This episode is entitled “Stress and lower back pain / sciatica”, and it features Mel Gladstone.

Mel experienced what she describes as two types of pain. Her old pain which she relates to an old karate injury.  And her new debilitating, exhausting pain, which occurred during one of the most stressful periods of her life.  The solution was to walk away from the biggest source of her stress…

I have a brief announcement during this time of Corona crisis. I want to do my bit to support the nation. That’s where I’m running free webinars in titled master your lower back pain / sciatica and regain your life. These will run every Monday evening. I’m limiting the numbers because otherwise the Q and a could get out of hand. I’ll include a link in the notes to this podcast in these webinars, I’ll be covering why does my pain keep coming back? Do exercises really help, and which ones are best for my pain? Why don’t drugs and manipulation work in the long run can made back actually be fixed. And how does stress make a difference along with a whole bunch of other questions you may have, and we’ll also have a lengthy Q and a at the end, it will be recorded.

Melanie Gladstone is a past patient of mine who has experienced considerable lower back pain / sciatica, she has a story to tell particularly about the connection between stress and pain, which I think will resonate with many of you. She is a fabulous communicator. It shouldn’t be a surprise as she’s a freelance communications consultant here in Edinburgh, who until 2019 run a communications and design agency. Here’s what one of her past clients had to say about male and natural born leader with grace under pressure laser-like eye for detail, uplifting personality, great man management, and best of all, a genuinely nice person, which I can certainly confirm.

I am, I just set up my own business at the beginning of February. I’m a freelance communications delivery consultant. I am prior to that, I spent 25 or 30 odd years. I can’t remember how many too many to remember, working in marketing and communications. I am over the past 10 years, I run the Scottish business, all of our communications and production company from who that would be stone sales. And I ran their Scottish business and their design agency. I am, and I did that up until November last year. So, spent all my career in sort of creative and marketing.

Yeah. Great. And as I said in my intro, we knew one another because, and I always stumble over this. I don’t, I never know whether people like being referred to as clients or patients, which do you prefer?

Well, I was one of your patients. I came to you as a patient and then I would probably say I’m new. I’m probably in one of your clients now.

We met through your lower back pain. I’m an osteopath, you came to consult me about your pain, but can you take us back to the beginning of that journey? So what was your first experience and when was that of lower back pain?

Yeah, many years ago saw I I’m 49. I hate to see that, but I am 49 I’m 50 this year. All my life I’ve always been really active. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t say sporty. I’m certainly not an athlete, but I’ve always been really active. I’ve always enjoyed keeping fit. And ever since I was a teenager, I’ve run. I used to run, run three, four times a week. I did quite a lot of half-marathons a lot of 10, 10 keys and I loved running them. It was never very fast and it was a very good, but it was something that I absolutely loved and did a lot of it. I also saw in my twenties to cup karate and I did, I did karate a lot. I used to train two or three times a week and it was, it was something again, I really, really enjoyed.

And also on top of that, I cycled a swam, did a couple of triathlons. I was always really fit and active. So around about 2004, It, early thirties, I had a sporting injury. I got injured in karate. I did a horrendous kick and I hurt my back. It was just sore. But in karate, you, all, you always had injured is you’re always hurting yourself. You always just go through them, but my back just started to it. It just never got better. It felt like a hot poker sticking through my back. It was just that really persistent ear that, in the mornings it wouldn’t be as bad. And by nighttime it was, it was to the point where sometimes I’d have to go home from work and I’d have to lie on the floor.

I couldn’t wait to get home to lie on the floor I am, but what I should really see as that source. So I would class myself as having to back beans. So that would, I would see as my normal back pain, I’ve had back pain since 2004, and it was the result of a sporting injury. And then I in sort of around about, October, 2017, am I got what I would class now as, as new pin am. And that was a very different type of pain. My normal pain was more of a, sort of a muscular, persistent, muscular ache that never seemed to go away. And then new pin in October started off as being more like a narrow VPN. And it went down the opposite side of my backs when normal pain is on my rate. And then this new pin ended up being sort of just going down my left hand side, lower back, cause sciatica went down into my leg. And it was, it was Quincy, it was debilitating. It affected me for quite a long time. It was there all the time and it really got me down.

