Gary’s Story

My story is about learning the value of daily management of my condition, which has resolved the pain and stopped it from returning.

In 1972 at the age of 24 I had a cerebral haemorrhage, resulting in permanent paralysis on my left side. I have limited movement in my left shoulder, can’t use my left arm or hand, and can’t move anything below my left knee.

Over time this caused musculoskeletal problems and at times pain, both muscular and nerve pain. My body is out of sync.

The first time I had a severe pain episode in my lower back was after retiring from work in 2003, when I became less active. The pain felt like an 8 out of 10. I saw a physiotherapist, did the exercises they recommended, and the pain went away. I then stopped the exercises.

The pain episodes happened again and again, with me taking the same course of action after seeing either a physiotherapist or chiropractor. Some instances required painkillers, but most did not.

Then in September 2014 after a long visit to Floriade, I fell asleep in a lounge chair and awoke with a sore lower back. I could move just enough to get into bed. When I awoke the next day, I could hardly move. The pain seemed like a 10 out of 10. I also had sciatic pain.

I was bedridden for three months and couldn’t sit more than 15 minutes before the pain kicked in.

My GP prescribed strong painkillers and the physiotherapist prescribed exercises. Although I didn’t like taking painkillers, my physiotherapist told me that by masking the pain I would eventually be able to do the exercises to help me move freely again.

Over time I was able to sit for an hour and walk for 30 minutes. I continued to do the exercises. By July 2015 I was able to drive and resume my life.

I now do my exercises morning and night. I maintain good posture, keep active and make sure I don’t sit for too long. For me it’s all about keeping my body flexible to keep the pain away. I’ve had twinges since, but thankfully no flare ups.