I found out recently and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. My partner, Jas, has recently experienced the extremely painful result of cumulative poor upper back posture. He had what is known as kyphosis (very round shoulders) and it had steadily been growing worse and worse over the last few years
Previously Jas has taken part in Pilates classes and been my guinea pig for case studies for my exams but over the last few years as I became more and more busy with my classes it was often up to him to support the classes by looking after our horses or cooking our evening meal. At the same time he was working very hard at a desk bound IT job and also going through a bad patch at work and his stress levels became very high. His poor posture had not gone unnoticed and I often nagged him but he simply didn’t have the time to do anything about it. We were both guilty of assuming that all would be ok, we were busy and buried our heads in the sand.
Towards the end of February one morning before work he started complaining of upper back pain, he had to continue working or so we thought, so he took ibuprofen and carried on, this later turned out to be a big mistake. Within a few days he was writhing in agony. I have not seen anyone in so much pain in my entire life before. Alarmingly for me the pain was down his left arm. He couldn’t sleep, sit, he wasn’t fit to do anything.
We tried to be proactive and he saw a physiotherapist, then his GP who prescribed painkillers and later stronger painkillers and strong anti inflammatory relief. He switched to a recommended osteopath. The osteopathy gave relief initially but when no progress had been made by the third appointment he was referred to a consultant who injected steroids into the spinal column. This treatment only eased the pain for two days and he was back to square one. The consensus of opinion was a slipped cervical disc, this could not be diagnosed for sure without an MRI and there was a waiting list,but going by the fact that the pain was in the bicep area, and numbness in the thumb, it was likely to be the disc between C5 andC6.
The GP now started suggesting surgery and I was devastated and so very worried. Jas by now had lost a lot of weight, was feeling dependent on the pain relief and just struggled through the day at home appearing to be in a haze. In the meantime both of our horses became ill (I wasn’t having a great month!) and while driving along musing on Blue, our rehabilitated TB who had not responded to conventional physiotherapy I had a light bulb moment! I remembered that Emily Graham our Equine McTimoney chiropractor had mentioned a very good local human McTimoney practitioner. I made an appointment for Jas with Richard McMillan and he allowed me to sit in, he appreciated that I had some anatomical knowledge and described which muscle groups he was working on so I was able to be a part of helping Jas. This was 21st March with his second session the following week. At the second session we were given the all clear to start Pilates exercises which I started very slowly with very few repetitions, adding an exercise every two or three days. By now Jas was experiencing bad side effects from the painkillers. He soon weaned himself off the painkillers and apart from one slip up when he felt good and did a little too much resulting in a third McTimoney session things got slowly and steadily better. I am pleased to say that at the time of writing Jas is now in his third week back at work.
The Pilates exercises that I set for him included chicken wings, dumb waiter, dumb waiter with resistance, arm openings, an infraspinatus exercise, chest stretch, “swimming” and the dart. Jas has been extremely diligent and stuck rigidly to the exercise program. His posture has improved immensely, he looks younger for it, and I am proud of how he has turned things around. Very proud.
Surgery would have carried the chance of permanent paralysis and the entry would have been through the throat. I feel that we are so lucky to have had the help of such a wonderful practitioner, the right people (and horse, thank you Blue) to be able to help him. Hurrah for McTimoney! And Well done Jas J