Monday, April 30, 2012

Do Not Fear the Chiropractor! aka Runners and CrossFitters with Degenerative Disc

At my appointment today I wanted to whip out my camera phone so bad and take a photo of the xrays of my back and neck.  But I felt weird doing it with the doctor standing there, so I didn't.

The one thing that I was not surprised about was exactly where the degenerative disc is located since I saw that 2 years ago on another xray with the mean doctor downtown.  Thats all he focused on and I guess rightfully so since I had gone in for extreme lower back pain, but like I said he was mean and basically told me to quit running right then and there.

Right.  Second opinion was next.  Anyway back on track...

What a chiropractor will do is show you the whole kit and kaboodle.  Prior to taking xrays they did this other thing, kinda like a bone scan I guess, where they roll this thing up and down your back and it picks up any 'negatives' or 'anomolies' in your spine and assign a number/color to it.  Also not surprised that there was a lot of red bars towards my lower back.

However there were some red bars a bit higher up and even so far up as in my neck.  The x rays showed the same thing; in the neck I mean.
Not my neck x ray, however it shows what a bone spur looks like, and I do have 2 of them (small).  Mine are 1 at the top  of the five vertebrae that you see, and then at the bottom.  I also have a narrowing of the disk in the exact same place as the photo.
Additionally my neck is definitely off kilter and needs adjusting as well.  Just because I haven't had any pain from it, doesn't mean that I won't at some point if anything jarring occurs to set it all in motion.

So.  On to my back issue; again I don't have a picture of my x ray, but here is a photo to give you an idea of what disc degeneration is (and we ALL have it occurring; just takes something trivial or non-trivial to make it become a nuisance).

Mine is probably more like the 2nd one, probably not THAT bad, but bad enough to where it is pinching the sciatic.  What we are trying to avoid is the one that says Degenerative disc, since that puppy looks almost gone bye bye!
Here is another photo giving you an idea of the inflammation of the nerve ending
I wasn't quit sure what to expect, but after going over all the x rays I went in for another 10 min of e-Stim, then about 10 minutes of massage.  I still have one knot of muscle that is (was) EXTREMELY sensitive and it hurt like hell whenever she would attempt to rub it out.  She did what she could without me coming off the table, then it was time to wait for Dr. Batterton and my first 'adjustment'.

Initially Dr. Miller had gone over my x rays, so I thought she was going to be doing the adjustments but I was happy when Dr. Batterton came and got me.  At first she just used this tool; best way to describe its like a nail gun or an air gun, and when pressed to the skin where it needs to go and 'pulling the trigger' it feels like pressure but not to where you hear anything cracking; more just like its moving whatever it needs to move tiny tiny teensy movements.  She worked on my lower back and then my neck with this contraption.

Then she placed her hands along a certain area in my lower back, told me to take a deeeep breath, breathe out and when I did that, she pushed and I heard the crack.  Then she did it again.  It doesn't really hurt, but what little pain there was, was instananeous and quickly was gone.

Once she was done with that, she had me lay on one side, one leg straight, the other bent, then did something weird with one arm (felt like a pretzel), then I honestly dont remember what she did because a) I had my eyes closed and b) it was over before I knew what she had done.  All I heard was a crackle/pop, felt it crackle/pop and she was telling me to roll over to the other side.  :/


Then it was over.  For today....I go back Wednesday for another adjustment.

As I am writing this, I actually feel tons better.  There is some residual soreness in my SI joint, hindering me a bit, but nothing compared to the last couple of weeks, and the past couple of days.


So remember on Friday after my initial 'treatment' how great I was feeling? Well by Saturday morning I wasn't quite as elated.  There was some discomfort still, not sure why I thought I was miraculously cured, but I already knew I wasn't going to be running for a few days.  Looks like its going to be a bit longer than that....anyway, I hopped on the bike and rode 17 miles and was extreeeeeeeeeeeemely careful on a couple of the roads leading me to the bike paths that are very uneven and bumpy to raise my booty up to avoid any unnecessary jarring.

I stopped a few times during the 17 miles to get off the bike and just stretch a bit and really I felt 'ok'.  Not great, but ok.

After coming home, I iced etc., and while I did experience some returning pain  throughout the day, it wasn't horrible, but it did dampen my spirits...
Sad Face
Sunday morning my plan was to get up feeling much better and head to Buffalo Bayou to do 5 miles.  And when I say 'do' I mean [walk].


Well when I got up, the pain was definitely back and I just iced and stretched until it felt a bit better, then headed out.  I haven't run the bayou in so long, and while I was anxious to experience all the new renovations to the path etc., I was not really looking forward to walking the 5 miles.

Again I stopped multiple times along the way to throw the legs up to stretch them which seemed to help as I went along, I could feel the sciatic tensing up (shortening), and it did seem to help.

 I don't know...but by Sunday afternoon I was in so much pain it was difficult to sit, lay or do anything.  However in my attempt to feel better, I was putting some biofreeze on my back and while doing it I was concentrating on really pushing into the skin; like giving myself a massage.  As best as I could that is.  What I noticed was the harder I pushed and the longer I went, the time span of it hurting would decrease.

Ah.  The massaging was working so I kept at it off and on until I went to bed and when I woke up this morning there was no more of the intense pain I had had yesterday afternoon.

So after all of that, and then today at the chiropractor, I am seriously taking the next few days COMPLETELY off.  Even though I feel so much better, I need to make this residual crap gone, and I figure since I haven't exactly been resting and really tending to this issue, I should at least just give myself a break for the next couple of days.

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