Thursday, April 11, 2013

I've finally decided to take care of my back...


Since this is a blog for parents of special needs children, to remind them to take time for themselves, I've decided  to let everyone know that well, I did it again. I ignored a major physical issue I was having and lo and behold I caused myself an even bigger problem.

Now I have always had trouble with my back. In fact since I was a cheerleader (yeah I was one of those) and found myself continually on the bottom of pyramids, my back, shall we say, is not what it should have been. Mom always wondered why I was never on the top of the pyramid. Why I let those fat girls climb to the top. They were the shorter ones. So it stood to reason according to our teacher/coach, me being 5 foot 7, that I should be on the bottom of the pyramid, even though I still weighed less.

Truth be told, in my teen years cheerleading wasn't what it is today. It wasn't high-stakes gymnastics overseen by competent coaches who knew a thing or two about sports. In fact when I was in high school our cheerleader instructor was an English teacher. She basically let us do what we wanted to do and quite frankly did next to nothing. We were totally on our own and doing our own thing. It's a wonder we all didn't kill ourselves.




Anyway, years later, after childbirth (Ironically my back felt great during pregnancy) and years at the gym, my back had not really gotten better. I actually went to my family doctor and he took an x-ray showing arthritis in my spine. OK I figured, I have arthritis everywhere. Heck when I had a car accident they had to take extra pictures of my neck because the arthritis hindered their view of the bone. So nope I wasn't surprised by the diagnosis. He sent me to physical therapy. I found it stupid and not useful at all. Stopped after a few weeks. But I kept exercising away.

Years later, yep I said years later, the problem was just getting worse and worse. There were days I couldn't even sit in a chair. I can't tell you how many configurations of my desk hubby went through to try to make me comfortable. In fact after we purchased a new tread climber my back was completely useless. I spent my days laying down on the couch trying to find a way to feel comfortable. Forget sleeping. I couldn't even lay on one side or the other it hurt so much.

Now the hubby hurt his shoulder shoveling snow this winter. It was so bad he couldn't lift his arm and he went to a local osteo doctor. (First he went to the ER it was so painful.) The doc was able to help him, without surgery, and I remembered a woman I knew from the gym telling me that this same doctor had helped her with her back. So I made an appointment. I had really reached my breaking point. I also didn't want to go to the rheumatologist, I wanted someone to take a look at my spine who knew what they were looking at when they looked at bones.

Well the doctor looked. It's not pleasant. Apparently I have a degenerative disc condition. I have worn away the discs in the lower 3 vertebrae of my spine. Plus the reason my hips are so painful is because my body is compensating for the problem in my back adding extra stress to my hips. My muscles have also seized up on the upper part of my tuchas and hamstrings making it difficult for me to bend over and touch my toes.  Oh yeah I have also developed a little scoliosis because of the spine issue. Fun right?

So I'm an idiot. It's official. All along I was ignoring my back issue thinking it was only arthritis and I should take some tylenol for the problem, exercise and it will go away. Not that it ever did go away, but I figured it was what it was and honestly I didn't give myself the time to do for myself. So now I get to take plenty of time for myself.

The doctor put me on steroids for the first week to jump start getting rid of the inflammation. Guess what? I can now touch my toes. YEAH! Now that was fun. I have to admit, it felt good to be able to do that again. (By the way Sheldon touching his toes is exactly what I looked like.)



Then he put me on some strong anti-inflammatory, but I had a bad reaction to the meds (it did to me what cruciferous vegetable night did to Sheldon in the video) so I am just going to take the Tylenol from now on. (Nope didn't call him about the med, don't want to take anything heavy. Tylenol is fine.) He also is sending me to physical therapy. I told him about my past experience and he explained that PT is not to get rid of pain necessarily but to strengthen the right muscles to make it less likely that I will injure myself in the future. He even gave me the name of a PT practice that specializes in lower back injuries.

I have gone to PT now three times and it is nice. I learned what I have been doing wrong, even though I have been exercising. Apparently I haven't been doing the right kind of exercise for my back issue (Figures right. Well if they were the right kind of exercise I probably would not have had the problems I did). They do this heat, electrode stim and area massage to help you get ready to exercise. They also have the arc glider machine there which they are letting me use for cardio. I can't use the treadclimber ever again and even though we have a recumbent bike its not the same kind of workout.



So three times a week for the next 8 weeks at PT and we will see what happens. The doctor wants to see me again. I think I'll go back. Depends if I have the time.


Qi en Pace,


Elise


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