Knowledge is Power for Back Pain

* Background to my symptoms including potential causes...

I am going to be 60 this coming April. Fitness has been an integral part of my life. I loved boxing and cardio kick boxing. In the 80's, I was deeply involved in high impact aerobics. I had a trainer much of the time and was told I had a strong back.

Diagnostic history including MRI results:

X-rays - 10/10/10... Spondy grade 2 with moderate nerve root compression (foraminal stenosis) L5 on S1, dextrascoliosis - mild; disc herniation L3/4

MRI - spondy grade 1-2, moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis

Nerve conduction test - Mild

Treatment history including how well each worked:

Consulted a surgeon in 11/10. Was told that surgery was at this point a quality of life issue.

Began physical therapy in mid October - no chiro work as I have a pars fracture which caused spondy issue. So, began decompression on a machine 3x a week, manual manipulation and ab core hollowing exercises. Am still in therapy as of this writing - 3x a week.

Did I find relief? Am I still in pain?

I have had a tremendous amount of pain from the foraminal stenosis. For three months, pt was the only source of relief in terms of traditional treatment. One month ago, I began to understand the nature of the mind-body connection. I began to understand that my fear was in part causing my exacerbated symptoms - although the pain was real. I began to sit with myself and began to understand that order to manage this condition I would have to find a more holistic approach. I saw the surgeon's partner who is a pain management doctor. He and I partnered to begin my use of Neurontin for the radiculopathy that causes most of my pain. I am on 2 pills a day 200mg. It has reduced some of the pain - but not all. I am ok with this. As the doctors and pt say, the goal for me is to not have surgery.

What effect has back pain had on my life?

I am becoming much more reflective as a result of this spondy/radiculopathy condition. It is showing me the importance of the mind/body connection. My condition is very real. I do not have the nocebo effect. But I do have the power to gain knowledge and to deepen my connections with those that are likewise affected. I want to say that I am feeling much more grateful for that which I have in life. Before this condition, I was pushing and controlling everything I did. Now, I am finding the balance between dealing with a chronic condition and a positive mindset.

There may come a point at which I will have to have surgery. As I do not have cauda equina, the time is not now. And so, each day, I do my exercises and remain as active as I can. Additionally, I stay as positively focused as possible. - Ellen



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