My back pain journey.

Yes, my trousers are stuck around my ankles.

Not a glamour shot by any means but the reality of my current situation.

I have a dodgy back.

I’ve struggled with a weak back from teens. There was a car crash and untreated whiplash at 13 which probably contributed.

Then immediately after my wedding I really struggled with all sorts of pains and went to see every type of treatment going.

Then I fell pregnant with my first child. The pains were worse, excruciating sciatica. I couldn’t take pain meds and I couldn’t have the MRI I badly needed.

Post baby, eventually, I had my scans and was told I had a pro-lapsed disc on L5 (low spine). Shortly after this I experience the most horrendous pain I’ve ever had, that saw me rolling around the floor through the night crying. I was told this may have been my disk imploding.

I was put immediately on morphine and had to stop breast feeding there and then.

I chose surgery. A discectomy. It was not chosen lightly ( a chance of paralysis) but the pain was crippling me daily and I had a new born. When she was 8 months old the prolapsed bit of my disc was removed. I wasn’t allowed to sit or lift for 6 weeks. But it worked! No more pain. I was joyous.

Two years later I had my second child. All was good, through pregnancy and birth. When he was about 11 months I started to suffer the pains again. A second MRI showed the same disc, what was left of it, had prolapsed again. There’s 5 % chance of this happening. I was offered surgery again but told that it would definitely lead to further issues later that would probably mean me needing my vertebrae fused together.

This combined with further 6 week recovery but now with two children left me feeling helpless.

I turned to Pilates. It changed my life.

It was no easy journey. I had one on one sessions for 3 months. I cried with frustration before every one: why should I have to pay out and work so hard in order just to not have pain in my back?!

But it worked. Slowly but surely my sciatica and lower back pain symptoms vanished.

It’s not all plain sailing. I have a weak back, and an emergency c section thrown in, there’s not a lot of strength in my core. But my third pregnancy was good; no pain and the easiest labour of all.

My back pain journey hadn’t ended though and sadly became more complicated by ….. The drugs!

I took a lot of meds at my worst with my back problems in the past; morphine patches are visible on me in my eldest’s baby pictures. There’s a whole year of my life that I have poor memory of.

But as I got better and with my new found Pilates I’ve suffered fewer and easier back aches. I didn’t need drugs.

However, one day post second baby and following a tooth extraction, I popped a voltarol. I went into anaphylactic shock. I nearly died.

My poor husband had the worst of it, calling an ambulance and watching people stab me and more on our sofa and then take me away to hospital.

There followed a couple of slightly less severe reactions that led to getting tested.

I had become allergic to all non-steroidal anti inflammatory (that’s anything from aspirin and up) drugs and codeine. This is a huge issue when suffering with any kind of muscular also make takes any medicine terribly frightening. I used to have to remind myself, after giving my child nurofen when Ill, not to lick my fingers, where it had dripped, for fear if the reaction.

Yesterday, going for meds, wasn’t an easy choice. I had the usual lengthy chat with a GP about what I can’t take. I was prescribed two things it was hoped would be ok. “But let’s not take them without an epi pen nearby” is the general and not so confidence inducing advice.

So what follows is a scary hour in which I warn my husband I’m taking some pills, we have the epi pen ready and I experience extreme panic. My heart races, I have hot flushes, my tongue dries up; none of these symptoms dissimilar to the beginnings of anaphylaxis. I have to talk to myself continuously to try and create calm and convince myself it’s ok.

Anyway, thankfully the drugs are working today and not killing me.

Today I can move a bit and the pain is easing.

Here’s to this incident of pain going. Here’s to getting back in the Pilates bandwagon and hopefully not experiencing this again.


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