Somewhere between bathroom mirrors and indoor plants in Ikea, Irfan and I discovered chairs. (Irfan was a DJ in Manchester with a penchant for interior design). After much heated discussion, dime bar cakes and free ikea ‘family card’ coffee, we decided on the black garden chairs with the arm rests – partly because they fitted in with Irfan’s ‘vision’ for the décor in my waiting room (it was my very first clinic – very exciting), but mainly because they had ergonomically designed backs and bottoms that would provide my patients with enough pain relief to keep them from shouting at my poor receptionist Shirley, who spent her life fending off grumpy patients in pain.
After all this effort, imagine my dismay when I opened my treatment room door the following week to find my next patient standing, not sitting in THE CHAIRS.
‘Hector’ (why not?!) came into my treatment room, and refused my offer of a chair.
It was too much to take.
“Is there somthing wrong with the chairs?” I asked (genuinely concerned that perhaps the chairs were not comfortable & trying not to appear like a paranoid woman ridiculously attached to her great chair choice).
“No not at all” he replied. “they are lovely chairs Coby. I just haven’t sat down for 20 years”.
After choking on my Starbucks Latte and wondering if I should throw the crazed man out right there, he continued with his genuine and heart rending story of his 20 year battle with un-explained, un-diagnosed lower back pain.
He described a life of having to eat his dinner on an inflatable exercise ball, and eat in under 15 minutes so he could stand up before the pain got too bad.
It was his wife who really pulled at my heart strings – she had dragged him into my office because whilst she was happy to accept that fact that for 20 years their restaurant choices had been based on the softness of the chairs rather than the food options, they had recently decided to purchase a new car and were having to decide based on the chairs, not the engine size, fuel efficiency… all the usual reasons for choosing a car. It was all too much for her and she decided, as a last resort, to turn to an osteopath.
I was just happy that there was nothing wrong with my chairs.
After that it was all plain sailing for me. Nothing could be worse than my patients not liking the black chairs, so as his wife lounged comfortably everything was good.
On assessment I found an extreme muscle imbalance through his core and movement muscles, resulting in concrete-resembling muscles in his low back and gluteals (bum cheeks).
I often find that the most extreme cases of back pain are the simplest to resolve, and those that have been around the longest respond the quickest. It’s all about rebalancing muscles in the back that are doing the wrong jobs.
Hector had been a JCB driver, (before taking early retirement due to no longer being able to sit in the JCB cab). He was signed off, and put through the usual process of scans and blood tests etc…to no avail.
My diagnosis was that it seems the vibration of the cab had slowly tightened his back and bottom muscles to the point where he was just in complete agony with……tight muscles.
A few treatments of elbowing the muscles into submission and a yoga program to rebalance his back muscles and maintain the results and Hector was pain free and eating dinner on a normal chair.
I regularly remember this case to motivate me to keep writing and keep putting out yoga programs, because so many people are suffering uneccesarily.