Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Baby Got Back (Pain)

"You are saying the change has to first occur in the brain?"

Great googly-moogly, people. The above quote is in an article attempting to explain lower back pain. That’s right. Back Pain. I clicked through to the article because my stupid back hurts again, and I thought I’d find some helpful hints in the article called “Low Back Pain: Is It Really All In Your Head?” I was, of course, expecting the answer to this rhetorical question to be “OF COURSE NOT, YOU POOR SUFFERING SOUL!” But no, no, no. That was not the case.

Blah, blah, blah, the article was all “the suffering starts in your head because that’s where movement begins: in the brain” or some such way of complicating the fact that your brain controls your body. If you don’t already know that, I don’t know how to talk to you.

I find both great enjoyment and frustration in articles like this. On the one hand, sometimes these articles provide very helpful information (make gentler movements). On the other hand, there’s a lot of jargony nonsense that can suffocate the factual text and confuse readers (said example of it being in your head).

I don’t know if any of you has back pain, but mine started in high school and randomly and angrily flares up without warning. Sure, the lifting of heavy boxes and walking a couple miles every day in high heel wedges may not help, but I’m certain the pain existed long before any of these other things happened. It’s a back spasm that shakes me into a contorted position for a few seconds, and is followed by anywhere from an hour to 5 days of soreness.

But enough about me. Back (ha!) to the articles. More and more people are visiting websites for help and treatment of pain. You just can’t visit the doctor every time something comes up, though, right? Sometimes, one must Google. But I’m scared for people who don’t take the time to rummage through all the prosaic babbling to get to the proverbial meat of the matter. For instance, Web MD’ing “dark bruise” suggests that I may have rectal problems. What? No, try again, website. Mongolian Spots? Nope. In this case, I’m guessing it’s best to rely on our own brain. (Then again, can I trust my brain? I mean, it may be the thing that’s responsible for my back pain, after all.) It takes a bit of thinking. “This deep dark bruise on my thigh has been there for a few days now. Hmmm. Maybe it has something to do with repeatedly running into the corner of the dining room table whenever I sprint into the kitchen for a slice of cheese.” Guess what, Contestant! You’ve won a million dollars.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m all for healing yourself in the best way possible. If it’s medication, meditation, or ignorance, I say go with what works for you. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways in which people diagnose and heal themselves. When I was very young, my parents gave me the Mayo Clinic Family Health book. It was chock full of diseases and pictures. My favorite? Hairy Tongue. Yeah, that one’s a doozy. But the language is so methodical and technical, I trusted it. There was no suggestion that any physical disfigurement may simply be due to the way I think. It was just the facts. And it was a great relief to know that I wasn’t suffering from internal bleeding. (I used to think, “How would I ever know if I was bleeding INSIDE?! I can’t see in there!” Thanks to the book, though, I realized it is highly unlikely that there would be no physical manifestation of said bleeding. Case closed.)

None of this helps me with my back, though. I don’t want to visit a doctor; it’s a recurring pain that I can handle. Googling “back pain” is useless, as there are too many causes and treatments for me to sort through. And I definitely won’t stop wearing high heels. I don’t know. I guess I’ll just request a new chair from HR and hope that fixes it. And if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll head into a clinic for a lobotomy and get the masochistic part of my brain that is causing my own pain removed.


cindi said...

hahahahaa.........hahahahaaha....Loved it ! And I ALWAYS diagnose myself online...SO easy to just click the window CLOSED when you read something that makes you freak.

sarahabt said...

OH MY...I love the photos on Mayo Clinic to..the skin rashes were always gross!!

SARAHABT said...


Grandmaman said...

My favorite answer from a doctor about back pain came from Dr Rick Derby! He said "We all hurt"!!

pharon said...

Hahahaha! "We all hurt". Very helpful, Doc! :) My dad would say something like "Well, I don't know. Ice it. Then heat it. Then ice it."

JessiferSeabs said...

On a serious note -- I have suffered from lower back pain periodically over the years too. Blame big boobs and high heels.. And unfortunately weak abs. Strengthening your core is the best thing you can do for your lower back, because those muscles take pressure / repsonsibility off your back...

I also have flare ups just before my period, random.