A LOVELY INTERVIEW WITH NICHOLA ADAMS AND A NOD TO MY BLOGGING FRIENDS…

Health Ergonomist Nichola Adams, from Inspired Ergonomics very kindly asked me to share my Back Pain and blogging journey on her Blogs and Back Chat Video Series. They specialise in reducing and preventing Back Pain in the Workplace. I have copied you interview below and thank Nichola once again for this opportunity.

My 38-year journey with back pain

(… and how the ‘therapeutic’ writing of blogs, like this one, should be recommended by the NHS for chronic-pain management)

By Barbara McLullich, multi-award-winning UK back-pain blogger

Back in 1983, when I was in my late 20s, I ended up in hospital on traction for a disc bulge. I left hospital no better and with permanent nerve damage to one of my legs. Over the following five years I visited osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists who all tried their best to correct my significant trunk shift.

Eventually I was seen by a neurosurgeon who found I had Spina bifida occulta, disc herniation and canal stenosis and I was advised to have surgery sooner rather than later. The timing could not have been worse as I had just relocated from Cheshire, where all my family lived, to Nottingham for a job move for my husband.

My children were aged four and seven and the recovery was slow and at times extremely difficult, but somehow I got through it. Two years later I started to develop problems with neck pain and, after a myleogram showed serious cord compression and another prolapsed disc, I was rushed in for emergency surgery. I had a two-level fusion in my neck and the pain relief was instant and recovery very quick, but I was never completely without pain.

The following nine years were a haze of good and bad days seeing various people from complimentary therapies to pain consultants. I also ran a couple of my own businesses, but I had to close them both due to my health. I told myself that my businesses had not failed, but that it was my own health that had failed me. It was far from life-threatening, just life-changing.

By the late 90s I was prepared to try anything to help with my pain and I underwent two further spinal surgeries to my neck and lumber spine in a bid to get pain-free. Unfortunately this didn’t do the trick, so I made a conscious decision that I would never have any further surgery.

Pain relief from then on was initially injections until one went badly wrong and nearly killed me. It was quite a while after that incident before I could even put my foot through any hospital door, but eventually I went to see an amazing pain consultant who seemed to take me under his wing and cared for me, treating me with different types of injections, medications and therapies available to me on the NHS.

I kept many a diary over the years and it was reading through them one day that gave me the idea to start writing a blog on my back problem. I think initially it was an escape route where I could go and chat to other people with similar problems. I decided to learn all I could about pain management and I took a home study course and started blogging more regularly. My blog was growing from strength to strength and I started winning awards for it, which for someone who only left school with two GCSEs was quite an achievement.

I started to write a few other blogs and they became part of my everyday life. Being able to write anywhere and at any time fitted in with my pain perfectly. I have made so many friends from all over the world through my blogging. I’ve met people like myself in chronic pain, I’ve tried different products that have helped with pain relief and been introduced to many supportive individuals, like health ergonomist Nichola Adams, to whom I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story.

To me, blogging is like travelling the world without leaving your house. I think it should be included in the NHS list of how to cope with chronic pain. I have found writing my blogs very therapeutic. If anyone reading this would like to follow me, or join in any conversations on my posts, then please head over to my main site https://backpainbloguk.com or my personal website https://barbaramclullich.co.uk as this site also has all my other blog posts on it and they both have links to all my media sites.

Thank you and, whatever journey you are on, whether you’re managing your own back-pain issues or just learning how best to avoid the risk of back injury, at work or at home, I wish you well.

Barbara

TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR HIPS HAPPY AND FREE OF PAIN…

Did you know that according to Prima Magazine one in four women aged 40-60 suffers from hip pain? Well, I’m over the age 60 bracket and still suffer from hip pain, some of which I think is Fibro related and also my back and posture.

Posture they say is one of the most important things to remember to avoid hip pain. They say that it is a well-known fact that hip pain is age-related and mainly in women which are caused by damage or struggling gluteal tendons, which attach the muscle to the bone. The NHS points out that most cases of hip pain in adults that are treated with surgery are caused by osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

Less commonly, hip pain may be caused by:

  • the bones of the hip rubbing together because they’re abnormally shaped (femoroacetabular impingement)
  • a tear in the ring of cartilage surrounding the socket of the hip joint (a hip labral tear)
  • the hip joint is the wrong shape or the hip socket is not in the correct position to completely cover and support the top of the leg bone (hip dysplasia)
  • hip fracture – this will cause sudden hip pain and is more common in older people with weaker bones
  • an infection in the bone or joint, such as septic arthritis or osteomyelitis – see a GP immediately if you have hip pain and fever
  • reduced blood flow to the hip joint, causing the bone to break down (osteonecrosis)
  • inflammation and swelling of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) over your hip joint (bursitis)
  • hamstring injury
  • an inflamed ligament in the thigh, often caused by too much running – this is known as iliotibial band syndrome and is treated with rest (read more about sprains and strains)

Of course, there are things that you can do at home to help with your hip pain including posture which I mentioned above as well as losing weight if necessary, physiotherapy with personally tailored exercises plus changing behavior, in particular, minimizing crossing legs to reduce pressure on hip tendons. This is something I have a terrible habit of doing but I always say its because I am short and do not feel comfortable with my legs just hanging down.

Not smoking is an obvious point as this can impact bone health. A well-balanced diet, six-eight hours sleep if possible, and the right amount of exercise as shown on the NHS Live Well Exercise Website. If you have painful hips you should avoid hills and stairs. Walk with your feet wider and use the handrail when you do go upstairs as this lessens the pressure on your tendons. If lying on your side is painful then place pillows between your knees and ankles to keep hips square or lie on your back with a pillow under your knees. There are a number of cushions supports on the market now perfect for these positions.

They also suggest that sleeping on a memory foam or mattress topper will help as softer bedding lessens the pressure from your hips. And for new Mums looking into the future do not hold your baby on your hip (use a sling or a carrier) as putting all the weight on one hip causes undue stress and means your other hip has to work really hard to support your pelvis. Finally keeping as fit as possible is a must which during the recent Covid-19 Virus it has made it difficult for us all to do what we normally do. On the Prima website, they have 6 at-home exercises you can do without equipment. If you can only manage one of them it is better than none at all, but please remember to take it carefully if you have not done any of these before.