If he'd lived, would Moon's back be killing him?

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 10 07:09:16 CST 2008

>From the Daily Mail: 


Backache calling ... Nick Headon reveals the treatment  that helped his back pain

  Last week, I came out of rehab and am delighted that the treatment seems to have worked. 


I'm not talking about "treatment" normally associated with rock stars. This was to get my back into shape, so it no longer feels as if it belongs to an 80-year-old man.

 It's hardly rock 'n' roll to worry about posture when you're a drummer in a worldfamous band. When you're young, you don't think about the future.

 Keith Moon died before his back seized up but almost all professional drummers end up with problems. I've heard that Ginger Baker, drummer with Cream, has paid the price.

 I joined The Clash when I was 21. I'd been drumming since I was 13, when my father – a headmaster – bought me a drumkit to cheer me up after I broke my leg at football.

 I was hooked – and practised, hunched in the same position, for six hours a day. Bad posture was the last thing on my mind because I was determined to be a rock star and join a band.

 Over the next few years I played in local bands but life really changed in 1977, the start of my career with The Clash. Hits such as London Calling and Rock The Casbah, which I cowrote, just kept on coming.

 I spent every single day of the five years I was with the band drumming – whether we were touring, in the studio or just practising. I was barely off the stool.

 There was plenty of drinking and there were drugs. And it is fair to say I over-indulged. Stupidly, I was too busy partying to notice I had become a liability to the band. Eventually, after one too many missed rehearsals, they sacked me.

 To be honest, I didn't realise that any particular damage to my back had occurred at this point but this was because I was so out of it much of the time.

I spent the next 26 years in a mess. Despite receiving plenty of royalties from my time with The Clash, I was bankrupt and homeless for a long period, staying on friends' sofas and busking on the Underground because I had spent everything on living the high life. I spent a year in prison for a drug offence in 1986.

 Four years ago, I finally cleaned up my act and have stayed that way. I was determined to get fit enough to get back on the road.

 But I began to feel a horrible nagging pain in my lower back and tightness between the shoulder blades. It wasn't a sharp, agonising pain but a persistent grinding, nagging pain that made me constantly tired.

 I started yoga and Pilates - both of which were useful but only because they made me stronger and more relaxed.

Desperate for help – I'm 52 and at my age things could only get worse – I looked on the internet and found the Scoliosis SOS Treatment Centre in Suffolk, a specialised 'rehab' with constant exercise to correct posture, realign the spine and strengthen the trunk muscles.

 The regime is gruelling. I was in a group of 12 and we worked from 10am to 5pm every day for two weeks, each with our own physiotherapist who gave us a tailor-made programme.

 My physio had me hanging from wallbars to straighten my back and lying on the floor with little bean bags as wedges under my shoulders to get into the correct position when lying flat.

 I had to lift light weights while lying flat on the floor so that I stretched out to lengthen muscles at the front of my trunk and shorten the muscles at the back.

 I also had to lie on an exercise ball and arch backwards stretching and correcting my posture. It was tough and exhausting. Because the clinic was quite a distance from home, I stayed at a nearby hotel. I live with my partner Melissa, who I met two years ago, and her daughter Uisce, seven, near Dover, Kent.

 Now I'm off Arthrotec, the anti-inflammatory/painkiller my GP had prescribed, and I'm almost pain-free.

 A few weeks ago, I played a gig with my old Clash bandmate Mick Jones. I made sure I sat correctly – back and neck straight, spine stretched in an elongated straight line – as they had taught me in rehab.

 I have to do my exercises for half an hour every day. I'm determined not to have back problems again because I could end up in a back brace and that's definitely not rock 'n' roll.


 Nick has hyperkyphosis, a rounded back or excessive forward curve of the spine (scoliosis is when it curves to the side).   

 The ScolioGold treatment he took raises postural awareness, reduces pain and improves back shape appearance. Dr Olga Gronowska-Szczecina, orthopaedic consultant at the Scoliosis SOS Centre, says: "If the body slouches forward with rounded shoulders, over time the posture becomes 'normal.' The muscles around the chest and between the ribs at the front become short and tight, but overstretched across the back.

 "We taught Nick to use his trunk muscles to correct this postural imbalance by stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak muscles."

 A two-week ScolioGold course costs £1,800.  


-Brian in Atlanta 

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