23yrs and crippled by “Back Pain”?

I would not suggest that this young man does not feel pain, or that he doesn’t feel pain in his back. However there is something else going on. At 23, young men are usually going out with their mates, causing mayhem, trying to date girls and sowing their wild oats. Not living at home with their parents, with their mother running their life, and making excuses as to why it’s so hard. “He’s had a lot to deal with” – That’s why he’s young, so he learns to deal with it.

He left school with no qualifications, as a result of poor attendance because of a mysterious “abdominal pain” which disappeared when he left school, only to be replaced by a mysterious “back pain” when he started work, stacking shelves in a supermarket. His mother assured me that they are staying positive because the pain want the pain to respond to some equally “magical injections”, offered up a treatment because it is “too risky” to operate. In the meantime, she “stays positive” while she scours the internet looking for anything that might help him. Acupuncture, osteopathy and physiotherapy, all made the pain worse. Once the pain is cured he will do a maths GCSE and qualify as an accountant.

I think not.


What happened at school? Did no one look further than his belly for the cause of this pain? What was going on at home? Does he have learning difficulties? GCSEs should be within the grasp of everyone with an average or above IQ. So what went wrong? If he couldn’t go into school – why not? Bullying, anxiety or were parental problems being acted out? This young man certainly looked capable of getting GCSE Maths, whether he could go on to qualify as an accountant is another matter.

Has no one thought to refer him to a psychologist? If we are living in an age of enlightenment that meets the educational needs of children, a school assessment was appropriate. If the reason this young lad did not attend school was a ‘mystery condition’, then perhaps a General Practitioner worthy of their title “Doctor” could reasonably inquire into his intellectual and emotional well being, and have referred him to Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMS). Equally the school might have. It is not a lot to ask.

Could the present outcome have been avoided? Where a young man seems destined to spend the rest of his life in his bedroom the house of his parents house, scared to go out lest he damages his back, even though his scans are all but normal? Maybe not, current mental health services are little beyond Witchery, but that is not a reason to set out with an end in mind.

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