Friday, October 23, 2015

Living with pain

It all started a year ago; during the rainy season. It had rained continuously for couple of days making everything wet and roads rather slippery. Feeling uneasy for having missed my morning walks, I decided to compensate it by walking for half an hour in the hall indoors. Since the floor was quite cold, I put on some brand new sandals and started walking. This went on for a week or so and I felt happy for not having missed my daily walks after all. It was then that I first experienced a sharp stab of pain, that seemed to originate from the sole of one of my feet; from the Plantar  fasciitis area. The pain was so sharp that I had to do something. I checked on internet and bought some arch supports for me. For next few weeks, I tried different permutations and combinations, yet the pain would not go, whenever I started walking.

I had planned much earlier to go on an excursion for a day, where some serious hill climbing was involved and could not cancel it now. I decided to go ahead. During travel, I realized that my foot, that was paining so far when I walked, was paining now even while I sat in the bus. I tried everything, the knee and ankle caps, bandages, nothing seemed to work. Walking was becoming more and more difficult and I could not even sit comfortably on a couch. Slowly but steadily, the pain seemed to increase day by day. I was not able to stand erect even for more than a few seconds. Daily chores like brushing my teeth, shaving and bathing became daily encounters with pain. I consulted my physician, who gave me medicines and suggested some exercises, which I started to do regularly.

It was however the time, when my trip to northeast, planned much earlier with a major financial commitment, was due. Not going along meant, not only a big financial loss but also a loss of a major opportunity to travel there, which might not come my way easily again. I decided to travel and mercifully came back with no further deterioration in my condition. Yet, the pain was affecting everything now; I could not sit properly or stand. Even sleeping posture became so critical that sometimes I awoke in the middle of the night, with an excruciating pain. Working on a computer became a torture. Even a short visit to a coffee house for a cup of coffee became a dreadful adventure in pain land. Driving a car became another painful experience. I was lost and just did not know where or what the cure was for my pain? It was perhaps my darkest hour. The pain seemed to have become my constant companion. I started feeling very depressed with the thought that I might have become an invalid for rest of my life, though physically nothing was wrong with my legs or feet. 

My savior came visiting early spring, in form of a short and stocky Physiotherapist. She, after examining me, asked to get immediately an X-ray for my lower back. I was rather surprised, but got it done. When the image came; bingo! The root cause of my suffering was there in form of a black and white image. It appeared from the X-ray image that the lowest of lumber vertebra (L5) had moved to front, very slightly in relation to the sacrum vertebra and was pinching a nerve, whenever I stood, walked or sat down. I was glad that the diagnosis was done, yet that would not relieve me from the pain.

The Physiotherapist suggested that the only cure for such conditions is to start proper exercises. It was a correct proposition no doubt, but with my physical condition, where I could not even cross my legs, doing any exercises was almost an impossible task, as the pain would become unimaginably sharp and unbearable. Neurological or Neural pain is something that cannot be described, one has to experience it. It is so sharp that it can instantly bring tears in your eyes.

Yet my Physiotherapist had a cure up her sleeve. She suggested that I should undergo a course of Acupuncture sessions over next two weeks. I was bit suspicious about her suggestion first. I had read that it was an ancient Chinese practice and was not sure how effectively it would be administered here in Pune, India, and by whom? My Physiotherapist however put my mind to rest, when she told me that she herself would do it and she has all the requisite credentials.
We thus began the sessions, where she would insert very thin steel needles under the skin at points, which have been found by ancient Chinese to be very effective in management of pain. The needles would be inserted at the points starting from my hip to toes and would remain there for 20 minutes. Within next couple of days, I found that the intensity of pain was gradually reducing. It was then that the Physiotherapist came up with her strict regime of exercises. Each session lasting for 35 to 40 minutes, to be done 3 times every day. It used to be painful and hurt a lot, but I somehow managed to continue.

Simultaneously, she asked me to start wearing a sacro-lumber support belt, while walking and use pillows at the back while driving and sitting in a chair. The Acupressure treatment went on for fourteen sessions and then we stopped it. The strict exercise regime continued for next two months before tapering to twice and then once a day. By end of summer, I was much better and could manage things without much pain, though I had not yet tried taking daily walks.

It was then; I decided to take my yearly trip to Singapore. My exercise regime however continued uninterrupted. I also ventured out on daily walks. Slowly but surely things improved. In Singapore, I also borrowed a few books from the local library about the technique that is known as Acupressure, where instead of inserting needles, pressure is put on the points with thumb or fingers. After practicing, I found the technique simple but quite effective in management of pain.

Today, after more than a year has passed since I first experienced the Neurological pain, originating from my spine, I am more or less back to my old days. The pain is almost gone. If occasionally it shows up, I can control it with simple Acupressure techniques. My living with pain for more than a year, has taught me lot. I no longer wear a belt. Walking, standing up firmly and erect, sitting comfortable, even sleeping in any posture I want, but without any pain, have become joyous occasions for me. Inability to work on computers for a lengthy session had almost brought an end to my blog writing. I must admit that I missed my blog Akshardool a lot during last six months. It is a pleasure to be with you; dear readers; once again!

23rd October 2015


  1. Good to see you back.its interesting to know how you got the cure. I have Similar pain for years now and nothing has really cured it. I am glad to found right help at right time :)

  2. Glad to see u in action again. Missed your erudite posts.

    Wishing you sanguine health in the years ahead.

  3. Your own experience of acupuncture recalls my visit to Ambejogai in 1999, where we met Dr. Lohia, who invited us to his clinic. When we visited there, he treating one old farmer inserting a number of needles.

    There is one more memorable incident. In 2006, My wife got an attack of severe back pain and our family doctor called it as Sciatica. He had only remedy such as pain killers. How long you would take those tabs? Hence we consulted local naturopath Dr. Pallav Laktharia in Mahim, Mumbai. He suggested acupuncture treatment - 10 sessions and thereafter some stretching exercises. Her pain slowly started reducing and now though she religiously does those exercises, she is highly fit without any back pain.
    Mangesh Nabar

  4. एक वर्षाच्या प्रदीर्घ आजारातून पूर्णत: बरे होऊन अक्षरधूळ वर नव्या उत्साहाने पुन: श्च हरीॐ केलेले पाहून आनंद वाटला.