Well, well, well. What a month. It was a lot of good news and bad news this month. If you’ve been reading my facebook posts, you probably have an idea about the back trouble I’ve been having. Long story short, my back took a turn for the worse around August 1st. What I was experiencing was some pretty significant sciatica pains that were really bad when I walked or stood for any length of time. I tried a chiropractor, but my symptoms just seemed to get worse. I decided to visit a “Spine Care” clinic in town who is affiliated with the Medical College.
I saw a physiologist who was VERY concerned with my symptoms because on first glance he said I had a herniated disc, but I was not “presenting” as though that was the problem. He thought that perhaps I had spinal stenosis (which if you know anything about back problems is very, very bad and debilitating). He sent me to get an MRI, at which point I was just so sad. What happens if this would go on for the rest of my life and degenerate to the point of being wheelchair bound. Terrifying, really. In the meantime, he put me on some anti-inflammatory medication and some pain medication, and I saw a physical therapist.
On Monday I returned to get my results. I was pleased to discover, thank God, that it was not spinal stenosis, but a herniated disc that is just acting weird. So the herniation is impinging on the sciatic nerve and for some reason is being irritated when I stand and walk. However, the pain medication and the anit-inflammatories were not working, so they put me on some stronger meds.
While this may sound like good news, the doctor was still concerned because herniated discs can do their own damage, spinal stenosis or no. So, he prescribed physical therapy immediately. I’m way too young for surgery (and rates of success are pretty low anyways), and he didn’t want to jump right to steroid injections (again can have little or no effect on the pain).
Again thank the Lord because the pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs that they put me on started to work. At this point, I am not pain-free, but I am able to walk for some distance, stand for a longer time, and I’m not in excruciating pain. I had a physical therapy appointment yesterday and the therapist was VERY happy to see my progress. Even though I am still walking pretty gingerly, she said I look completely different than I did even a week ago. I have to admit, I feel differently than I did a week ago. While I still have some pain and I have to be careful as to how much I aggrivate that nerve, I’m able to walk around, get housework done, and I even have the energy (and desire) to go shopping with friends (even if I have to take frequent breaks), and get on the spin bike to take a ride.
It is going to be an uphill battle, but I feel for the first time in a month that there is an end to all of this out there for me. When I first saw my PT, I asked her what I would have to do to stay pain-free after all of this is over. She said that I’d have to get into the best shape of my life and stay that way for the rest of my life. How’s that for motivation to reach my New Year’s Goals? Apparently I’ll be in constant pain unless I work out and lose weight and get in awesome shape.
Well – here’s to being of strong body…and mind.