Lower back problems

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Westy
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Lower back problems

Post by Westy »

Have had a few twinges in my lower back over the last few weeks, but thought it would go away. Paddled at HPP on Wednesday evening in the bitter cold; didn't warm up properly, and was tense as I was determined not to capsize as the water was so cold. At the end of the session discovered my back was so bad that I struggled to get out of my boat, then really struggled to change when I got back to where I was staying.

I've been on Ibuprofen the last couple of days, and it seems to be gradually easing. It's better when I'm moving about, but seizes up when I sit down (drive back from Nottingham to Sussex yesterday was hell!). It's getting up from sitting, or reaching down to put my socks on, that is when the pain really hits, otherwise it's a dull ache.

Quick trawl on the internet reveals that current advice is that it should disappear in a few days, and to stay active (contrary to old advice which was to rest). Anyone else had any lower back problems who has any advice please? I'm sure it's just muscular or ligament, and nothing serious. I wondered if the root cause could be my backband. I have a Liquidlogic boat with an IR backband, and a few weeks ago (maybe coinciding with the first few twinges) I did start to tighten it more than normal during a couple of paddles as my knees were a bit loose, until I put some more foam in for my feet (the foam had compressed over time).

Any views welcome!
Thanks.

Steve.

Hunter,the
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Post by Hunter,the »

Any time I've ever had any back pains the Doc has always said to take pain killers, ibuprofen and keep it moving. The worst thing for it was rest. Though depending on what you've done to your back this advice could be completely wrong. If in doubt, go see a doctor.

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Tim S
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lower back..

Post by Tim S »

From the Ellard school of thought...try loosening your backband and gripping more with your knees.

Also work on your lower back muscles off the water. I have a back twinge which comes to haunt me every so often. It is prevented with proper warming up and helped by going to the gym twice a week working on core stability!

Or you can follow the America school of thought who all dose up on 'Vitamin I' before getting on the water. In other words they use Ibuprofen as a preventative drug. Not the best, but it seems to work for a lot of them!

Tim S

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James Hartley
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Post by James Hartley »

Heat Patches bought from the supermarket or where ever (think they are called cura-a-heat). You stick them on over your T-shirt and they put heat in to the effected area over the next 12 hours. They work really well and should help ease it off no end :-)
Also search this site for the thread on Core stability............
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glupton
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Post by glupton »

Sounds like it might just be a breakdown of the muscles, ligaments etc through repeated missing out of the warm up. I had a similar thing last year, and it is bloody sore. While the advice is to keep active, you need to be careful that you don't irritate the injury. Remember, our active and their active are two totally different things.

As for stopping it coming back, do your warm up properly - and if you have the motivation do the core stability stuff (great fun & great for the balance).

I'm not too sure that tightening your backband is to blame, unless you are getting pins and needles in your legs or feet because of it.


I have the ultimate extreme sports accessory - A physio wife. :-)

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ChrisS
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Post by ChrisS »

If you take Ibuprofen be careful to follow the directions. It does work, but it can irritate the gut so much as to cause iron deficiency anaemia.

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nichburton
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Lower back

Post by nichburton »

Lower back pain? Tell me about it....

Speaking from much experience I agree with all the above, although I personally have always shied away from using river smarties (ibuprofen) unless its very severe. Masking the pain too much can lead you to cause further damage and you won't know about it until its too late.

Core stability & good posture are the way forward, so pilates is ideal. I found a tight backband often leads to bruised back muscles & inflammation, so Tim's idea sounds like a good one (and will further help your core stability too!).

Take serious consideration about your leg flexibility, especially your hamstrings - this is one of the most common causes of lower back pain, as tight hamstrings pull through your buttocks and on your lower back. When you can't put your socks on, I bet you can't get anywhere near touching your toes with straight legs! Once you've got past the severe pain/imflammation, start building in leg & hamstring stretches, but read up on the best way to do this. Stretching should be slow, over 30-60seconds, after warming-up and no pain! Don't over do stretching without core stability work though, as you'll run the risk of lengthening and weakening the very muscles that support your back.

