Posted by: twobigyellowcranes | 26 May 08

Cue the “Steptoe and Son” theme tune…

Last Tuesday was a singularly uneventful day. I went to work, came home, went out to play football, showered, came home and went to bed.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up and couldn’t sit up to get out of bed. The pain in my lower back was serious, but setting that to one side, I just couldn’t physcially straighten my lower back. At best, when I kind of rolled out of bed, I could stand and stumble in a manner almost resembling walking at something like a 60 degree angle. I just about got changed, throw a couple of Ibuprofen down my throat and just about managed to drive to work, where I was mercilessly laughed at by some colleagues and given great sympathy by others.

As the day went on, I started to realise something was wrong and I needed to get something done. So I rang H, met her and drove up to A&E at the Ulster. After a very short period of time, I was seen by a doctor who confirmed that what was wrong seemed to be muscular. He checked my bones, prescribed a painkiller (more on that later), gave me some anti-imflammatory gel and sent me home.

After a bad evening and largely sleepless night (for once, K was not the primary fault in this), I rose the next morning (Thursday) to about exactly the same angle as the day before, had a yogurt, popped my painkillers and journeyed into the office (I know, I’m such a trooper – but the truth is, it was probably going to be easier for me than a day at home with K). Around 10:30am, I started to get sweat and shake and just generally feel awful. After about 15mins, I rang H to come and get me, because I genuinely felt I couldn’t drive home. On the way back home, I had to get her to pull over so I could throw up out the car door (on the Lower Newtownards Road if anyone is interested). I went straight to bed as soon as I got back. It transpires that the doctor had prescribed morphine-esque painkillers with no instructions that they should be taken with food (they weren’t), that they may have side effects (they did) and that you shouldn’t drive with them (I had). Perhaps KBE may like to comment on the practice of just giving painkillers of that strength to patients in a brown envelope with the sole instructions hand written on it being “Take 2 every six hours”!!!

The next morning (Friday), I woke up and went to an emergency physio appointment a friend in work had managed to make for me. The physio was very good and diagnosed the problem as a ligament strain on the left side of my sacrum (the fused bone at the bottom of your spine). It seems likely that I did this playing football on Tuesday night (I don’t know how) and that during the night, all the muscles around the sacrum froze to protect the strained ligament (hence my being unable to straighten up). The physio said that there was nothing that could heal the ligament strain other than rest/time, but he could work on the lower back to relax the muscles so that the stiffness could go. He did and also gave me some exercises to do at home with the advice to sit for 20mins as often as I could with a bag of something frozen at my back.

The next morning (Saturday), my back was so much better I could hardly believe it. It still isn’t right and I am seeing the physio again tomorrow night, but the improvement over the last couple of days following his diagnosis and suggested course of treatement has really impressed me. That was the first time I’d ever been treated by a physio (thankfully) and hopefully tomorrow night will be the last time for a while. The whole episode has made me increasingly thankful for good health and things that I take for granted everyday.



  1. Nightmare! Hope you feel better soon. I always knew exercise was bad for you!

  2. You’re just getting too old to still be running around after a ball (unlike me – I’m just too fat). To be fair if you’d gone to see your good old GP you wouldn’t have got unmarked tabs in a brown envelope. But then again you would probably have had to wait a week to see him and if was referring you to a physio it would probably take somewhere in the region of 6 months. Isn’t the NHS great!

    But look on the bright side -from the sounds of it you probably could qualify for DLA.

    (Get well soon 🙂 )

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