He was coming to see me because he had hurt his back. He was a delivery truck driver and had tried to pull a pallet load of something that was too heavy. Whatever it was escapes me now.
Anyway, he was in the clinic, laying face down on the treatment table. I was prodding his mid back trying to figure out and isolate the point that was giving him most, if not all, of his pain.
As I palpated (that’s the technical term for “prod”) along side his spine, he burst into laughter. You know, the kind of thing where your daydreaming and you suddenly remember a joke that you heard before. The problem was that no one had told a joke.
I asked him what he was laughing about. He told me that that’s where the pain was.
So, I went back over the same spot. And, he laughed again. I asked him, ” Are you sure that this is where it hurts?” and he said, “Yes”.
I had to asking again, “so, why are you laughing?”
And he said, “I don’t know. I just laugh when something hurts me”. Naturally I didn’t believe him until I kept pressing the same spot over and over again.
He just kept laughing and laughing. And, he didn’t tell me to stop. That is until I put a little extra pressure on it (but he was still laughing. Sort of like I was tickling him).
I told him that he was wasting his time driving a truck. He needed to go into Mixed Martial Arts or something like that. I told him his opponents would never know when to stop hitting him because he would always be laughing at him.
True story. (disclaimer: the person in the photo IS NOT the person in the story)
So, what’s your pain like? Where does it start? How long does it last? Share in the comments section if you don’t mind.
Some people have vivid descriptions. Then others have not so vivid descriptions. But, however you describe your pain is important. Accurate pain descriptions will tell your doctor, chiropractor, or, physical therapist a lot about what may be going on with you.
Now, if you’ve read some of the other articles here, you’ll have read that most back pain is due to muscle strains and the like. But there are other things that can cause your back to hurt.
Most of the time muscular pain can feel like an “ache” that increases with certain movements. And, it may become “sharp” with those movements. But, most of the time, it just stays in the same area. It doesn’t travel around.
On the other hand, if a nerve is irritated, it could feel like an “electric shock”, or, a “buzzing” (at least this is how some have described it).
The general difference between a nerve pain and muscular pain is that the nerve pain usually has a “shooting” quality to it. It travels up or down the leg and into the hip or back.
Sometimes your back or leg may feel like it’s “going to sleep”. Some describe this as “pins and needles”. This sensation could mean a few different things.
But, along with the sensation, it’s important that you describe where the pain is located. In the back, on the hip, down the side of the leg, down the back of the leg, etc.
Describing the location, along with how it feels is very important. You might want to consider keeping a journal about it.
But, what’s also important is talking with others about it too.
Take the time and leave a comment describing your situation. Get a conversation going on.
photo credits: Carnage at the Creek 6 © by KellBailey