There’s a lot to dig into. So, so what light to just explore a little bit with you is from 2004, up until the development of that new pain in 2017, how did your pain change over those months, years and so on?

This is where you come in. So for a long time it just got worse. It just never ever went away. It just got worse. I went to, I tried to get to the bottom of it. I went to doctors, I went to osteopaths, not you at that point in the early days, chiropractors physiotherapists, and everybody just kept seeing the same thing. It’s a sport injury. I was, I was very fit. The interesting thing was the pain never, ever stopped me from training. It stopped me from training as hard as I’d like to, but because it was always in the morning and I used to do all my, most of my training in the morning. It never really stopped me from stopping exercise and actual fat exercise seem to help. I am so sweaty. All the specialists that I saw, I used to just see it as a sporting injury, it’ll go away and it never ever went away.

And then, about two years later, so probably around about 2006, I did. And I, I sort of was quite persistent where the doctor and I, I asked to go and see a specialist. And that was when the took x-rays and an actual fact what had happened. The specialist said to me, there’s nothing wrong with your back at all. The desks look fine, everything looks healthy, or your muscles, everything look fine, but did you know that you had broken a snap to transverse process? And it looks like it’s about a two year old injury. That was, I was quite grateful that they could actually find something for that boy. Okay. I kind of was one of those ones going. I told you it was sore. I’ve been telling everybody it was sore, but it looks like the transplant process had, had, had healed and in a slightly skewed position, which means that the muscles on that side of my back that are attached to it are slightly shorter than the right, the left-hand side.

And I think that’s what gives me all the problems is that the muscle, there’s a little bit of muscle imbalance. And that’s what gives me, give me the problems in my box. So the pain, it doesn’t really change to be honest, Garvin, it’s just, it’s just muscular. It’s there, it’s an ear and it niggles, we, and sometimes it gets worse and sometimes I have to lay down and occasionally, and this is where I came to see you. Occasionally it would, it would go into a complete spasm. It would get to the point where it would go into a complete spasm. And it was during one of those spasms that I, I, I came to see you, your office is just around the corner from where my office used to be an Edinburgh. And at that point I was, I couldn’t walk very far. And I remember one day just walking into your office in a lot of pain asking, can you help me?

Do you still have that pain mail?

I do. Yes I do, but I manage it. I manage it very, very well. I didn’t it to start with the penis still there. mut I am I’ve I suppose I put this down to you and for the, what you did for me. So I was always looking for somebody to fix it. I was always looking for a cure. It was there. I was like everybody. I went to see and I, and I tried everything. I wanted a cure, it was looking for someone to make it better. And I think when I came to see you, you did make it better, but you really made me change my mindset. I am. And I’ll mention the cliff of pain here. And I don’t know. Do you want to, do you want to explain about what the cliff of penis, your analogy? Sure. I mean, for those who

Haven’t heard or listened to previous episodes, the observation I’ve had over the years is that most people’s experience of life and certainly pain is that if you can imagine a flat surface, we’re bumbling along through life, everything’s fine. Fine, fine, fine, fine. And then suddenly you fall off the edge of a cliff and find yourself in the sea of pain. And that’s, that’s really everybody’s experience of not just pain, but ill health, that everything seems fine. And then suddenly it isn’t. And then as you were very focused on at the time, male is trying to get back up onto that cliff top. And it’s all about trying to regain the clifftop rather than look at the bigger picture of, well, how did I get to that cliff edge in the first place? What are the, all those risk factors and so on and taking that preventative approach, but anyway, carry on.

