Back, Crack and Whack.

Middle age has not crept up in a raging against the dying of the light” kind of way. No, instead it’s come equipped for GBH, bashing its’ way through once flexible joints demanding cardigans and low impact exercise – otherwise there will be trouble. Trouble of the non reversible and ruthlessly painful kind.

So licensed muscle pummelers of various denominations have been working their black magic on my aching bones for the last few months. During this time, the provenance of this rambling pantheon of pain givers has been established though no little questioning and quite a lot of elbow biting misery. Firstly, Massage Therapists are not those angel dressed, ethereal beauties wafting into expensive hotel rooms. Fellas, their soft hands attending to your hardening pleasure centres have almost nothing to do with physical therapy, but absolutely everything to do with prostitution.

The real ones are generally mystical, lentil farming hippy throwbacks resplendent in multi-hued retro clothing and beads. Lots and lots of beads, so if you’re presented with cheap crystal thinly disguised as healing stones, hobble out while you’re still in possession of your wallet and a little dignity.

Osteopaths differ from Chiropractors in the same way that a playful slap can be simply differentiated from a punch delivered by an eighteen stone trucker, powered by strong longer and having had the benefit of a decent run up. There’s a delusion that a sub class of gentle chiropractor exists, not so skilled in the dark arts of patient death, but really there isn’t; think of them as the same trucker only punching from a standing start.

Based on all the research ten drunken minutes with a browser can provide, I plumped for the pain light option. This has a measure of muscular success disproportionally offset by the damage it was doing to my wallet. BUPA aren’t mad keen on ˜voodoo magic’ into which unfunded bucket they lump almost anything that’d ever be medically useful, but grudgingly advanced me£250. This came with a restrictive caveat of a few well chosen/best bribed professionals of which Osteopaths represented a somewhat lowly zero percent.

Chiropractor it is then. Lovely woman, young, intelligent, tiny enough to “ I suppose “ have to run around in the shower to get wet. She probed, prodded and tutted before delivering a complex lecture on the shoddy state of my back to whit posture, age, injuries, inappropriate sports and state of beard. While still reeling from the dismay of finding ones trapezium muscles are ˜badly withered and irregularly offset‘, misery was piled on through a graphical demonstration of my malaise featuring a handy skeleton. Which promptly fell apart and crashed to the floor in a cacophony of broken bones and shrapnelly ribs.

That put me right in the mood as I’m sure you can imagine.

Chiro’s grind in more pain in fifteen minutes than Osteo’s can manage in double that. It’s a strange blend of assault and flattery with the Reaper’s apprentice performing martial arts on knobbly, painful sticky out bits while politely enquiring on ones’ weekend plans. It’s hard to be erudite or even comprehensible while your vertebrae sound their death rattle and your spleen swaps places with your liver.

It does feel better though for a careful value of better. Apparently my back muscles are being whipped into shape which is no surprise since the alternative is to be evacuated via the rib cage in an Alien style. They are clearly motivated by fear and nerves which is pretty much a life statement for the rest of me. A couple of practitioners counselled that stress may be at the root cause of my hypochondria and the occasional need to lie down in a dark room. This may be true but I’m channelling mouse here; if I stop living on my nerves, I’d die. Simple as that.

I’ve been given time off for good behaviour until the first week in Jan. By which time I expect the Kango road drill will have been installed in her therapy room. Paying for pain is allegedly a niche market but once you add dentists, physiotherapists, and “ for all I know “ pedicurists (ooooow, that file is so rough!), the phase space may be larger than we ever imagined.

At least with the dentist, you get a drink afterwards. Bloody hell, that’s a good idea.

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