Through the summer, what with one thing and another, I let my yoga slip. Sitting at a laptop for long hours at a stretch, and with a history of recurring disc bulge and sciatica, are not a good combination.
So what happened? Yep, the stupid disc bulged again and left me in absolute agony. Of course, once this happens, it’s too late to throw yourself back into yoga. You can barely throw yourself out of bed. Or, on a bad night, into it!
Boots and various other chemists have made a fortune out of me in the last couple of months. Doubling up on Ibuprofen and Paracetamol (as recommended by the doctor) didn’t even seem to take the edge off the pain and still saw me pacing the kitchen floor in a manner reminiscent of labour. I tried hot pads, cold pads and their equivalent in sprays. I then went onto picnic-bag ice blocks wedged into the back of my knickers to freeze the pain. I even went to see Mamma Mia at the theatre with one firmly in place. I got through the night with that, wine and mega-strength French medication that my friend supplied me with - it’s a wonder I remember anything!
Then a lovely Twitter friend @mireilleeustace from the Napiers Alternative Clinic, Glasgow, sent me some Chinese Wood Oil. For the first few applications I felt like a new woman - OK, a hot-buttocked woman but it seemed to be easing the pain. I would strongly recommend it to any back pain sufferers but I would suggest you try to use it when the first symptoms hit.
As with all my bouts of sciatica, I know it gets to a point where it is quite unbearable. A few trips to the osteopath usually see it sorted but, as money is a little tight in the Misfit Household at the mo, £50 a time was not an option.
I was just about at my wit’s end with the pain - not only was it in my back, bum, hip, back of knee, tendon and ankle, it had also spread upwards to my middle trunk and waist which, on occasions would make breathing difficult.
So, needless to say, I was a pretty miserable specimen.
Then, as if by magic, a twitter friend and avid Misfit reader (@Jackie495) told me about acupressure mats. Now, I’d heard of them before but had never considered using one. After a little bit of research, I figured I had nothing to lose.
When it arrived, hubbie pooh-poohed it. At 38 x 19 cm, it’s not the biggest thing in the world and it’s covered in circles of tiny plastic pins. Hubbie declared it a waste of £25 and not ‘particularly scientific’!
So Night #1 came - they recommend that you use it for 20 minutes, on your mattress, before sleep and that you gradually build up to an hour. How hard could that be?
This is where my language needs to be bleeped. It was ******* unbelievably painful and after about two minutes, I was ready to quit. It wasn’t just the ******* pricks in my back, bum and legs but I also experienced a cracking pain right down the middle of my forehead which only stopped when I grabbed my head and held it really tight.
Being a brave (read desperate) girl, I completed my 20 minutes and spent the next 10 rubbing my buttocks and back which felt like they’d been dragged across concrete and dumped on burning coals. The heat was unbelievable!
But what was more unbelievable was … the next morning I woke pain free! OK, it didn’t last for long but it was definitely a much better day for me.
I’ve now used the ‘mat of torture’, as it’s now known, for five nights - moaning and sweating the whole time - and I am virtually without pain. I’m not on four-hourly pain killers anymore and I even had a pretty pathetic attempt at yoga this morning, although my fingers have yet to be reintroduced to my toes.
I can only put my recovery down to this miraculous little mat (thanks so much Jackie), but I have to add it’s not for those with a low pain threshold. After the 2nd night of hearing me whinge and complain, hubbie decided to give it a whirl to see what all the fuss was about. ‘******* *** **** wow, this hurts!’ were his first words. Followed by more ******* ***** and *****!
But, 20 minutes of pain every night beats 24 hours of constant mind numbing agony so I’m sticking with it.
I would highly recommend back pain sufferers give it a go - no, I’m not on commission, I wish I was, but if my experience helps just one person, I’ll be happy.
And, as you lie on it for the first time and feel the pricks in your bottom (Ooh, Matron!), think of me and my miracle! Enjoy.
I bought my mat HERE but there are many other places to buy them.
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