“Stab In The Back” – How my guitar helped me get through the pain of kidney stones

A couple of years ago, I was brought to my knees from the intense sharp lower back pain of a kidney stone stuck my left ureter, the narrow tube connecting the kidney to the bladder. I had finished a week of busy night shifts where I didn’t get a chance to drink much water and I was so tired when I got home I wouldn’t drink much water in case of interrupted sleep.

During medical school and my first few years as a doctor, I admit to not looking after my own health. The lack of routine, years of poor diet and irregular sleeping pattern culminated in this intense debilitating pain, which brought everything to a standstill. I felt like I had stabbed myself in the back by not taking ownership and responsibility for my own health.

Meanwhile when I was at home, waiting (not so patiently) for the stone to pass, the painkillers didn’t seem to be having any effect on the pain at all. I was desperate, so I picked up my guitar and improvised around some chords. I was able to distract myself from the pain and focus on something creative and productive. I instantly felt better. I truly believe music has a power to influence the mind and body to improve symptoms such as pain and low mood. I know the blues is good for heartache but never appreciated it’s power with kidney stones.

Check out this interesting article by the Sync Project on Music for Pain Management: http://syncproject.co/blog/2016/7/26/music-for-pain-management

“The Therapy Sessions” are explorations into how music can be used as a means of expressing symptoms and provide a platform to share ideas of how creativity can improve health and wellbeing.

“Stab in the Back” is an improvised guitar instrumental, which was inspired by the music I recorded when I was in pain. I tried to reflect the dull ache and the episodes of intense stabbing pain within the arrangement, see if you can hear it!

I am experimenting with how we can make health education more entertaining so I have included some interesting facts about kidney stones straight from the NHS Choices website.

Contact me if you are interested in The Therapy Sessions and would like to feature your story of using creativity for better health.

Let’s Rock on! (or stone on!)

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