Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lower Back Pain: The Critical Mom's Guide (Aging, Part Three)

It's not the kind of lower back pain that comes from sitting too long on a flight, or slumping too long in front of your computer, or testing the elasticity of your spine with a paunch, although it might as well be according to your owl-eyed primary care doctor, who is looking at the age written on the piece of paper in front of her and not at you.  You want her to sign a piece of paper that lets your insurance company pay for massage, and she wants to send you to the orthopedist, and hands you a piece of paper for that (Germans will know it as an Überweisung, namely the free ticket to the doctor of your choice.) If you bypass the free ticket you have to pay at least ten euros, but time is money and it all evens out.
You tell the doctor the pain comes from a false step made during tap dance practice or maybe ballet, but when you say that what she visualizes is the kind of smooth swaying to belly-dance music supporting your inner child having a hot flash.  What I mean is we have a performance in two weeks but that sounds embarrassing coming from a 55-year-old so I don't say it.  
I leave with the useless Überweisung stuck into a book where I won't lose it and get the name of a masseur from another woman in my ballet class.  The masseur does the local ballet company so he knows which end is up.  Only I don't.  I go in there expecting gentle kneading and new age music and he looks me over and says, "Well, could do massage but you have a lot of blocks and nothing's gonna work till we get rid of those."  And instead of gentle kneading I'm being thrown around like a hunk of pizza dough and (with my hands around my neck and one bent knee pulled up to my chest while I'm lying on one side) am suddenly making the kind of despairing groan you'd make if a ten-ton ceiling caved in on you suddenly.  The 250 lb. (113 kilos) masseur is throwing his full weight on top of me, while training that knee in the direction of the floor.  
"Hurrrghhh!" I grunt. "Urkkkkahh!"  I hear my spine crack pleasantly, several times.  Then he flips me over before I know what the heck is going on--same procedure as other side.  Then I'm back on my stomach with a warming gel-filled pack over most of my back and some advice to "you know, lie there, sleep a little bit, move around."  And he's out the door.  His technique is spectacular:  he goes for the jugular with no warning so that you don't tense up.  I didn't know what hit me.  Until the next day when the cure seemed worse than the disease.  Every muscle in my back ached, not just the ones that had come in for treatment.  Leaning forward made me gasp.  Getting the children breakfast made this 104-year-old granny crabbier than ever.  But then a few more little crackly sounds came from my spine and I lay down for a few minutes and now my back feels almost normal again.  I'm going back for another round with my torturer next week and assume that within two or three sessions I'll be cured.  At thirty euros a shot, that ain't bad.  Leave me a comment and I'll give you his number.  He's handsome, too.


  1. Cure For Back Pain Sydney Cbd is one of the best clinic in sydney treat back pain. We treat our patient in different way.

    1. Just looked you up--acupuncture is great and I'd highly recommend it. If I'm ever in Sydney I'll look you up.