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to take sick leave over a bad back?

(62 Posts)
Ormirian Wed 06-Jul-11 16:41:35

I know it sounds really naff and the worst sort of cliche skive but I am in agony. Going to the chiro on Friday but I can't get an appointment before then - I am getting so tired by the end of the day because of the pain, and bad-tempered.

Problem is it I know it won't hurt any less at home so I feel like a bit of a twat ringing in sick.

BluddyMoFo Wed 06-Jul-11 16:42:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worldgonecrazy Wed 06-Jul-11 16:47:02

YANBU. Can you see the GP for some painkillers before Friday? The ones I was prescribed in hospital were two paracetomol, a codeine based painkiller (tramadol made me upchuck) and the very important bit was the valium to take the muscle out of spasm. Your GP can probably prescribe you valium for X number of days so you don't risk addiction.

KatieWatie Wed 06-Jul-11 16:47:36

Depends on your job and company really, but in essence I don't think you are being unreasonable. If you sit in an office chair all day even that could be bad for you, so if you do go in perhaps arrange a DSE assessment or something?

I work in a mainly office environment and there are currently 4 men people off on long term sick with bad backs. I'm pg and have a bad back and daren't take time off because I know what people will say (pregnancy card, this is only the beginning, etc). I wish I had more guts and didn't care what people thought because like you the pain can be so bad that I'm very bad-tempered, resentful and it has even reduced me to tears. The driving to and from work is more painful than being here and this may be also the case for you in which case YANBU to stay at home. Can you work from home?

dreamingbohemian Wed 06-Jul-11 16:52:57

YANBU, people who have never had back problems don't appreciate how agonising it is. You will be much better off at home where you can stay in less painful positions and dope yourself up.

I would recommend seeing an osteopath instead of a chiro though! I had back problems for 15 years, no one did anything useful, then I finally went to an osteopath this year and it's a million times better, on the way to being cured. Amazing.

Ormirian Wed 06-Jul-11 16:52:57


Just paracetamol and codeine atm. It works a bit but not enough. Will the GP give me something just for back-ache? Whenever I've been for running injuries they tell me to go away and take ibuprofen - hence I tend not to bother. Maybe worth a go.

I can work from home but sitting upright anywhere is painful - Ok at the start of the day but by about 2pm I just want to cry.

katie - sympathies! I know what you mean about the pregnancy thing - I work in an entirely male environment and I used to feel so uncomfortable when I was pregnant and tired - just felt I had to get on with it to prove I could cope.

Ormirian Wed 06-Jul-11 16:54:11

Interesting about the osteopath. I like my chiro and he does the trick but it always seems to come back. Problem is I can't afford anything really atm so hoping it can be fixed in the minimum number of visits.

dreamingbohemian Wed 06-Jul-11 16:55:20

Also, if you think the problem is muscular (not a slipped disc or something) then ibuprofen may work better as it's also anti-inflammatory.

dreamingbohemian Wed 06-Jul-11 17:06:18

Yes, this is why I stayed away from chiros -- everyone I knew who tried them said the same thing, they make everything feel better but it always comes back.

Osteopaths are quite holistic, they focus on the fact that everything in the body is interrelated and try to get to the root of the problem. In my case, he was the first person in 15 years who figured out that my back pain was actually due to a problem in my hip. He gave me some exercises to do, told me how to treat the pain at home, recommended some vitamins and diet changes. I also went for four treatment sessions but tbh I could have gotten away with two. It has been amazing, I felt so much better very quickly, and have gone from having near constant pain for years to rarely having any.

So basically, I try to talk everyone into seeing an osteopath smile I have a few friends and family with similarly good experiences so I think it's a safe rec! If you are in London I can PM you the details for mine, he's great.

NoMoreWasabi Wed 06-Jul-11 17:10:41

I've found heat patches much better than pain killers when I've had muscular pains in my back or shoulders. You can get different shaped ones in independent chemists. If it is lower back pain there are ones that wrap around (also good for period pain) which are great. This is the brand I tend the use:

VelveteenRabbit Wed 06-Jul-11 17:12:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadYoungCatLady Wed 06-Jul-11 17:16:38

If you are still in pain, you need to ask your GP for stronger pain medication. IME, they don't like being asked for a specific one, but I can highly recommend diazepam for back problems (I take it for anxiety but it works a treat). Also an anti-inflammatory, have you tried diclofenac? Keep taking the paracetamol, and I can highly recommend dihydrocodeine for back pain. Have you had it looked at by the hospital, x-rays etc? I buggered mine after giving birth and my discs like to slip about and trap my sciatic nerve.
If you are in pain, take sick leave - and don't mess around with your back as you don't want to do permanent damage. It can easily happen if you force yourself through pain - don't forget the pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong!
Hope you feel better soon smile

BluddyMoFo Wed 06-Jul-11 17:44:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sillybillies Wed 06-Jul-11 17:55:15

Take time out and take some drugs is my advice.
I have a herniated disc and take 30mg Co-codomal plus naproxen (although dicolfenic work just the same. This takes the edge of the pain. If you've only just hurt you're back I thoroughly recommend diazapam (valium) which works wonders at calming the muscles down if they are in spasm but obviously addictive so don't take for too long. However be careful with the drugs as they mask the pain so you need to be more aware of what you doing so you don't damage yourself further.

