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Weight, health, and bad backs.

When I was younger my Mother used to joke that every complaint a woman brought to her Doctor was blamed on either pregnancy, menstruation or menopause. I’ve always thought that something similar occurs when one tries to access medical assistance while fat, and skimming through FA websites shows I’m not alone in that belief. There are pages and pages of people being dismissed by their Doctor, insulted by him/her, or even given incorrect (and possibly dangerous) medical advice. And all because of a little extra tissue.

I have missed much of that, for which I’m grateful, but even I still have the odd tale to tell, such as the Doctor who told me boils were caused by not washing properly (!) and the ‘concerned’ Doc who took me off the BC pill during the blood clot scare approximately 10 years ago. In fact that last one annoys me the most because of the sheer stupidity involved. Even if being obese *does* make one more susceptible to blood clots the fact remains that the highest risk is reached – wait for it – during pregnancy. In other words he was happy to chance the worst risk while ‘protecting’ me from a lesser one. I can only assume that he did not believe my claims that I was in a steady, sexual relationship… or perhaps he had fallen for the common fallacy that ‘extra’ weight adversely affects one’s fertility. (I am living proof that it isn’t so).

But even though my experiences with Doctors haven’t been all that bad I still hesitate about going, especially when my complaint is something that I think they’ll blame on my weight. So when a week into my new exercise regime (implemented to combat issues with depression and sleeplessness) my back began to hurt badly I started to debate whether it would be worth seeing the GP or even going to someone else, like a physio or osteopath. I wasn’t interested in getting pain pills and I was fairly sure that any advice I was given would begin with “lose weight” – fairly useless advice, as it ignores the here-and-now.

I asked my Mother-in-Law for advice (she’s a nurse and good with helping-yourself kind of tactics) and she had a brilliant idea – that I should try The McKenzie Technique exercises to see if they helped. There was a chance they wouldn’t, of course; it all depended on what was actually causing the pain. She showed me two exercises and I did them. The next day I had no back pain.

No pain! Two simple, easy movements and I am on my way again. Compared to the hassle I could have had at the Doctor’s… is it no wonder so many of us larger people don’t seek medical help until our conditions are serious? Something to think about the next time you read an article about how The Obese are ‘wasting’ all our medical resources…


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