A Pain in the Back, Part 1

John Connor avatar

by John Connor |

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sleep, back pain

First in a series.

So this is what an earthquake feels like?

Well, it wasn’t that dramatic, but it was the middle of the night, and I’d been abruptly awakened to find myself lying at a 45-degree angle. This took a bit of processing.

The frame of our bed had broken!

My wife was oblivious. She claims to be a light sleeper, or maybe she just can’t sleep with the light on. But she can most certainly sleep through anything else!

I endeavored to wake her and was firmly told to “go back to sleep.”

It took a few minutes to convince her, and I felt like a male spider tentatively approaching a mate that might eat him. Or in this case provoke severe disdain.

Eventually, she realized that I wasn’t “just being me,” got up, and took in the situation.

We’d been lumped into a Laurel and Hardy mise-en-scène replete with the slapstick of trying to get someone with MS out of a collapsed bed. Luckily, it was a few years ago when I was more able-bodied than I am now. Although I could help a bit, I was as encumbered as an upturned beetle. (Still, I was no longer a spider!)

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It took a while, but eventually, we got a new bed with a high-quality mattress. And that’s where my problems began. …

The trouble with having MS is that you presume anything that happens to your body is due to the disease. I started having terrible backaches from sleeping; they were so bad that they’d wake me up. As soon as I transferred to a chair, it went away.

I stayed in a few hotels — no backache.

It wasn’t MS; it was my physical relationship with the bed. It didn’t affect my wife; indeed, the bed’s firmness was good for her back. Hey, she can sleep through anything!

The internet is a wonderful repository of knowledge, but you need an inkling of what to look for. I had never heard of a “topper.” It’s a mini-mattress that goes over your current one. My sister-in-law told me all about them as soon as I moaned about my constant backaches.

So, off I went and researched. I ordered one designed to soften harder mattresses. It’s a memory foam/gel mix, so it’s both soft on the body and allows perspiration. I think. Hey, it works — no more bad backs.

It arrived just in time for my lumbar puncture.

Next week: John describes a failed lumbar puncture.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Peggy avatar


Funny story...wonder if that's my problem with pain in back...hate say anything about it though is it possible to get a topper for just my side?

John Connor avatar

John Connor

Yup - that's what I did. Got a single with a cover. My bed lever also helps to keep it in place!

ita sara avatar

ita sara

My back has been bothering me lately. But then, I am 70+ and don't exercise. Is it aging? My bed mattress? My MS? Or something else? Hard to really know.


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