In my seemingly never-ending quest to conquer/lessen/tolerate the back pain I’ve been experiencing for more than a year, I’ve tried many things. Rest, exercise, back braces, pills, tinctures, herbal patches, chiropractic cracking, even sleeping without a mattress for the last 10 months. (As an aside, no, the pain hasn’t gone away, and yes, I would welcome any medical professionals who would tell me what the problem is and fix it.)
One of the latest experiments was one my husband suggested and bought for me.
This speedbump-esque thing plugs in, and when a person lays on it, the silver parts heat up and tiny electric currents stimulate the muscles, which are supposed to help strengthen them, I think.
I was skeptical when he arrived home with it a few months ago, but in the spirit of desperately trying anything to get rid of this pain, I gave it a go.
“What do I need to do?” I asked him.
“Just lie on the machine with your head going this way and use this remote to control how high you want the setting. Take your sweater off, but leave your T-shirt on so it doesn’t burn you,” he replied.
Other than the heat, I didn’t feel very much from these supposed electric currents. Did it do much of anything for my back? Not noticeably, but it did help to stretch the muscles out, and the heat sure felt nice during those early spring days (you know the ones – after they shut off our building heat but before the weather is actually nice).
Obediently, I continued to use this machine every night for a number of weeks(hey, it’s a good way to relax and do nothing for half an hour each night, if nothing else), taking a break for a few days when my husband ordered. Once in a while, I would voice my concern about not really being able to feel anything while using it, or any real effects, but I was almost always silenced with “Not everything has to hurt to do something, you know!” (This coming from a man whose culture believes that medicine is not effective unless it tastes horrendous).
Then one day, my husband decided that he should read the instructions. I know, I don’t know what brought it on either, but it happened. He came to that conclusion all by himself. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. Male egos and such.
So anyway, it turns out, I shouldn’t have been wearing my T-shirt at all – skin should be in direct contact with those silver areas (I wanted to say, “It’s sure interesting what one can learn by reading instructions, isn’t it?!” but I bit my tongue).
Well, now that machine felt like it might be trying to accomplish something! The currents are pretty low – just enough to make the muscles vibrate – and I still don’t notice much in the way of measurable relief from the pain, but that may also be because none of the contact points are located anywhere near where I have the most pain in my back and hips. But at least we’ve got some kind of action going on!
And after nearly a year of my husband being respectfully doubtful of the amount of pain I’ve been enduring and trying to smile through (that’s right, dear, the gig is up. I knew), I think he’s finally caught on. Why do I think that?
Because he has used this machine a few times as well when his back is feeling sore and achy. And he sets the intensity level around 10, seeming uncomfortable the entire time. In fact, he lets out a long, relieved “Whew!” when the session finally times out.
But when I use it? At level 10, I can barely feel a tickle. Want to guess what level I use? Go ahead.
On average, I set it at level 25, and lately even up to 30, and it feels comfortable for me.
My husband no longer makes any faces or remarks about my pain tolerance being low, that’s for sure. One for my win column – now if I could just figure out the back pain!