29 October 2009

come around

So the news is mostly good from my most recent appointment with Dr. BackPain.  (It was originally scheduled for Nov. 10th, but the office called on Monday to let me know that all the results were ready, so why not come in.)

Did you want the good or the less-than-good news first?  Good?  Okay, we'll go with that.

The good news is that there is no significant pinching of the spinal nerve.  So, that's good.  However, it seems that I have a condition called degenerative disc disease.  That is basically the excessive wear of the invertebral discs in the spine.  Fortunately, it seems that there is only one disc that this is currently a problem for, and that is the disc at the very base of my spine.

There is also no cushioning cartilage  for that vertebrae anymore.  I saw the MRI of my entire spine and all looks good, except for that one spot.  That is, of course, the cause of most of my back pain.  In combination, it seems that I also have a condition called Spondylosis and that has been causing the sciatic pain.

The treatments for such conditions are everything that I have been doing; physical therapy, stretching, heat or cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines.  I'm on about 1300mg of Tylenol Arthritis twice a day and that seems to be working.  The bonus to that is that it's not giving me the yucky side effects that some of the medications were that I was on, so that's good.

But the downside of having these conditions is that I am pretty much supposed to expect some degree of back pain for the rest of my life.  At least until vertebrae and disc transplant becomes a viable option. Because there is no way in hell  in the world that I am going to be able to modify my activity to never bend again.  Oh, yeah.

Dr. BackPain has ordered me to see a neuro-physical therapist twice a week for another six weeks.  Because I guess this therapist can better deal with the issues that my right leg has as a whole. ie: limited range of motion in the ankle, spasticity in the calf muscle, and that I can't wiggle my toes on that side.  blah, blah, blah.

Okay, on to the less-than-good news.....

When I was a child, I knew that my Mom always told doctors that my leg length discrepancy was five-eights of an inch.  So that's what I went with when I had given that information to my primart care provider when I went to see him in August initially.

Yeah, turns out, that was the case while I was growing.....now, not so much.

Those x-rays that I had at the beginning of all this have revealed that indeed, my right leg is shorter than my left.  But not by a measly 5/8"; no, try over one inch.  1.06 inches to be precise.  Yikes.

I should have known when I took off my left shoe in therapy and stood pretty much level that I was in trouble.  Craaaap.

I am still not in a place where I can deal with the mental issue of having an external shoe lift, and I wasn't even going to pretend that I am.  Unfortunately for me, I may never get there, but in order to maintain any kind of comfort, I will probably at some point have to fake it til I make it.

But knowing that I have been spending nearly the last twenty years compensating for the difference and that I'm indeed not in that place yet, Dr. BackPain has given me an order for the maximum internal lift, for now.  Knowing that my body will need time to work up to feeling okay on a level playing field, I have that option and when I have a follow-up appointment in January, we will together reassess to see where I am and what it is that I still need.

So, there ya have it.  For now.

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