Friday, July 2, 2010

Doctor, Doctor...Give Me the News...

OK, I dont even know if I even have mentioned this in the past couple of weeks on here, probably not, but I have been having some lower back issues.  Looking back now and after visiting with the doctor, I know exactly when the trigger to my 'diagnosis' occurred. 

One morning I was reaching up to a high shelf in my closet for my pink purse :o), and at the same time I sneezed.  Now when I sneeze I let it all out.  Its a full on body sneeze...When I did this I felt a 'pull' and for several days I was sore, so I knew I had pulled something.  It resided a bit if I remember correctly, not sure...but then I started having these back pains (on the left side; lower) that were excruciating.  Mostly during the day to be honest.  Whenever I would go to sit down or stand up it was awful.  Again, I thought hmm...must have pulled something, or its just residual from the newly boot-tay camp I was doing etc...After 2 weeks of that, and not even ibuprofen or anything helping to alleviate the pain, I knew I needed to have it checked out. 

Yesterday I did just that.  I found a doctor through friends at the Bone and Joint clinic in the Texas Medical Center and there I sat.  I almost cancelled the appointment because yesterday morning I felt fine...but as the day progressed the pain increased.

They put me through a series of XRays and some 'movements'...then the doc came in and we chatted some...again with some more 'tests'.  One of which was using the little hammer they use to check reflexes.  Both knees?  Check.  Right achilles?  Check.  Left achilles?  Um. Um. Um.  Nothing. My foot just sat there.  Now thinking back to after the Houston Marathon in January, for 3 weeks I had no feeling in my toes on my left foot.  Its also the same foot that I most recently experienced Plantar with (which is now gone thankfully)...this sealed the deal for him with the no reflex thing, in conjunction with the xray findings, I have what they call 'degenerative disk disease'.  Now after that, we began discussing the 'level' at which it has deteriorated, which surgery or anything like that is irrelevant in my case.  I have what they call a "lumbar strain".  He prescribed of course some muscle relaxers, some physical therapy (deep tissue massage, ultrasound and electrical shock (whaaat?), heat 2-3 times a day etc.

And no running.

Heres the thing...when I run it doesnt hurt!!!!!!!!!!  However I will take some 'precautions' over the next 2 weeks till I have to go back to see him.  I didnt run last night, nor will I run today.  I will do my long run tomorrow, take Sunday off...What I think I might do is run a day, take 2 days off.  And the days that I run (other than my long run), I will keep it at 3-4 miles.  On the days I am not running, I will hit the gym and walk on the treadmill for an hour, and do some weights. 

Here is some information that I have found out through my research:

A large part of many patients’ confusion is that the term “degenerative disc disease” sounds like a progressive, very threatening condition. However, this condition is not strictly degenerative and is not really a disease.

Part of the confusion probably comes from the term "degenerative", which implies to most people that the symptoms will get worse with age. The term applies to the disc degenerating, but does not apply to the symptoms. While it is true that the disc degeneration is likely to progress over time, the low back pain from degenerative disc disease usually does not get worse and in fact usually gets better over time.   Yay!

Another source of confusion is probably created by the term "disease", which is actually a misnomer. Degenerative disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc.  The low back pain is generally made worse with sitting (um YES!) since in the seated position the lumbosacral discs are loaded three times more than standing.

The pain may start after a major injury (such as from a car accident), a minor injury (such as a fall from a low height), or a normal motion (such as bending over to pick something up)  Hello big ass sneeze in an awkward position!! 

Certain types of activity will usually worsen the low back pain, especially sitting, bending, lifting and twisting.

Walking, and even running, may actually feel better than prolonged sitting or standing.  Um.  Yes.  This IS true.  The pain is 200 times worse during the day while I am at work.  My plan for the time I am at work is to about every hour is to get up and go take a walk over to the next building and back.  We have a 'campus' here which is 5 buildings and all connected by tunnel so its easy for me to do regardless of weather.

Patients will generally feel better if they can change positions frequently, and lying down is usually the best position since this relieves stress on the disc space.

So there you go.  Just have to take it easy for a couple of weeks, recover from the strain and we're good.  I fully  intend to keep training for Chicago!!!  11 weeks to taper!!!


Sandy said...

Hey June!

URGH...I too was diagonosed with Degenerative Disk Disease and had to have surgery in 2001. I still sufferred from pain for years after but it was no where near the level before surgery...until I started doing yoga and the pain vanished...gone...kaput.

I have my setbacks every now and again with a strain here and there and I always go back to yoga and I'm better in no time.

I sympathize with your pain and I hope you find relief soon.

Junie B said...

thats great! as a matter of fact just about 15 min ago i made an appt for a yoga session on sunday morning! figured they would be closed, but they are open in the morning.

Bert said...

Sorry to hear about your injury - hopefully it responds well to the treatment, you seem to have a good fix on it. I used to have a lot of lower back issues which all disappeared when I started doing serious and regular ab/core workouts.

Ali said...

Bummer! I hope your injury disappears soon.

Mel said...

Get well soon! Sorry to hear about the injury.

Good news is that the PT with the deep massage, ultrasounds, shocks, etc actually feels great when you get used to it. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, it freaking hurts. It hurts in a good way, like foam rolling sometimes does. I had all of that done for my leg issue 3 years ago and am all betta. I was scared at first, but I got used to what they did and how it felt and I started looking foward to it, because I knew it was helping me heal

Junie B said...

well crap. i knew it was going to hurt i am going to be anxious...

Lauren said...

You have an amazing mental attitude about this and I think that will help you get better quickly too :D I like the "11 weeks to taper" thing... I may steal that! ;)