Yeah. And it was the consultation I had with you where you explain that concept to me, I remember coming out of that consultation and it was like this, the penny had dropped, it was like a big light bulb moment going. Right. Okay. So I, it’s never going to go away. It’s always going to be there because it’s an injury that hasn’t healed properly. So now what I need to do is stop thinking, stop looking for a cure and actually manage it and try and manage it so that I get myself away from that cliff edge as much as possible possible. And that’s really how I manage it at the moment. So in answer to your question, is it still there? Yes, it is. But sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn’t and I have a completely different mindset and I ma I think I manage it really well now.

And that pain, that old pain that you still have to this day, can you put a number on, so we always like to quantify things that kind of scale of one to 10, where would you put that pain now, typically from day-to-day?

Well, that’s an interesting question. So it fluctuates and it fluctuates depending on what I’m doing. So if I’m spending the whole day sitting at my computer screen, then by the end of the day, it’s probably around a boat, a sort of a, a six or a seven. I always, so I, so that, that same pain calculator trail was what grained w well kind of go to the gym to do. So if it’s a two or three, I can go to the gym or I can go for a run or I can go do some exercise, and it’s fine. If it’s a five, I might go and do something, but I might not go and do, as long or as intense as I normally do. And if it’s about a sort of a seven or eight, probably will, we’ll not go to the gym because I know it’s going to aggravate it.

So in the morning I get up, it’s a one, I don’t really feel it by the end of the day. I can normally feel it. That’s normally, maybe about a three or four, but it depends what we’ve done for instance, or what’s this, this is, this is Monday on Friday. I went for it for a very small job. I’m trying to get my running back up again. I am, and I went for very small jog and I felt great, and the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. And I thought this is great. And so I probably overdid it and I can hear your intake of breath because you keep telling me not to, but I probably overdid it. And I suffered for it the next day, the next day, it was really, really sore, but I am meticulous about my exercises and meticulous about my stretch. And I am sore when that happens. I just spend the next day doing all the right things. And probably the day after it’s back down to again about a two or three. So it does, it fluctuates constantly.

Hmm. I just wonder among people listening in who have persistent or recurrent pain themselves, I’m always weary of this term pain management. Because to me, it seems like we’re giving up, you’re just going to have to manage your pain. But it sounds to me like, you’ve certainly come to terms with that as a reality for you, that there isn’t a cure for this, but so long as you, as it were behave in particular ways, you’re quite comfortable living with what you have.

Yeah. If I do the right things, and I look after myself then. It doesn’t really bother me. And I think it’s very much for me, it was about changing my mindset and not letting it manage me, but I manage it. And I know what you’re saying about not managing pain. But I can live with it now. I’d love it to go away, but it isn’t going to go away. So I I’m happy with the way that I’m living with it just now.

Okay. Now taking a different direction. You mentioned that you had two types of pain and this is your old injury related to pain, but then in 2017, things changed,

Things did change, saw, and I’ve had a complete another revelation. So in October, October, 2017, I started to feel different. There was a different pain, it was very narrow. It was, it was quite debilitating. It used to get me down. It was a real physical, emotional pain source or the muscular pain. It was there, I could deal with it, but this was just a persistent knowing nagging pain in my lower back. It was there when I sat down, whereas my other pain is not normally there when I’m sitting down, but when I sat down, I could feel the pain going down my leg, and it just started very gently. And then it was there and it got worse and worse.

And see my read on that would be that there were different mechanical forces at play. The fact that that pain was in a different location and that it was aggravated by sitting rather than worsening as the day goes on my kind of osteopathic background, I’d be thinking, okay, it was worse for sitting more likely to be [inaudible]. But you have a slightly different interpretation on the causes of those two different pains.

Yeah. And so I, at the time was running my agency, and I was very busy. I was a very busy person. I am, and in a round about 2017 and 2018, I can’t remember the exact dates, but I got promoted to the board, a board of directors of my company. And I was doing a big job. I am, I was working constantly. And what I know understand is that the pain I was experiencing in October, what I believe was stress related. No, I, I wasn’t stressed. I was loving my job. I was, I was thinking I was doing a pretty good job. And in fact on the face of it and emotionally I  was not stressed. I was doing a really good job.

