Sunday 3 May 2015

Back to the physio

Several weeks ago, I stood up after a good long lunch in a restaurant and found my back was sore and stiff. It was quite uncomfortable for a few days, but after a week or so it was fine again. Then about 2 weeks after that I was mowing the lawn and as I bent down to pick up some grass, I felt the back go again. It was immediately very stiff and I went from fully mobile action mum to stationary old lady in a matter of seconds.

I decided it was time to visit the physio. I went to see one about 2 years ago and she was great. She gave me some stretches to do regularly, and I still do them, and the leg pain I had then has never returned, so I am willing to put my faith in her.

She informed me that it was a problem with a disc, and gave me the advice that in order to get rid of the problem once and for all, I basically need to not bend my spine forwards for 12 weeks. Part of this was the instruction: 'No sitting'.

So what fun. I can still stand, run, walk, perch, lean, and kneel as long as the back is straight at all times, and I am encouraged to bend backwards regularly, especially when lying on my front on the floor. But no sitting!

Luckily I don't have an office job, but am currently doing part-time teacher training. This involves me teaching trainees (easy enough to stand throughout), and observing them teach (now standing with my notes resting on an big old rectangular cassette player, on top of a table).

The other part of my week is working at home, previously sitting at a PC, but now standing with my laptop on some or other raised platform.

Wash basket workplace
For the last couple of weeks I have spent most of the day on foot (but while driving and going to the toilet, sitting is permitted - phew). I went to Cambridge for work and spent 3 hours there, 3 hours back standing on the train (occasionally resting a knee on a seat for parts of the journey), and I now eat all my meals standing, often with the plate on a raised box.

Lunch version (Pete has a lot of board games)

The most difficult parts of the day are cleaning my teeth - impossible not to bend forwards, and getting dressed - the children sometimes help me put on socks and tie my shoelaces for me. In the evenings, I tend to sprawl on the sofa, lying down but with a straight back.

The worst part of it all is, I can't ride my bike. The weather is improving and the kids are still at school, so I have time for long bike rides, but I can't because it's impossible not to bend forward on my bike.

However, the good news is, I can still run - hooray! Nothing too strenuous, and not too hilly, as I tend to bend forward when tackling an uphill. But I can run, and I think it actually helps. Walking is fantastic, and really makes my back loosen up and feel better.

So I've kept this up for nearly 2 weeks, and there are 10 to go. I'm seeing this as my next challenge, like training for a marathon. I just hope that in 12 weeks I'll be all cured! 


  1. What a challenge! I don't think I could do some of my work without sitting. I've found it almost impossible to sew while standing up. I'm glad you're allowed to sit on the toilet - that would have been an awkward and messy one to try to do standing.

  2. Wow - not being allowed to sit for 12 weeks - that is a challenge. We do so much sitting down throughout the day! It sounds like you have set yourself up for success, though - I love your improvised standing desk! Hang in there - it will be worth it if you can nip the disc problem in the bud before it gets worse.

  3. Glad you can run. I hope you feel better soon.
    For my back I have included postural exercises (under the supervision of a physio) twice a week: it works.
    Anyway I have run the Parkrun in Edinburgh on feb. 20th: beautiful scenery.

  4. Gosh Liz ... not easy.

    Amazing how you've improvised things though 10 out of 10 for that !
    You certainly must do your best over the remaining weeks to allow the disc to heal - and well done to your kids for helping you out too.

    Hope the bank holiday weekend is going well.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

  5. Hi Liz ... thought I'd call back to your blog to see how things were going - but no new posts, so hope all is progressing well.

    Take Care

    All the best Jan

  6. Having a bad back's miserable. I don't know how you can live without sitting down, you must be very hardy! I hope your back's better now. With a serious injury to a disc, like you've had, I guess you have to be thankful for small mercies that you can still run. Great job by your physio for the help and advice.

    Emmett Fletcher @ CK Physiotherapy

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  8. The worst part of it all is, I can't ride my bike. The weather is improving and the kids are still at school, so I have time for long bike rides, but I can't because it's impossible not to bend forward on my bike.
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