If you have ever fucked up your back, you know exactly what I'm talking about and I need go no further. For the rest of you, imagine the worst pain you ever had. Then spread it throughout your body for several hours per day. At least.
I get up and on a good day, have about 4 hours before the pain kicks in. On a bad day, it already hurts when I get out of bed, and just gets worse and worse for every hour that I spend vertical.
I know the things that aggravate it:
* Stupid bucket-shaped bus seats. Old buses, with the two person bench style of seat are ok, because the backrest is vertical. Most new buses, with single person seats, have the backrest leaning back at an angle and curved. This is completely awful for anyone who has a bad back, because the backrests have next-to-no support in them anyway, and then for me personally the curving is such that the seats curve out where I curve in and vice versa! 20 minutes on one of those is enough to induce pain that continues for the rest of the day.
The new 85 earns the distinction of being the most disabled-accessible bus I've ever travelled on. As well as its large number of sensibly-positioned bright-coloured handrails, accessible to users of any height, and sliding doors, it has single-person seats with an upright, supportive backrest. Halle-bloody-lujah. Now to get all the other buses to throw their bucket-shaped seats away. Huh. Like that'll happen.
* Carrying too much stuff. Even though I carefully carry $stuff in a backpack which distributes the weight evenly across my back, carrying more than quite literally my diary, pencil case and a bottle of water is too much. I, unfortunately, am in a position where I frequently need to carry vast quantities of books across London.
I like taking the bus rather than driving - I like the fact that I am behaving in a way that is better for the environment, that I get some exercise, that I don't have to worry about finding parking, and that I can relax and play Pokemon or make phone calls inbetween students rather than having to focus on the road in the rush hour. But if I don't figure out some way to reduce the number of books I have to carry or persuade more of my students to come to the house, I'll have to drive. And waste like £1200 a year on taxing and insuring and paying for a parking space for a car.
* Bras that are too tight. Sadly, another thing I can't do anything about at the moment. BHS've stopped making the bra I wear, and it's almost impossible to get non-underwired bras in DD cups that aren't sports bras (I don't actually want compression 12 hours a day) or nursing bras (am far too childfree to consider tempting fate by wearing one of those). Added to which you have the problems of latex and/or non-specified elastane (I never did write my rant about shopping with allergies, did I?), and the fact that lace - any lace - on underwear brings me up in a rash. Besides, bad back pain days are probably the worst possible time to be trying to drag your arse around every single women's clothes shop you can find on a wild goose chase.
* Reaching for things that I can't quite reach, twisting unexpectedly, and/or changing position too often without checking that my back is moving smoothly, vertebra by vertebra. My back started being a nuisance again about the time my asthma inhaler got changed to something where I need to gargle afterwards, else I have thrush in my throat within hours. I've figured out how to gargle lying down, but my back is now fucked again.
I'm not sure what the worst thing about back pain is. One of the worst things is that it affects your ability to do just about anything - even lying flat on your back is uncomfortable. Another is that the pain refers (i.e. moves) to other parts of your body - so I currently have pain in my entire upper torso, ribs as well as back. On a really bad day, it travels down and becomes shooting pains in my legs. Another is that it doesn't really get touched by standard painkillers. The only over-the-counter painkiller I can take is paracetamol, and it does NOTHING for back pain. Another is that chronic pain is very distracting and affects your ability to concentrate.
What can I do about it? Um... Considering going to the doctor, but I'm not sure they can do much. Physiotherapist'd probably be better, but I already know the exercises I'm supposed to do to keep my back in good working order (whether I do them or not is another matter...). Chiropractor? Um... I really don't trust anyone enough when it comes to my spine and the great knot in it (I don't even like backrubs from friends). The only thing I can think of (bar stress-reducers like reducing the number of books I carry and insisting more of my students come to my house) is to buy a bloody TENS machine again. I'm pissed off, because I did own a perfectly good one and my parents lost it inamongst their piles of crap. And I'm worried, because latex allergy means I'm almost certainly allergic to the self-adhesive electrodes, and I can't put the non-self-adhesive ones on myself. It would add a lot of time to each day to have to have someone else stick them on. And I'm not even sure what I could stick them on with, because micropore tape is latex-y and the only non-latex self-adhesive stuff I've seen in the shops are the crappy "Sensitive Strip" plasters I buy which certainly wouldn't be able to support something of the weight of the electrodes.
Yes, I know 90% of these concerns can probably be dispelled by ringing up the company and asking them, but that takes mental energy I just don't have at the moment.
Moan moan moan bloody moan.
Going to lie down again now. Dunno when any of the photocopying I have to do will get done :/