I've heard some people recommend osteopaths and others swear by chiropractors. I think it depends on how good the practitioner is.

Good luck and hope its not long term.

pollyteapot Wed 06-Jul-11 17:59:29

YANBU - I am currently off with a bad back. I was off 2 weeks ago and am being (i belive) treated unfairly because I take time off now and then when the pain is very bad, so as it is really sore ATM, I got a line yesterdy for 2 weeks.
I have severe wear and tear - the dic bulges, gets inflammed, someties the vertbrae crunch together, and I am fed up going in when I should be taking it easy. I am also well aware that I will be in serious talks with HR when I go back cos the absense is now too high, but I'll face that hurdle when i go back.
If you are in pain, how much work, and at what quality, can you reasonably do?

HeyYouJimmy Wed 06-Jul-11 19:28:17

Could you ask your GP to help you get this back pain under control? Having back pain IME can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain. I've had back pain since DS was born 6+yrs ago and it been getting progressively worse to the point where it's excruciating. People have still doubted the amount of pain I'm in because I 'don't look' like I'm in that much pain, but inside I'm screaming for the pain to just p* off and give my head peace.

Ormirian Thu 07-Jul-11 11:43:33


It's upper back - to do with being so tall and sitting at a screen all day for years.I have had special chairs but they don't seem to help for long. I also have lower back problems but generally that is bearable. The pain is a sort of achey burn with sudden flashes up my neck - tend to get headaches too. I had learned to help myself with yoga but these days that hurts too much to do sad

best of all I have just realised that my eldest is performing in a concert in school on Friday so have had to cancel my appointment. He's been practising all year so i can't miss it.

Maybe I will try osteo instead. bohemian - not in London but thankyou.

I am in work again today - things are crazy here as my boss is on long-term sickleave and we are heading for a horrible unmovable deadline. Feel like I can't take leave.

dreamingbohemian Thu 07-Jul-11 12:04:59

Ah sounds dreadful, sorry to hear you had to go into work.

For that kind of pain I think an osteo would definitely be good (I also had bad neck pain before one of my appointments and he sorted that out right away).

They will also show you different ways of sitting, walking, etc, that will help reduce and prevent pain, in my case he gave me a different way of getting out of bed, picking up my baby, it helped loads. He also made me realise that I constantly hunch my shoulders up (also on computer all day!) so am trying to break that habit.

Hope you feel better soon!

Ormirian Thu 07-Jul-11 12:10:58

The shoulder hunching is definitely an issue! First time I went to a chiro he told me to 'drop my shoulders'. I just looked blank - I simply had no way of doing that as they were totally rigid. It took a few sessions to loosen them but I can feel them stiffening up as soon as i feel under pressure.

BimboNo5 Thu 07-Jul-11 12:14:34

I had a slipped disc back in 2005, nothing came close to relief other than osteopathy. At the moment I am suffering from moderate lower back/leg aches so will be going back to him soon to avoid the situation recurring.

squeakytoy Thu 07-Jul-11 12:14:42

If you can afford it, get a TENS machine from Boots or Argos, it has worked very well for my MIL who has degenerative spine disease.

Ormirian Thu 07-Jul-11 12:16:11

TENS? Yes good idea. I had one for childbirth - did nothing for labour but helped wonderfully with my bad back grin

Smellslikecatpee Thu 07-Jul-11 12:18:24

If it is muscular have you tried a tens machine? lloyds chemist do them for about £15-20.

I swear by mine I have various neck/upper back/low back injuries (ex-nurse) and this has lowered my need for meds hugely from 3 times a day for weeks and weeks on end to only now and then and when I've been stupid.

They don't do it for everyone AND you don't always get relief straight away, it took 2x15 minute sessions 6 hours apart for it all to kick in for me. I mention this as after the first time with no change I was about to chuck it in the bin when my physio insisted trying again.

it's easy to use about the size of an iphone, mine lives in my bag, and easy to put on and have at work.

Back pain is a killer, because you don't look ill and if you are the type to grit your teeth and carry on people doubt the amount of pain you're actually in, but it all the rest that goes with it, not just pain, but sleeplessness etc.

BIG SYMPATHIES 9if you know what I mean) no hugs that that'd hurt!!

Smellslikecatpee Thu 07-Jul-11 12:18:48

aghhhhhhhh someone got there before me!!!

dreamingbohemian Thu 07-Jul-11 12:19:52

Yes my shoulders go up automatically too... the first stressful email of the day and yoink!

I'm really trying to have better sitting posture, because if you're sitting correctly then your shoulders can't really do the hunching thing, but it's hard to keep in mind when focusing on work.

I am halfway tempted to set up an automatic email to myself every 15 minutes saying SIT UP STRAIGHT! smile

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