I was working hard. I was juggling lots of things, but it was great. I felt great about it. And it was fairly successful, but it started to get worse in about 2018. And I did see a doctor I’d come to see you a few times. And I think you and I had discussed, maybe we’d be gone. See if there’s anything underlying. And I did go to the doctor and I got x-rays and, and there was nothing, it was the same thing. There was nothing there. And I think I started to think like, this is just a continuation of normal pain. It’s just manifesting itself in a different way. And then in, so what actually happened was in 2018 Christmas, I don’t know if you remember the Gatwick drawn Gatwick airport, fortunately to London for a meeting.

And I am, I wasn’t even at Gatwick, I was at Luton airport. I was trying to come home from Luton airport, but everybody from Gatwick was transferred to I am. And there was thousands and thousands of people. And I had a heavy laptop bag and I had a heavy briefcase with lots of papers in it. And there was thousands of people and there was absolutely nowhere to sit. And I was deleted for about four and a half hours, obviously in a stressful situation, getting myself quite stressed and that four and a half hours in that your report, it just got worse and worse and worse and worse. Am I got onto the plane eventually around a bit 11 o’clock at night. Eventually I got home by the time I got home, the whole body was in agony and I got up the next morning and Fetty unfortunate.

I was in agony. It was in quite a lot of spasms, but unfortunately what then happened was I went to get out of bed. I was at a very strange angle and I sneezed. And when people see I was on the floor and I couldn’t get off the floor, I was literally on the floor and I was, I couldn’t get off the floor. And I, and it really frightened me because I’ve never been, I’ve never been like that before. But I was on the floor and I, and I really couldn’t move. And I was solving crawling for my partner who was actually playing a stereo or at loads, top volume, and couldn’t hear me. And eventually he came over and he managed to get me up and managed to get me in bed.

And I was laying on the bed and I had had to take painkillers. I’m not, I’m quite adverse to taking painkillers, but I had to take, because I just couldn’t stand it. And that was, it was frightening. I have to be honest, it was frightening. And I think I phoned you and you were closed for Christmas, but I got your very first appointment when you’re opening it new year. And I was in a pretty bad way. And then what then materialized was, I went for an MRI scan at the end of January. And well, what I had done was I had torn a desk, but it was a very minor tear. But the reaction of my body to that minor tear was completely disproportionate to the actual injury. And for probably about three months, was the worst pain that I’d ever been in.

My whole body was, was just in spasm. And it coincided with a very, very stressful time at work. And I should have stopped. I should have eased up, but it, didn’t my way of dealing with it with just cardio and, and it’ll get better. And I wasn’t even at work, I couldn’t go to work because my office was three fleets up the stairs, and I couldn’t, I couldn’t walk up the stairs. And I was conducting all my meetings from laying on my, on my floor with my laptop, balanced on my Bailey, which is not a good look when you’re doing video conferences. And I think it was around the June time that I’d been coming to see you. And I think you had had, given me a little note, a little prod and try to see, could it be stress related?

And I remember walking out of your office thinking it’s not stress related. I’m not stressed, I’m totally in control. And I honestly felt completely in control, but it was maybe the month after that, that other things started to happen. So I started to get sleep problems and digestive problems. And I started to get a lot of me greens. I am a migraine suffer, but they started to come back with a vengeance and pins and needles and lots of spasms. And then all of these little things that happened again, I wasn’t releasing them to stress. I was just thinking, I’m doing fine. I was in control. I was doing a great job. I am delivering everything that needed to meet all my deadlines, managing the business and never, ever related it to stress. And then around about, I think you had suggested to me, I think you should maybe try and go back to yoga.

