Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I've been suffering from lower back pain on and off since I was a teenager (I damaged it back then and also have ducks disease i.e. a long body and short legs which doesn't seem to help things). Over the years I've been to doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, masseurs, physiotherapists, so far avoided acupuncturists and mainly resorted to anti-inflammatory drugs.

Last November whilst sorting out my attic (i.e. lifting heavy boxes at odd angles) I knackered my back yet again and have been hobbling around ever since. Gentle excercise and buckets of painkillers have helped but not cured the problem.

Then on Sunday Myrtle gave me a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) and it's done wonders for me. The TENS is a small electrical device that delivers electrical impulses across the skin. The device is about the size of a personal stereo and has pad you put on the skin - in this case my lower back. It gives pain relief that is rapid and lasts for days. It works in one of two ways; by selectively stimulating certain 'non-pain' nerve fibres to send signals to the brain that block other nerve signals carrying pain messages i.e. it gives you pins and needles and also by stimulating the production of endorphins, natural pain-relieving hormones. Unlike many pain-relieving drugs, TENS isn't addictive and seems to have few side-effects. And I love it. It may not be a cure but I can sleep at night again now.

Of course the long term cure is excercise. It's widely acknoldedged that exercise will strengthen the core muscles surrounding the spine and ease the tension in the lower back. But in the meantime I can get on with my life.

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