Back Pipes

March 13, 2009 on 5:58 pm by Michael Grey | In Stories, Whinges | 2 Comments

For the last month or so I have been cursed with a “bad back”. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Pain-a-rama. It started on February 16th, “Family Day”, a precious mid-winter holiday here in the province of Ontario, and has, ever so slowly, and almost without mercy, improved.

February 16th was a beautiful, clear, sunny day and I was out in the backyard staring into space – enjoying the invigorating crispness of it all. I’ve discovered my back pain story is pretty much the same as the legion of others who suffer – and have suffered – it all starts with: “I bent over to pick up a ____ and …”

Anyway, I have always found listening to others talk about their aches, pains and maladies as interesting as a pipe band set contest, so I will refrain from more detail.

Part of my healing regimen was (and is) massage therapy. I have been seeing a registered massage therapist (Edward L, the former Soviet Army Delta Force soldier, with trained hands that would snap the neck of any unsuspecting enemy – or piper). The massage therapy has helped a lot [I sense your interest waining!].

Anyway, the other day, while being treated, Ed Delta Forski, says, “Mike, what is this? Why do you have this big muscle on the left side of your back? Very unusual.”

I knew right away: “A lifetime of playing bagpipes”, I say.

At least, that is my belief. I am right-handed.

So, again, another possible tie that binds pipers: left-sided trapezius muscles of Schwarzenegger-ian proportions.

I hope that pumps you up.



  1. Since you’re an original, ingenious, insightful sort of individual, you might want to consider complementing your physical therapeutic approach with a mental, psycho-therapeutic approach. Check out “The MindBody Prescription” and “The Divided Mind” by Dr. John Sarno, who has seen back pain in his patients disappear by talking with them through their repressed anger and bringing it to consciousness, thereby eliminating the anger’s displacement into the body (usually the lower back). I wonder about the significance of its having been “Family Day” when the physical symptoms manifested themselves, and what that meant to you, and I also notice that you used the word “precious” to refer to it, which is a sarcastic term for you and which may be indicating some irritation or anger of which you’re not necessarily conscious. Even if one totally rejects all this as rubbishy psych-babble, it’s still a good idea to clear out one’s mind of any anger, stress, irritation, unresolved conflicts, etc. — But then, maybe you wouldn’t be such a great composer! 🙂

    Comment by ChrisZ — March 13, 2009 #

  2. Great comments, Chris. In reading them I was at once pleased and angry. I’ll definitely have a look at your guy Sarno’s stuff. For the record, I meant “precious” in the true sense of the word. Until a couple of years ago we had no statutory holiday in Ontario between New Years Day and Easter – you know that’s hard, especially in the winter! Maybe “rare” would’ve been a better word. But then I’d miss that Tolkien allusion … thanks! M

    Comment by mike — March 14, 2009 #

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