‘No woman, no cry’. This used to be a popular pop song in the 70s. In my humble contribution, I would say ‘no woman, no nation.’. The two seem synonymous. It is an undeniable fact that where there is no woman, there shall be no nation. God in his infinite knowledge knew the relevance of woman in establishing a nation, hence, made our lord Jesus Christ to be born through a woman-virgin Mary. Otherwise, God would have made Him without passing through the tortuous road to be born. Women are created with extraordinary power to bear stresses and pain that cannot be explained.
Oftentimes, in the course of life’s demand, she might obviously encounter health challenge of the back. For example in her bid to create a nation by way of pregnancy and child bearing, such natural phenomena often could engender a price she might pay in form of pain. Even at the office, farm or market etc, she might also contract this pain by way of wrong posture and one of the most important areas that bears the brunt of the agony is the back.
The back is the power-house for the entire body supporting our trunk and making of the movement of our head, arms and legs possible. It is the back that forms the pillar on which pregnancy is sustained. Any injury to the back (spine) could be catastrophic and might result to back pain and its symptoms.
It is paramount, therefore, to empower our women with knowledge and awareness with respect to back pain which is common nowadays so that they would be equipped to withstand the natural and unnatural stresses of everyday life to enable them deliver their God-given goal of child-bearing and even domestic chores.
Moreover, women, generally have more aches and pain than men. Women are more prone to having migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, cramps in the calves, fibromyalgia (inflammatory muscular disease), and polymyalgia rheumatism (rheumatic muscle pain), as well as their own specific pains such as labour pain, period pain, endometria pain in the lower abdomen, and premenstrual body aches.
Emotionally too, they have more “pains” than men, as they have frequent mood swings due to the nature of their hormonal cycles and their sensitive nature. Nature has given them more tolerance and therefore they complain a lot less than men about pain or other symptoms of diseases.
Women are more prone to mineral deficiencies like osteoporosis (calcium deficiency), anemia (iron deficiency), low thyroid (often due to iodine deficiency), and chronic fatigue (often due to Vitamin D or magnesium deficiency). Therefore, they suffer from a range of illnesses, including joint and muscle disorders. They often bruise very easily, including the ones inflicted” on them by husbands who would not bear and forebear their inadequacies and so are more likely to have injuries in the neck and back areas. Women generally work longer hours than men. They are the first to get up and last to sleep. From childcare to organising meals and sorting out the general affairs of the family, they usually play an important role. The wear and tear in the joints and muscles are obvious. As working women, additionally, they have a full day of normal duties to carry out. Their posture is generally bad due to fatigue and over exertion.
Importantly as I mentioned tangentially before, pregnancy puts a lot of strain on the lower back. The weight of the baby puts tremendous strain on the groin and lower back. Just before the -end of term, the body secretes a hormone that causes bone loss in the pelvic and lower back joint surfaces. This is to make them more flexible so the head can pass through the pelvic girdle without any hindrance. This often causes additional backache. Again, while breastfeeding, the mother curves her back which frequently implicates her mid back causing pain. As the baby grows, the mother has to carry it very often, which puts a lot of strain on the arms and the neck. Mothers forget that the child gains weight rapidly and they continue to lift and carry them, which cause a lot of stress and later pain on the back.
There is a story of this woman and her husband who are in there late 70s. This woman would always take her husband who was always crying because of bouts of pain in the back to hospitals. One day she brought him to me at the Omega physiotherapy & back pain care clinic,34 Okolo Street, American Quarter, Onitsha. On consultation, she said, “I cannot bear this agony of back pain on my baby (husband), he is everything to me, therefore I must do everything within me to get him properly treated. When he experiences bouts of pain in the back he will so cry and I don’t like seeing him cry at all. Please Charles, do all things you can do to relieve him of the pain”. This woman who is in sympathy with her husband, has a more challenging back pain that has already caused her to bend to the right side (scoliosis); even coming out of the car was laborious and lowering herself on the chair in the consulting room, was something else. At the end of the consultation, I asked her “mama, what about your own back pain which is disfiguring you, I can see you are in terrible pain”? Hear what she answered; Never mind about my own back pain, I can bear it but my baby (husband), cannot at all”
The amazing thing about women is that God has given them the capacity to bear pain. I advise that our women should not ignore the pain in the back. It could be debilitating if ignored. They should be rational in the choice of health facility to attend when passing through pain especially, disturbing back pain. On the other hand, they should feel free to talk to their doctor for referral to reputable physiotherapist who is knowledgeable in anatomy and biomechanics of the back structures. They should not accept the disabling pain in the back as they would accept gray hair on the head! That agony is redeemable.