Volunteering And Gaming With Chronic Pain In The Upper Back.

Glenn Herriott, UK

Summary: Whilst working through exercises to heal the tear in his ACL (Knee ligament), Glenn developed lower back pain. He was able to manage this with the help of a physiotherapist and returned to Bath University to finish his Business Administration degree. However, while on a work placement, Glenn suddenly developed upper back pain.

He put this down to leaning over his desk combined with the mental stress of a difficult workplace environment. But due to his previous back pain, Glenn knew he needed to seek treatment early and so went to a physiotherapist. Luckily, this helped at the time.

The pain returned when Glenn went back to university because he was bending over a desk writing by hand. This time, though, he realised the pain was different and visited an osteopath rather than getting a referral through his GP. He wasn’t able to fully get rid of the pain this time and it prevented him from reaching his full productivity at university, particularly in group projects.

After returning home, Glenn underwent lots of tests and was diagnosed with chronic pain. Due to his condition, Glenn was unable to work because the pain and brain fog made it difficult to concentrate.

The little things that help:

Doing purposeful low stress work: Instead of taking on a full time roll, Glenn recently began volunteering at a pain charity. The role involved phone work, offering advice and guidance to people with pain issues. Glenn feels this voluntary role is ideal because he’s able to work for shorter periods, isn’t under considerable workplace stress, and talks to people with similar conditions to his own. Also, working with the charity gives Glenn a sense of purpose and allows him to feel he’s contributing to society.

Importantly, it is the first step in a scale of making his way into work. Starting with a smaller role that isn’t too demanding allows Glenn to feel out the mental and physical triggers involved in work. For example, sitting for too long can be a problem and when he’s in a lot of pain he finds it difficult to concentrate.

Teaming up: Glenn has also realised that he really benefits from working with people on projects and activities. He’s started running with someone and he has also teamed up with someone to try to make money through sports trading It’s obviously a lot easier working with someone so this helps him a lot.

Growing Awareness: Glenn feels that there may be a psychological component to his pain. Whilst this has not taken away the pain, it has made him more aware of managing things that may make it worse like self induced pressure and stress.

TENS/Heat Packs: The only non pharmaceutical resource that Glenn finds of some help in relieving pain is a TENS machine or a heat pack.

Learn More About Glenn’s Work

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