If you do a lot of driving (especially long distance, like most paddlers) then get a cushion ON the seat to raise your back to the same level as your knees. Keeping your back low puts a lot of pressure on those muscles and is a bad position. You get this same bad position in your kayak, but you're using your core muscles more to support you when paddling, unlike the relaxed position when driving. I've recently started using one of these and it makes driving much more comfortable.

Paul S
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Post by Paul S »

I too suffer from lower back problems in connection with another condition. Fortunately my Doctors advice is to keep active with paddling/cycling being ideal. A recent book I've discovered, 'Treat Your Own Back' by Robin A McKenzie has helped get me back on the water on more than one occasion this year. It uses a series of low impact excerises to articulate your spine. These could also be used as part of a warm down. On one occasion last year I managed to trap my Sciatic Nerve, never felt pain like it! After using the exercises the relief was almost instant.
Would advise a trip to your GP before you dabble though!

Cheers

Paul

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little_miss_yaker
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Post by little_miss_yaker »

I've had serious back problems recently, a damaged L5 disk, which is the last disk in your spine.

Mine was caused by not moving enough, (sitting at desk day and night working, after a trip to alps sat in car driving round, cramped in van and paddling for a month).

I think, (though can't prove it), that it was helped by cranking up my back rest. Doing so really immobilises the back. I have been paddling for years and never had a cranked back rest before, so I dont' believe I made my existing problem worse until I did.

I will, when I can get back in a boat, (4 months off so far!), hold with Tim S comments on "try loosening your backband and gripping more with your knees. "

Also my physio really holds with getting out when you can and having a stretch, sat in the same position for over an hour can exacerbate the problem.

Hope the input helps.

Tasha

P.S. After reading last post, (posted at nearly exactly the same time!) Yoga really helps! and that book sounds fabulous...
Life in plastic, it's fantastic...

Hunter,the
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Re: Lower back

Post by Hunter,the »

nichburton wrote:Lower back pain? Tell me about it....

Take serious consideration about your leg flexibility, especially your hamstrings - this is one of the most common causes of lower back pain, as tight hamstrings pull through your buttocks and on your lower back. When you can't put your socks on, I bet you can't get anywhere near touching your toes with straight legs! Once you've got past the severe pain/imflammation, start building in leg & hamstring stretches, but read up on the best way to do this. Stretching should be slow, over 30-60seconds, after warming-up and no pain! Don't over do stretching without core stability work though, as you'll run the risk of lengthening and weakening the very muscles that support your back.
On a note about stretching excersises as part of a warm up routine, I was repeatedly told when I was playing football never to stretch a cold muscle. Best thing to do is warm the muscle up first, say by doing a short jog, then once the muscle is warmed up to stretch it using static stretches (so no bouncing to make yourself stretch that wee bit further). After this you should continue to keep the muscle warm and stretched by some more jogging/ running. After this stretch again but dynamic stretches are allowed now and now the muscle has had time to warm up and stretch properly. From what I remember of football training we could spend up to half an hour warming up and stretching the various muscle groups. I'd say spending any less than 15 minutes trying to warm up and stretch a single muscle group won't do much good.

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Westy
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Post by Westy »

Thanks for all the good advice, everyone. I'll give paddling a miss this weekend, and make sure I warm up properly next time! I may check the book out as well.

Tim S - what back exercises do you do? I tend to concentrate on the abdomen when I exercise. Thanks.

Steve.

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Post by rockhopper »

The one thing that I found really aggravated my lower back pain when I used to get it was sitting with my legs crossed (obviously not in the kayak!!).
It is so easy to sit down and without even thinking about it, cross your legs. This apparently puts an imbalance in your back which your lower back muscles try to compensate for. This causes them to sieze up even more.
In the end I had to think every time I sat down not to cross them. As a result my recovery time was much improved from the previous times it had gone and my back has now been trouble free for some years.
Also worth noting is to ensure that when you are driving you are not have to stretch slightly to press the clutch. All movement for this should come from your leg and ankle and not from rotating the hips slightly.

Hope you make a quick recovery.

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Ryan Clements
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Post by Ryan Clements »

Here's a post I started a while back which might provide you with some suggestions.
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... ain+enough

Ryan.

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lou
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Post by lou »

Hopefully you'll get better soon, but if you don't I'd recommend an osteopath.