And I did go back to yoga and that really, really helped me. And it helped me work through what was happening in my body. And then, around a bit the August team, and I think this is a differentiation between physical stress and emotional stress as I started to start to have problems concentrating. And I started to have problems becoming really irritable with people, which is just not like me at all. And I was able to, I was able to sort of stop myself and think that these emotional problems were the ones that actually stopped me thinking something’s wrong here. And then I started to sort of, kind of relate it back to the physical problems, thinking, geez, maybe I am suffering from stress here. And it was, again, it was one of those light bulb moments. I was laying on the, on a yoga mat in a, in the middle of our restorative yoga, yoga nidra, which is a sort of like a yoga sleep where the body is completely relaxed, but your mind is very lucid.

And I just suddenly thought to myself, I physically can’t go on doing what I’m doing. I needed to do something about it. And I took the very, I took the decision to stop work, which I had to do. And I think if I hadn’t done it, I think I would have ended up having a nervous breakdown or certainly complete and utter burnout by the end of last year. And so I stopped work in November. I decided that I wanted to have three months off and within about two months, I, this new back pain had completely and utterly gone and I’ve never had it since. And that was a fairly long way of saying why, I think, why I’ve come to the conclusion that the pain, that new pain that started in October, 2017 was my body’s way of seeing you are stressed. But I never, ever, I never, I never thought I never thought I was because emotionally I wasn’t stressed. But I think the body has two ways of dealing with stress either emotionally or physically. And I think one always comes before the other, and for me it was the physical that came before the emotional, but I didn’t, I just didn’t see it at all.

Yeah. I mean, I think that the model that we all hopefully best within my industry work with is called the bio-psycho-social model, which reflects the fact that pain is, is multilayered it’s complex. It’s not just about the damage. So yes. I think you’ve got the report that said you had a small tear in the disc. So that’s part of the problem, but actually the level of pain that people experience is much more closely correlated with their mood and all the kind of what we call psychosocial things that are going on in their lives than it is with the actual physical damage. And that’s hard to hear when you’re busy earning a living, carving a career, doing everything that superwoman can do. And I think you obviously think that hard to hear, and it’s hard for us as clinicians to broach that subject, particularly when you are coming from a very physical background, you did all your karate are very physically active, so coming to an osteopath or a Kira or a physio, it’s easy for us to talk about the physical stuff. Not so easy because largely we’re not trained to talk about the psychosocial stuff, but actually it’s definitely worth opening that can of worms with some people some of the time. Yeah.

Yeah, I think so. Definitely. I just didn’t put the two and two together then. I mean, now I do, and it’s so obvious. And when I think about some of the things that I was feeling physically was just so obvious what was happening. No, but at the time I was so focused on work and when I never switched off, I am, I know, obviously I’ve done a lot of reading up on this since it happened. But it’s that stress response, isn’t it just continually being flooded with adrenaline and cortisol is just so bad for your body. I just didn’t see it at all. I was totally in control and fight, and I’m quite open about it with people. When I talked to some people who used to be my clients, they were like, I’d never, never, never thought that you were stressed.

You were just so in control. And I was, I mean, that was really good at my job. And I think the only person, even my friends were like, I never realized what you were going through. The only person that, that said, I knew that you weren’t right. Was my mum when, when they she’ll see me and she said, I can’t believe the difference in you. I knew that you weren’t right. And I just didn’t see it myself, but it was definitely, there was two things. So, you seem to me. Do you think that could be the cause? And I remember walking out thinking, no, it’s not because I’m fighting, but it was probably about two or three months afterwards lying on the yoga mat where I was actually relaxed. And my body was relaxed and the pain wasn’t there. Cause I was so relaxed that there, then my brain suddenly put two and two together thinking, wait a minute, this, this is, this is not, this is not right.

Hmm. Yeah. I always say to people, male, there are really only two reasons for not getting better. One is that you may have a bad plan. And the second one is that you may have a good plan, but you’re not sticking to it. So I think looking back, you’re saying you had a bad plan. So I’m interested in once you have that revelation, that kind of breaks through that, actually I need to change some significant things in life here. How did you find that plans or what, what were the constituent elements? Obviously a big part was stopping working as you were, but what else did you do?

