Pain in the back
Carrie Linder tries to find relief for pregnancy back agony.
(Getty Images)
I have a sore back. No, that doesn’t quite do the pain justice. Stubbing your toe is sore. Having a bikini wax is sore. This backache is in a league of its own. It’s excruciating. That word goes some way to describe the pain in the middle of my back that causes my eyes to involuntarily well up with tears if I sit for longer than 20 minutes.

I am about to have a baby, and from what I’ve heard, labour pain takes the cake. So I’ve been chiding myself for not coping with trifling backache when I’m about to experience labour. Up until now, I’ve been doing well to just grimace and bear it. But damnit!

Labour is, what, two days long? I’ve had backache for 34 long weeks. That’s 238 days of pain! Enough already. I get out the yellow pages and book an appointment with a physiotherapist.

The physio’s wife escorts me through. The physio asks me to explain the pain. I do. He says it sounds like a text book case of referred pain made worse by the weight of my belly. Uh huh, I nod encouragingly hoping we’re through with talking and can get to the actual massage bit. But he wants to talk about it some more.

And some more. I start to feel like a teenage boy on a third date. I want to skip to the touching bit; my date just wants to talk. After much, much more talking, he finally lets me lie down on that glorious table with the hole in the middle for my pregnant belly. Aaaaah bliss. He runs his hand down my spine to check the curvature or something, then asks me to get up.

“Huh? Excuse me? You haven’t massaged me yet?” I’m confused.

Apparently he’s only going to assess my pain, not work on it. “No! There has clearly been a misunderstanding, I don’t want to get up. I want to lie here! Please, PLEASE! Touch my back! Touch it now!”

I can hear the desperation in my voice. His wife nervously clears her throat from the reception room. He informs me that this session is for him to diagnose me.

“What? I’m paying R300 for a diagnosis? I diagnosed myself 238 days ago: I have excruciating back ache. I came here for a miracle cure! At lease try and fix me!”

Suddenly Mr Chatty has run out of words. I leave dejectedly. But not before he tries to sell me some over-priced granny cushion. His wife tries to book me in for another appointment. I told her I’m saving the next R300 for a proper massage. She warned me that massage can bring on early labour. Well, here’s hoping.

Did you suffer back pain when you were pregnant? How did you treat it?

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