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my body's falling apart!

October 11th, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Gah. I'm 41 and I feel like an old lady!

Every day for the past 7 years I have woken up with some degree of lower back pain. It never goes away really. Yes yes, I know, I let it go for soooo long. But, it started when I had my youngest son, and with two little boys 18 months apart in age to take care of, plus bosses to please, taking care of myself fell to the bottom of the list. It's bad, but that's reality. Probably not just for me.

I did try to take care of my back. I had a personal trainer who was wonderful (until she moved away...), I've done a lot of fitness challenges. I lift weights and do abs nearly every weekday. But nothing helped. I figured it's back pain, ergo there's no cure and no one will be able to help me. My main doctor even just shrugged like oh well, nothing we can do when I told her about it.

So, I finally went to the spine specialist. the x-rays were gruesome. I apparently have advanced degenerative disc disease, but just in 1 disc, between the last lumbar and the first sacral vertebrae (basically an inch or two below my belly button only on the back side). Doc said it's like a marshmallow that's been squished. All the other discs are fine.

So, after some talking it through, we determined that my slow decline to constant pain began with an accident at age 24, when a lady in an SUV ran a stop sign and hit me while I was riding my bike. Then, it was exacerbated by carrying two large babies in back to back pregnancies with no time for my abs to recover. Yay.

I am pretty bummed. My Grandmother's spine pretty much disintegrated in her later years, and she sat in a chair all day in constant excruciating pain. I'm trying NOT to end up like that.

The doctor seemed pretty upbeat. He rattled off a list of things they can do for me, and we're going to start with the least invasive and work our way down the list. Basically, I'm starting a round of 18 physical therapy sessions to tighten abs, etc. Then, if that doesn't work, some sort of shot in my back to numb and or kill the nerve? I don't know. I stopped listening a bit when they started talking about needles and surgery.

So yeah.... Sorry for the health rant. This is weird for me. I've always been relatively fit and sporty. And tall (Thanks to this disc, I've shrunk from 5'9 to 5'8" Boo.)
No prescriptions, no surgeries, no other health issues.

It's frustrating to me to have an incurable condition that will affect me for the rest of my life. ( I know it could be worse, but constant pain really puts a damper on your outlook). And, I don't like the idea that my exercise might get limited. I've heard no more running, etc., but I'll ask the therapist before I assume.

So yes. therapy starts today. I have my fingers crossed it works. The prospect of a pain free life sounds awesome!

9 Responses to “my body's falling apart!”

  1. Bluebird Says:

    Sorry to hear of the health issue, but glad you're taking steps to improve your situation. I hope the PT really helps!

  2. rob62521 Says:

    I am so sorry. Glad you are seeing someone and please realize treatments have improved so much in the past few years so maybe you won't wind up like your grandmother. Hope that therapy helps. I injured my back last spring and although I had back pain here and there before, it was so bad, I was in tears and I normally can handle some pain. I've been seeing a chiropractor and I do exercises and ride a recumbent bike which is supposed to be easier on the back. Hope your therapy helps.

  3. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    OMG I hope there is something you can do. Sounds excrutiating. Yikes.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I'm so sorry! You are young, though, and already fit, so those two things will help you a lot. Physical therapy can make an amazing difference, but if you have to go with surgery, they can do wonderful things these days. At least you've isolated the problem, and now you can look forward to alleviating your pain.

  5. snafu Says:

    If personal trainer of the past was able to help your pain, it sounds hopeful for least invasive PT. While injections/shots sound horrid, if it's a short course, the relief is astronomical. My experience was an awkward broken arm at elbow as a kid. Never knitted together perfectly; discussion of surgical repair offered dismal odds. Fast forward 25 years and I had a serious problem. 1st shot hurt but fully functional by the time I waked out of the clinic. 2nd shot a decade later keeps it functioning normally except in the coldest weather when an [ugly] brace is needed.

    I too am frustrated as went to a scheduled Ophthalmologist appointment and he identified a serious problem, I'm back on the medico carousel. yuck

  6. Tabs Says:

    Oooh that's more serious than I thought. I am particularly paranoid in protecting my entire lower body joints. I've thrown my back out before that took a full month just to recover. I've seen my co-workers with worse pains. I am hoping not to end up like them anytime soon. Anyways, at least they know what is the source of the pain so that's the first step to getting better.

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I went to my first appointment (the assessment) and my homework is to completely redo my work station to make it spine neutral. So... I had to buy a laptop stand to lift it up to eye level and change work chairs. Apparently, everyone who works at a desk should get up every 15 minutes and walk around for a minute, and, should change positions frequently, as in have a sit down desk and a standing desk and take turns. I don't really have room for both, so I will have two seating options-- work chair and a pilates exercise ball to sit on. Apparently, then you're working your abs and back while you're sitting AND having good posture. The laptop stand and keyboard combination is taking some getting used to. And it's ugly! There goes my awesome interior design sense! Wink

  8. PatientSaver Says:

    Sounds like you have a decent doc. I would consider surgery as a very last resort, if i considered it at all. Of course, I'm not in the kind of pain you are and you are pretty young. But i think the physical therapy is a great place to start and i would work hard to make that work if at all possible.

    I am sure you do have many more options than your grandmother did. So sorry to hear this, but anyway, it sounds like you are on the right path wit the work station modifications.

  9. ThriftoRama Says:

    Thanks guys. I'm in okay shape considering. Apparently, I have greater range of motion (I can touch my toes and bend backwards) than most people with my condition. They were even surprised I could still run, although I'm sad because they told me to stop! We'll see how it goes. They seemed pretty confident they could help me and I wouldn't be living in pain forever, so hopefully they are correct.

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