desk chair, bent over and 'pop', it went just like that.  Normally, after a couple of days' worth of Naproxen and Amitriptyline and taking things easy (no bending!) it wears off.  Not this time though, it's still total agony, my stomach muscles are constantly spasming making me gasp all the time, i'm bent over to one side and there's the constant aching pain in my lower back, no let up at all.  I'm finding it hard to sleep at night, every time I change position the jolting pain wakes me up.  Can't get comfy in ANY of the chairs in the house, be it armchairs, sofa or dining chairs.  Standing to do anything, like cooking, is agony and i'm constantly out of breath with all the gasping in agony and sharp intakes of breath.  So i'll have to ring for an emergency GP appointment Monday morning if it hasn't let up by then. 

It's taken me half an hour just to type this, as I have to keep stopping and getting up to move around a bit.  I'm fed up with my brain being addled by all the tablets, my head feels like it's stuffed with cotton wool.  Think husband is also getting fed up with me constantly looking blank and saying "what?" every time he asks me something, I feel like i'm in a permanent state of confusion.