I've had some serious back problems in the past two years, and I saw an osteopath as a last resort. Best thing I ever did, and I'm great now.

Also follow the earlier advice and work on your lower backmuscles when you're better.

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Tim S
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exercises

Post by Tim S »

Westy wrote:
Tim S - what back exercises do you do? I tend to concentrate on the abdomen when I exercise. Thanks.
You can find most of the exercises I do by typing 'lower back exercises' into good old google.

In short I do lots of work on one of those large beach ball things. 100 normal crunches, 50 each side with trunk rotation, 30 inverted crunches and another 100 inclined sit-ups. Throw in lots of free work weight and it keeps me in one peice!

I'm not a gym monster though, an hour or so twice a week is all I do.

Tim S

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Sitting down.

Post by chriscw »

A key is to be careful about sitting down, its not really very good for you! Good posture sitting at the PC will help as will properly adjusted easy chairs and as mentioned elsewhere driving posture.

You can use a small rolled up towel under the lower back when lying on your back, that often helps. It is also often worth seeing your GP or a physio because if you have the beginnings of Arthritis or something like that there are these days loads of effective treatments.


GOOD LUCK
Chris Clarke-Williams
Location Basingstoke

Paddling Interests:
Touring, Coaching Beginners (I am an L2K), Surf White water trips, Weir Play (I'm not good enough to put freestyle!)

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Joe Kirk
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Post by Joe Kirk »

As you and others have said, don't stay still, it's the worst thing for it. Certain yoga moves are pretty good, but I'm not going to try and explain them over the internet as you may end up hurting yourself more. Go and see a physio or your doctor and ask about some exercises you can do.
Just don't over-do it otherwise you will be in a whole world of pain for a while. I prolapsed a disc back in september and am not boating properly still! Specialist says they take 9-12 months to heal properly!!
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And not waving but drowning." - Stevie Smith

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Post by greensurfer »

Just wait till you get the sciatic nerve nonsense - brilliant I could hardly walk for six months ("yes quite normal it can last longer than that" said my doctor) funny thing was I could still cycle twenty miles a day almost pain free - just couldn't get off when I got to work though.

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Joe Kirk
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Post by Joe Kirk »

Ouch!!! My discs trapped my nerve for a bit, but the severe pain lasted only about a month, I feel for you!
Back pain is the most annoying and debilitating pain there is, and the best advice from the doctors is "keep it mobile and it'll go - eventually!"
My advice - make sure you have good posture in all activitites from sitting down to kayaking, keep your core muscles strong, and try to avoid the problem in the first place!
"I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning." - Stevie Smith

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Post by husky »

All back pain is nasty you have my deepest sympathy You must use pain killers with respect all drugs that end with a fen ibuprofen thin the blood and can lead to complications all tend to have adverse reactions on the stomach and some can affect your hart.
The herbal way is to use devils claw less drugs the better.
A good way to keep your back in tip top shape is to buy a swiss ball ( big plastic ball you see in gyms ) and sit on it rather than a chair with good posture, it is deceptive and will work on you core mussels to keep you balanced and upright .
Try some of the stretching exercises with the ball too.
Good pre-paddle warm up and stretches.
Correct position and posture in your kayak.
A bit of Physiotherapy or a visit to an osteopath may pick a problem you have in your back or your Bio-mechanics.
Pick them up early as it is far easier to fix back problems then.
Yours Steve.
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seanieb
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Post by seanieb »

Westy wrote:Have had a few twinges in my lower back over the last few weeks, but thought it would go away. Paddled at HPP on Wednesday evening in the bitter cold; didn't warm up properly, and was tense as I was determined not to capsize as the water was so cold. At the end of the session discovered my back was so bad that I struggled to get out of my boat, then really struggled to change when I got back to where I was staying.

I've been on Ibuprofen the last couple of days, and it seems to be gradually easing. It's better when I'm moving about, but seizes up when I sit down (drive back from Nottingham to Sussex yesterday was hell!). It's getting up from sitting, or reaching down to put my socks on, that is when the pain really hits, otherwise it's a dull ache.

