Finally I feel like actually writing something. I have been down a long time with some severe back pain. It has been getting worse and worse over the past half-year or so. I had been doing physical therapy to try to strengthen the muscles that support the spine; but the PT didn't really help matters.
One day - December 31, 2008 at around 8:00 A.M. - I was on my knees and sweeping a pile of swept dust into a dust pan when I suddenly sneezed. Boy did that hurt! I was afraid to move. The pain was in the lower back and was very severe. Somehow, after a few minutes I managed to fight my way to my feet. I was as careful as possible the rest of the day and the next.
Now, remember that I had been experiencing severe enough pain that I was already recieving medical treatment for it.
On Friday (2009 Jan 2) I went in to see the doctor again. I informed him that it was time for drugs. I wanted to try to avoid narcotics so he prescribed something called Skelaxin. The agreement was that if it didn't help I would go to a narcotic. Well, I wasn't helped a lick by the Skelaxin. I even wrote about it.
Saturday morning I had the worst back pain of my life. I could barely get out of bed. I carefully rolled out and stood up. Experience up to that point indicated that standing for a few seconds poses severe pain that tapers off to a blunt edge. This was no different; except it was more severe. I wanted to go down on my knees but I knew that moving would hurt worse. I might even faint. Soon, indeed, the pain became tolerable. I did my morning business and announced it is time for the hard stuff. I called the doctor and asked for a stronger prescrip. It turns out I could not get it until Monday (Jan 5). Bummer. If I had known that I would have asked for both prescriptions when I was with the doctor and told him I would only fill the opiate if I felt I needed it.
I sat down at the dinner table and had breakfast. I sat there probably half an hour so I must have been doing something else too. Maybe I was surfing the web or reading something. Anyway, while I sat there my back pain went away. I mean, it was GONE! I thought that was cool; but on another level it was not; for the bottom of my right foot was numb. Maybe it's from sitting too long. I stood up and walked around to try to shake some feeling back into my foot. I was thrilled the pain was gone. I could bend over and all kinds of stuff; plus my upper body strength was back. (It had probably been formerly weak out of sympathy for my weak back). But I had a new problem. I had weakness in my right leg and numbness in my foot!
I decided I would be definitely seeing that back specialist.
To shorten the rest of the story, I had surgery on Feb 5, 2009. This may be a long recovery. Hopefully the feeling and strength in my right leg will return over time.
Below are several MRI pictures of my spine before the surgery. The disk between my L5 and S1 vertebrets had ruptured and some of the inside had leaked out - putting pressure on the S1 nerve root. The surgeon removed the material that had leaked out. My instructions are to avoid any activity that might result in pushing more material out of that disk. Eventually the rupture will scar over - if treated right.
The problem is, according to what I have read, once a disk starts bulging and tearing it's about worn out.
This weakness is probably due to years and years of sit-down jobs.
And years in high school sitting in desks that were too small for my long and lanky back
For further reading see this article.