You will need surgery in a few years!

A few weeks a go I had the pleasure of meeting a 20-year-old lady, her complaint was lower back pain, which was ongoing for nearly 2 years. Before her onset of back pain she enjoyed her work and playing football for her local club. She recalls never hurting her back or any incident that may be contributing to her pain.

She decided to go to her local GP and he requested an MRI to find out if there was anything “not right” in her spine. The results came back and she was referred to a specialist, as surgery may be necessary. Upon meeting the surgeon he was able to tell from “reading” the MRI that her disc was bulging and her back looked like a 60 year old. His advice was to rest, give up sport and all activities and 1 month off work as this is “very unusual” to have back pain at 18 years of age. Unfortunately her 1-month turned into nearly 2 years off work. Her pain remained, her stress and worry increased. She was afraid to use her back during movement simply because the surgeon warned her to mind it or “she will need surgery in the coming years”. Her parents also were worried and believed everything that the surgeon told them. Is that not what we do? Believe in someone who has years of experience and qualifications, surely they must be giving us the best advice for our health and happiness going forward? In this case and in many I see everyday, NO is the answer. No one can tell the future, no one.

During her appointment with me I asked her what were her concerns and we worked off that for the time she was with me. We talked for nearly 40 min regards what she thinks and believes what might be going on and what she would be doing if the pain were not in her life. We talked regards how this has socially interrupted her life, playing football matches etc. She had so many emotions and confusing as you can imagine, the not knowing of what’s wrong or might be wrong!

I asked her to pick up objects that I left on the floor and hand them to me and she communicated to me how what she was experiencing in her body. She had no pain complaint what so ever during the time with me, none. I asked her where is the pain? She smiled and replied, “There is none”. We carried on doing simple everyday movements and then expanded to full body movements bringing awareness, confidence, happiness and I suppose re introducing her back to her body again that she was felt was “broken”

It then became obvious to her and her mother who was also there that her surgeon words were not helpful, in fact with all the labels he put on her it was very much at play regards her symptoms, behaviours, beliefs, fears etc.

I received my second e mail from her today. She is back training and working and her symptoms have decided to remain away. She is enjoying doing her movement activates each day that I emailed her and she is looking forward to the future.

A you can read we did very little “physical” therapy. It was more about this young lady experiencing movements that she thought she could never do again. She was clearly distressed and moving showed her that she has the ability to help herself remove any disability that she was labelled as having.

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