Quick trawl on the internet reveals that current advice is that it should disappear in a few days, and to stay active (contrary to old advice which was to rest). Anyone else had any lower back problems who has any advice please? I'm sure it's just muscular or ligament, and nothing serious. I wondered if the root cause could be my backband. I have a Liquidlogic boat with an IR backband, and a few weeks ago (maybe coinciding with the first few twinges) I did start to tighten it more than normal during a couple of paddles as my knees were a bit loose, until I put some more foam in for my feet (the foam had compressed over time).

Any views welcome!
Thanks.

Steve.

TWO simple steps:

1. Stop taking the pain killers and exercising at the same time, pain is there for a reason. Something is wrong. You could end up doing more damage to yourself. IF you must exercise don't use pain killers.
2. Go to a physiotherapist NOW.


P.S. As told to me by a Specialist when I had serious back problems: G.P's Don't know shit about back or muscle pain, they will just prescribe relaxants and pain killers, then observe. Physiotherapist's and Specialist's are the only people i would trust with a problem like yours.

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Post by husky »

Steve.[/quote]



TWO simple steps:

1. Stop taking the pain killers and exercising at the same time, pain is there for a reason. Something is wrong. You could end up doing more damage to yourself. IF you must exercise don't use pain killers.
2. Go to a physiotherapist NOW.


P.S. As told to me by a Specialist when I had serious back problems: G.P's Don't know shit about back or muscle pain, they will just prescribe relaxants and pain killers, then observe. Physiotherapist's and Specialist's are the only people I would trust with a problem like yours.[/quote]


Totally agree The key is Stop the drugs (if this is the only way you can paddle) pain is your body's way of saying help me, don't mask it, you will injure yourself more.
Get some help.
Doctors no nothing about backs (if they give you a specialist appointment you will be lucky and it will take months)
The specialist may pass you on to a physiotherapist theres another few months all the time your back is getting worse or will put you down for surgery STOP not a good idea until you have exhausted all avenues
Pay to see a physiotherapist and they will give you paperwork you can get attention from your Doctor and referrals much quicker (its worth the money.
Keep mobile, keep area warm, try some yoga
If I can help you PM me
Steve
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little_miss_yaker
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Post by little_miss_yaker »

husky wrote:
TWO simple steps:

1. Stop taking the pain killers and exercising at the same time, pain is there for a reason. Something is wrong. You could end up doing more damage to yourself. IF you must exercise don't use pain killers.
2. Go to a physiotherapist NOW.


P.S. As told to me by a Specialist when I had serious back problems: G.P's Don't know shit about back or muscle pain, they will just prescribe relaxants and pain killers, then observe. Physiotherapist's and Specialist's are the only people I would trust with a problem like yours.

Totally agree The key is Stop the drugs (if this is the only way you can paddle) pain is your body's way of saying help me, don't mask it, you will injure yourself more.
I agree and dissagree with this post.

Yes definitely don't take drugs and exercise unless you have to exercise (work related - although still not recommended) as this will mask it and make it worse.

Yes GP's can't really help, but they should refer you to a specialist (physio, chiro or osteo) to seek further help. I did this and a private Physio, and yes, the private guy was much much better.

Stop the drugs yes... if your taking them to exercise and mask the pain... but definitely not if your taking them just to survive the day.

Siatic pain is excruciating and a damaged disk is no joke. I thought it much better to not mask the pain and stay 'pain killer free'... what a mistake...

I have been told by specialists that you NEED the pain killers. The reasons I was given is that the muscles around the problem spasm and contract, and as such you back cannot get better. You need to take the pain killers to relax the muscles so the back can repair itself. Just be aware not to overdo things with your back when you are on them.

Tasha
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seanieb
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Post by seanieb »

Hi Tasha, I totally agree with your post, I just didnt make myself clear in my post, sorry.

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Westy
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Post by Westy »

I took ibruprofen thinking it is an anti-inflammatory, and would therefore relax the muscles. Also in terms of exercise, I'm not paddling, and certainly not taking pain-killers to allow me to exercise. My back feels better if I'm moving about, and tends to seize up if I sit for an length of time. I'll give my usual paddle at HPP on Wednesday a miss, nor will I run tomorrow as I normally do. I may stick my bike in the back of the car and exercise that way whilst I'm away.