Well, I spent, I spent three months just looking after myself. I knew I needed, I need to recover. I needed to get over this bar notes that I was, I was believed I was suffering. So I did lots of things. Like I did lots of yoga. I probably did yoga every day. I met friends who I hadn’t seen for a long time. It was more about the emotional stuff. I think for me, I continue to do all my exercises. I mean, I am fairly, fairly good at doing all my exercises for my back enemy, but I just really looked after myself, Gavin, to be honest, I stopped the stress and that, that was what I did. One of the things that the D after I finished work, that was again, a complete revelation. I didn’t even know I did this.

I woke up at six o’clock in the morning. I’m an early riser. I was awake at six o’clock in the morning. And the first thing I did was I lent over to pick up my work phone to check what happened through the night. Our office was a 24 seven office, and I picked up my phone, or I went to pick up my phone to see what had happened during the night. And I thought my phone’s not there. And then I thought, James, I didn’t even know I did that. And it was constantly being switched on. I was never switched off, constantly being switched on to what’s happening, checking my phone am not sleeping at night, weakening up. I used to go to sleep cause I was shattered, but I would wake up at one o’clock in the morning with everything going on in my brain. So my three months for me was just trying to turn all of that off and switch my back, my brain back into the moment. And that, that really has helped me.

Yeah, it’s interesting. I was writing an article the other day on the, how adrenaline and noradrenaline the stress hormones actually augment the pain that people experience. And I think the metaphor I use is that if your body is a wash with adrenaline, you’re basically sensitizing all those nerve pathways. So any pain that you have will be significantly increased if you’re chronically stressed and sleep deprivation is a terrible thing for pitting as well. And of course, I mean, you mentioned them in reverse, but they’re, they’re all interconnected. So whether you, you are lacking in sleep because you’re in pain or whether you’re in pain and that’s causing the sleep desperately or, or getting myself confused there, but they’re all interconnected. So you may start with one thing, but you can quite rapidly develop a huge gamut of symptoms, lack of sleep pain, not able to concentrate Peru immunity, weight, gain, pre-digestion more pains from other bits like migraines. And it’s all really part of the same package of, you’re just not coping with life in a positive way. And that’s no reflection on any individual. It’s just a FA a sign that your life is out of balance. So why can you need to change? I mean, hats off to you because wow. Stepping back from a big job is a big change.

Yeah. It was tough. It was really, really tough. It was something I, I had, I knew, I, I knew I had to do because I knew it wasn’t going to end well. If I carried on, I knew I had to do it. It was one of those days where my partner and I still laugh about it. Whereas I drove into work and thought, okay, I can’t do this anymore. And he was at home, he worked from home and I came home and I use it at your home early. And I said, yeah, I have to, I have to resign today. And you went, okay, go and do it. And then we can talk about it. And he just laughed going. He should have had a plan and you should have really thought what you were doing. It was one of those instant decisions have to stop now, because if I think about it, I wouldn’t have done it.

But what you’re seeing about the adrenaline and how it heightens everything, that absolutely makes perfect sense to me. Cause that was, I think what happened. But I think for me, it was, I cannot currently stress this enough. I emotionally I was fine up until a certain point. I was fine. It was, it was physically, it was affecting me. And because I was so switched into work and concentrating on work, I never took the time to actually sit back and go, why is all this stuff happening? And put the two and two together. I just kept thinking, Oh, here’s another thing. Here’s another thing. Oh, I’m in pain. I’ve got a migraine again, I’m not sleeping again. I never, I don’t know why, but I never, I never put it down to stress because I wasn’t feeling emotionally stressed up until the very last minute.

Yeah. I think there’s, a lot of us are sort of superficially very much. Coopers are very positive about life and we get on and all is good. And we actually don’t know ourselves to some extent, and that all of these things are going on in the background. And you were lucky in some ways that you actually didn’t hit the crisis point. But some people that’s the first warning. And again, it’s just total meltdown. It’s good that you stopped when you did.

