In my more than two decades of practice as a physiotherapist and consultant to ‘senior citizens’ of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation and Total/Elf, Warri, I have come to appreciate the distress, discomfort and pain victims of common back pain undergo.
These include: the restriction of their daily activities, such as walking, sleeping, bathing and so on. Other limitations include the reduction of their work capacities and diminished quality of enjoyment of everyday living.
Back pain has continued to remain mankind’s oldest and most stubborn agony! Many young men and women are going about their vocations or businesses in distress, pain and agony with disabled back!.
Victims are depressed, easily irritated. Emotionally and physically, they may be in distress. Primarily pain in the back is subjective and invisible. Later as it becomes chronic it could begin to manifest physically on the victim’s bodily structures. It could begin to cause some secondary and serious problems. Gait may be affected. Victims may begin to limp, weep and unable to walk distances, and could finally be bed-ridden. In a serious note, it may further interfere with bowel movement, urine control and penile erection. Most deformities in elderly people are the visible effects of ignorance, mistreated or improperly treated acute back pain that metamorphosed into chronic back pain and becoming very debilitating.
Unpalatable stories about the effect of disabling back pain are many. The disabilities caused by back pain abound everywhere on the globe. Lost opportunities caused by back pain symptom are numerous. It has even crept into marriages causing strained relationships. Spouses who are tormented by distracting back pain have denied their significant partners the conjugal ‘gift.’ Many patients have confided in me, pleaded with me to advise their significant partners not to deny them their conjugal obligations. Recently in Lagos, a man called me informing me that upon her wife’s subsequent visit to my clinic for therapy, I should advice her not to deny him of the ‘gift.’ The wife had this pain that originates from the back down to one side of the upper buttocks, the hip, thigh down the knee and would feel as though the hip would yank out when she walks or even open her legs. This is very common with most young women. And because the ladies think that since the troubled hip is in the vicinity of the conjugal action, it is, therefore, not wise to blissfully engage in that euphoria, which portends danger and could cause dislocation of the hip joint and be disabled. Well that is the fear of back pain victims who have not found reputable therapist, knowledgeable in anatomy and the biomechanics of the back structure. In the interim the victim might assume poses that is less harmful to his or her back. Bluntly speaking, I would advise that you look for skilled physiotherapist who is vast in physiopathology of the back functions.
Many back pain victims have lost their cherished office jobs. Social engagements have been restricted. Important roles played by people suffering from back pain have been reduced drastically. Just mention it. All to this monster called back pain. Many people are where they are now because of the restriction placed on them by their disabling back pain. They are unable to attend to office work, engage in meaningful livelihood. Conjugal obligation has been interfered. Some men have long stopped becoming breadwinners because of back pain disability. Good number of people has gone to early retirement from their various vocations and professions just because of back pain symptoms. They have tried all they could therapeutically (orthodox and unorthodox) just to see if the pain could give them some respite. Many have carried their disturbing common waist pain, mid back pain and neck pain to prayer houses just to seek for divine solution. Common mechanical back pain could be mystifying. A health problem that could not be fixed effectively with drugs and has continued to be elusive to the medical community. Surgical intervention, which most people apparently hope has come to the rescue, is not without some unpalatable outcomes.
Really the option of surgery helps more than it hurts, but some surgeries reduce only some of the patient’s pain and other surgeries are completely unsuccessful; range of motion is reduced and pain is not. In my humble advice as practicing physiotherapist, I would wish victims to maximally exhaust the benefits of non-surgical, non-invasive spinal decompression approach provided by skilled physiotherapists. A reputable physiotherapist that knows his onions could dexterously work on the painful back for a period and correct the anomaly on your back.
Back pain is a universal health problem. Indeed it is universal epidemic. It affects the white and the black people. It is also a universal language, because it is the complaints of many people globally. It has been mankind’s oldest and most stubborn agony. There are records of many people in the world’s history who have suffered affliction of back pain that affected other parts of their body. Julius Caesar of the then Roman Empire suffered sciatica (pain down the leg) caused by referred pain from the lower back. John F. Kennedy of the United States suffered back pain that caused serious discomfort to his left leg.
Coming to our time here in Nigeria, a one-time head of state, an elder statesman had similar problem that affected his leg and was taken to France for treatment. Reports have it that the surgery was failure. It has even incapacitated him and walking has become labourous! The horrifying thing is that it has defied all medical approaches. The medical community is still searching for the solution to this monster, even at this 20th century. It is no gainsaying that the entire humanity would soon, if it has not started now to be at the mercy of this monster, since back pain affects almost 80 per cent of the entire adult population.
Most areas of contemporary medicine make use of preventive measures in form of information and frequent check-ups; people would go to hospitals to check the state of their heart, kidney, liver, etc, but changes or problem in the back are detected only when they produce pain, i.e., people hardly go to hospital to ascertain the state of their back structures before pain begins! I will advise to look for good physiotherapy centre for that. The physiotherapist subjects your back to specific exercise test, if any defect is detected, he educates you and institutes home programme tailored to your age and tolerance.
These days back pain does not discriminate. Days are gone when back pain was associated only with those who lift loads or overweight persons or the elderly. The trend has changed. It is now affecting more of our young men and women in their productive ages and they carry this old man’s back about on their youthful body with its attendant symptoms.. The consequence is that in their old age, they will live with grave disabilities!
Lest, I forget, the back pain care foundation, in partnership with a media industry in Abuja, shall be carrying out a free intervention physiotherapy care for back pain sufferers in Abuja, in March. The venue is Omega physiotherapy and back pain care centre, 9 Ohafia road, Kubwa, Phase 3.