a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Dang Back

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dang Back

SUMMARY: Lower back is not a happy back.

As I mentioned in this previous post, my lower back has not been happy for a while.

Doc had ordered x-rays of my lower back when he prescribed the prednisone 3 weeks ago. The physical therapy evaluator went over them with me two weeks ago: A touch of scoliosis (this is new), one vertebra out of alignment forward, one out of alignment towards the back. Recommended NO chiropractic work because of this. Also serious degenerative disk disease/arthritis in my L3/4/5 region. It wasn't pretty. She also strongly suggested that I get up an move around at least every 30 minutes whenever I'm sitting (which is a large part of my life, at the computer). I'm tryin'.

Then I went to a group Back Clinic (Kaiser offers for free because it's so helpful, they say) this past Monday. Interesting stuff, quite a bit of which I already knew, but some of which I didn't. After a week, my back actually might be feeling a bit better trying to use some of the techniques presented there--

However, on the down side, was referred to a sports/orthopedic spine specialist Friday because now it's not only some toes that are a bit numb, but my shins, also. She thinks nothing to be terribly concerned about (numbness) but did say that it's unusual to see so much arthritis in the lower back of someone my age. Great. By which I mean, not great. She prescribed a nonnarcotic pain med, which I've taken a couple of and that helps, too.

She also recommended an MRI to try to get a complete picture of where I am and also as a guide in case I decide that I want a cortisone (?) shot in my back. Trying to avoid that if I can. I got the MRI Friday evening. (Had an MRI back in 2000 during my last *very* bad back period, so I knew what to expect.) It's noisy but they gave me plenty of ear protection and a prewarmed blanket! Very nice! So I just closed my eyes and practiced clearing my mind and relaxing for 20 minutes while in the machine.

Too soon to know the results yet.

I didn't ask, "Will I ever be able to go backpacking again?", in part because I haven't done so in over 20 years, so somehow it seems unlikely that I would again, anyway. But I want to be *able* to, you know?

Back exercise classes start tomorrow.

And we go from there.


  1. Man Ellen....this seems like a lot. I vote for lots of back exercises and walks, hoping that makes some of it better!

    1. Thanks, yes, exercises. But my foot is still sore so I'm still not supposed to be using it much. I'm on the verge of saying screw it, I'm walkin'.