It was. Yeah, it was, it was, it was definitely a great thing to do. I, I mean, I used to, I used to laugh and go, I know it’s come home from work and I’d see to my partner caught on never even had time to go to the loo tody. And I used to joke about it and that that’s wrong. He used to say to me, that’s wrong. And, but I just didn’t see it. And if I can give anybody advice, if you ever see anything like that to yourself and joke about it, it’s, it’s not something you should be talking about. It’s something you should be taking seriously. That is not enough.

Absolutely. And that’s a bit of a tangent Mel, but I’m going to take it because we hear a lot about irritable bowel syndrome over the last 10 to 20 years. And I can tell you that for a lot of people, what drives that is not going to the toilet when they need to go to the toilet and equally not setting time aside to eat and digest at rest, you should not be eating and working at the same time. Some of the people listening, some of my patients will now be madly pointing their finger at whatever device they’re listening to this on saying, but you’ve taught me you do it. And I do, I am ashamed to admit, sometimes I do eat and do my emails at the same time. but yeah, irritable bowel syndrome is a big issue for a lot of people. And a lot of it is driven by basically being the, they don’t feel stressed while they’re eating, but these are not ideal circumstances. Eating is an activity that you should do at rest and relaxing. That’s why the Italians and all the Mediterraneans are great at this because it’s a social occasion that relaxing with friends that eat, but eating, your computer is really not conducive to good digestion anyway, big tangent. So, but what I wanted to ask you in summary, Mel was if you could, what would you tell yourself that you know now, but didn’t understand back then 2017, 2018,

That was a long pause. What would I tell myself? I wish I had thought then to those in 17, 18, when the new pain started, I wish I had just taken the time to think, okay, once I’d gotten the physical thing sorted out, I’d gone to the doctor, I’d had x-rays. I knew there was nothing physical at that point. I wish I had taken the time to really look hard at what could be causing this and actually look at my lifestyle and look at what I was doing. And I wish I had taken the time then to change things then. And I think it would, things would have been very different last year. I hadn’t done that. I cannot stress know how important it is to look after your mental health. We live in an industry now where everybody’s talking about the importance of mental health and I would see to everybody, if you didn’t the kind of situation that I was in, you’re busy, you’re high flyer. You’re dealing with lots of, lots of stressful problems. You’re juggling lots of things. Actually, what should be in your diary is a knower or walk or meditation or mindfulness or lunch. And that should be as equally important in your diet, as you know, meeting your deadlines that I wish I had done. I wish I had taken more time for myself.

Hmm, yup. Yup. Good. Very, very similar advice. I’m sort of ironically listening to male thinking or yeah, I need to do this, the kind of peak of the Corona crisis and my life, as many, many people’s lives around the world have been, has been turned upside down and I’m madly, puddling around doing all sorts of things I would not normally do and working very long hours. I’m making time for lunch with the family. That’s one of the flip sides is that I get to eat lunch with my family these days, but it’s a sort of 20, 25 minute window and then I’m back to work. So thank you for that reminder.

I cannot stress Gavin, how important it is just to take half an hour a day just to even set. Somebody, one of my yoga teachers gave a great analogy. Seeing, sitting, doing nothing is not doing nothing, sitting, doing nothing is probably the best thing that you can do. And actually you should have in your diary doing nothing, you need to give your brain and your, all your hormones and all, everything in your body, just tainted to get back to normal.

Yeah, absolutely. Good advice. Siege advice from the lady heading for 51 50, that’s the main thing you will. I highly recommend 50, 50 as an excellent, so yeah. I really appreciate the insights because yeah, stress and that whole psychosocial domain, as we refer to it clinically is such a massive factor for so many people’s level of pain.

If you’d like a free online assessment of lower back pain / sciatica, click the link.