A little story…….
In a land far away, in the not so distant past. A Man, weakened by years of back pain, tentatively walks into a Therapists clinic, clinging to the shred of hope that there is a new treatment that may enable him to get his life back on track. He’s a young man, in his early 30’s, came down hard on his sit bones, one night, whilst out with his mates.
Back pain ensued.
He goes along to his GP who sent him for an MRI. The result? He was told he had the back of a 70 year old. Degenerative spine, disc prolapses to L4, L5 and S1. He was advised to take much care, there was a suggestion of surgery, if things got too bad, but it didn’t come with any guarantees. So, he decided against the surgeons knife.
However, the gardening job, which he loved, couldn’t be sustained. The digging, weeding, lifting and generally being physically active all day was far too painful. He couldn’t even do an hour of gardening work, let alone make a living from it.
Job gone along with his Gym visits.
Things don’t get much brighter for our guy over the following couple of years. He no longer drives, has had relationship problems and has put on a quite a bit of weight. Not only does his “degenerating” back hurt, but now his knees are painful, he doesn’t sleep well and he has persistent headaches.
It doesn’t look good.
But hold on, for those who like a happy ending, here it comes….
So, the Therapist asks all the necessary questions, all medical history and prescribes a little movement and some dietary changes. The most significant turn around is that the therapists informs our guy that the MRI scan is “normal”.
“Normal?” he asks. “How on earth can you say that my spine is normal?”
The Therapist responds “90% of MRI’s will show some wear and tear, prolapsed discs etc. Only in 5% of cases are there any significant changes that continue to cause pain. I’m looking at your MRI result and it look pretty normal to me.”
The brain, in all its wonderful glory had, in Star Wars terms, “Activated it Shields” and it was those shields that were ironically, the problem. Stopping him from bending, lifting, walking, basically living his life.
What’s the point?!?
There’s a very simple point. What is shown on an MRI isn’t necessarily the reason you have pain and in some cases being told you have “Issues in your tissues” can actually be a significant contributing factor which causes pain.
Our Guy? Well, now hes back to his gardening and to his life. He started to understand his pain, understand his capabilities and understand his triggers. “Shields down”.
Understanding your pain is key.
Until next time