Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My back is *not* happy

Ack, my back! As a nurse, I know I’m not alone with my sore back. Because of our heavy lifting and awkward body mechanics, it’s not unusual to see a nurse rubbing his or her sore lower back and even calling in sick from time to time because it’s almost impossible to move.

I was reading some stats because of some articles I was working on. I knew back pain was common, but what I didn’t know was that in North America and other Western societies, we have a 65% to 85% chance of developing lower back pain at some point in our life and up to 75% can have a relapse. Of course, that means that many of us have a chance of not developing back pain, but I’m definitely in that 75% that relapses regularly. And I never know what will do it. This week, it was going to the driving range with my husband.

I learned how to golf a few summers ago but never had the time to get halfway decent. I decided that this was the year that I would. Well, after that first trip to the driving range, I’m rethinking that. My body mechanics were fine, I was hitting the ball really well, but my back just didn’t appreciate doing what I wanted it to do. Very frustrating.

We know that a lot of the level of chronic pain we experience is related to our mental health. That's not to say if you have pain, you’re not mentally well! But, there have been studies that have shown that people who learn how to handle their pain, through cognitive behaviour therapy, or biodfeedback, techniques like that, tend to report lower levels of pain. So maybe I have to find a way to handle this and to convince my back that I’m not going to stop golfing, no matter what it says. :-)

Seriously though, I do stretch and I do try to be very careful. After all, it is the only back I have. If any one has any suggestions, I’d love to hear about them. Exercising helps to a certain degree, but I still have to be very, very careful.

News for today:
Sleep apnea increases risk of diabetes and hypertension in pregnant women
Heart guidelines aim to prevent defects in newborns
Weight training reverses muscle aging: Study

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