Thanks for all the advice. My eldest daughter has one of those exercise balls, so once my back is better I will start to do some exercises with that.

NickC
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Bouncy Ball

Post by NickC »

Don't know if this will help, but i use to do a lot of field work (3-4days a week) however over the last year i have spent alot more time in the office, and started getting a sore lower back about 7-8months ago (from sitting all day) which was then aggrevated by paddling.

It was getting pretty bad, so i invested in an exercise ball (65cm, costs 10£) and have been using that at work. Made a huge difference. The stiffness and pain dissappeared in a week, and you get to bounce around at work. I have been sitting on it for six months with no problems.

No use if you don't have a desk job though.

Nick

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little_miss_yaker
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Post by little_miss_yaker »

I have used one of those exercise balls too, and they are fabulous, not least because you can do your exercises while working at your desk, (Argos sell cheap ones). Just sitting and lifting one leg while balancing is good for the lower back.

I also got a chair you can kneel at http://www.kneelers.co.uk. These guys sell em on ebay for pretty cheap and they are sooo comfy!

Lastly I have been resigned to standing at my desk as with the amount of desk work i'm doing right now, (can't be avoided - writing my PhD :-s ) the pain was too much. Works a treat if you HAVE to do lots of desk work and have back problems, but looks a little odd ;)

Ibuprofen is good, but I found it didn't really touch the pain for me. My doc prescribed Naprosyn, which works and doesn't cause drowsieness which is a bonus compared to codine type pain killers. Its pretty dodgy stuff though, can cause stomach ulcers, so if your managing with the ibuprofen then I'd stick with it.

Best bet is to see a specialist (physio or whatever) earlier rather than later! I wish I hadn't just ignored the twinges for so many years because then it may not be so bad now! Catch it early and relieve yourself of some of this pain and sheer loss at not being able to paddle for months!

Tasha
Life in plastic, it's fantastic...

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johnc
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Re: Lower back

Post by johnc »

nichburton wrote: Core stability & good posture are the way forward, so pilates is ideal. I found a tight backband often leads to bruised back muscles & inflammation, so Tim's idea sounds like a good one (and will further help your core stability too!).
just to say pilates is good - I have a back problem (last bone in my vertebrae out of position) and wondered how I could strengthen the muscles - pilates gets to the deep core muscles and is effective 5mins of it relieves twinges and aches. If you can book a couple of sessions with a practitioner or get a book from the library - the Daily Mail had some free dvd's on pilates recently...
johnc

chris s sladden
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back pain

Post by chris s sladden »

Having had 4 back operations and having paddled for years I was going to make a few comments, but reading through the posts I realize that I obviously don't know shit so I had better refrain!

Happy paddling


Chris Sladden (a GP who doesn't know shit about back pain!)

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Re: back pain

Post by husky »

chris s sladden wrote:Having had 4 back operations and having paddled for years I was going to make a few comments, but reading through the posts I realize that I obviously don't know shit so I had better refrain!

Happy paddling


Chris Sladden (a GP who doesn't know shit about back pain!)
This could be taken in two ways
4 back operations ? need to look into your life style posture and other excise which could help with your back .
You may have a condition that causes you problems with your back (sad and unfortunate) then the above would come into play again.
The Statement I made I will re write for you as it was a generalization and so is un-fair (Doctors no nothing about backs)
Of all the GP I have had Look at my Neck/back non of them had a clue and would prescribe drugs at the drop of a hat with no help for the future which guaranteed a relapse.
After going to Sports-med in Stockport the problem with my neck C5/C6 is now ok Tim gave me different things to do and tips on how to position myself in bed ect
This stopped the slide into non exercise (as breathing never mind movment was excruciating and all but the strongest pain killers and sometimes morpheme would lessen the pain) and the journey that leads to an operation which was suggested to me by a specialist at Warrington general.
I know what aggravates my neck I stopped it (Submition wrestling) this is the change in life style that I started the post with along with yoga type exersise my neck is now ok.
I know the injury is still there but it is ok and has been so for 3 years now.
your input Chris would be greatly appreciated and may restore cynics (like a few on UKRGB and unfortunately myself ) faith.
As in all walks of life there are good and bad GPs I must have had a few bad ones.
Steve
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