Friday, February 12, 2010

Back Pain

It's been a long time since I've been on here; but have something I feel is significant to share. For years--well since 1979, I've been dealing with low back pain. Actually it started in 1969 at age 9, but resurfaced in 79. Through the years of dealing with the pain in my low back and then eventually becoming a problem in my neck as well, I've been through the following:
* Doctor after doctor
* X-ray after x-ray
* Muscle relaxers upon muscle relaxers
* Anti-inflammatories
* Physical Therapy
* Swimming
* Excuse after excuse instead of, "I'm not sure what is going on, perhaps we should do further testing." Oh no, that would be a waste of time. I've been through this scenario with other problems too. Such as gall bladder problems for 12 years before it was finally diagnosed and taken care of.
The usual scenario was, awww there's nothing wrong with you, lose some weight and you will be fine. I would explain that even when I was at my ideal weight, I had problems. But no one would listen. Each time I've had an episode, it's gotten worse. Recently it's been an ongoing problem to where I can't do much of anything without being in constant pain, at times excruciating and have not been very active. For me, this is a sentence. I hate being idle.
I've been seeing a chiropractor who has been outstanding. He had me doing really good, but then I took a turn for the worst and have not been able to recoup fully. Finally he had me see my doctor and requested she send me in for an MRI! Finally! Someone was listening and was concerned.
Well the MRI was over, it was discovered--as everyone figured--there is a lot of RA (rheumatoid arthritis) in there plus a lot of thinning, 3 bulging discs in the lower area and 3 in the neck area, and degeneration of the discs. Oh there is nothing wrong with me. :D
Of course my first reaction to the diagnosis was, "great! I don't think I can live with becoming an invalid!" My husband looks at me with the sweetest look and says, "yes you can, I will take Care of you." Awww, melted my heart, but didn't calm me none. I know, how selfish. I felt bad afterwards.
But some good came of this. I was finally sent to a spine institute and found there is great hope for getting back to being as normal as possible. I will be going through a procedure called sacroiliac joint injection. This is where they take a thin needle and inject a filler, steroids, and numbing stuff in the area needed. In my case it will be in the S1 area on both the left and right. He will also be putting me on Topamax which will do a number of things for me that will improve my life immensely--that is, if it all works. The success rate is very high, but there is always that possibility of it not working. My hopes are high.
My point of this article is to encourage you all to never give up. If you meet a dead end in one area, go to a new area. In other words, if you feel you are not getting the right answer, get a second opinion. If you feel you are not being taken serious about your condition, let them know, ask for a second opinion by a doctor of your choice, not theirs, keep searching. I wish I had. All these years of suffering when something could have been done before it got to this point.
Doctors can and do make mistakes. They are human. Do your research on them and make sure they are versed in your area of need. If you are being seen for something; are not getting any better or are getting worse; see someone else. Sometimes your doctor may not be aware of some issues. Some are equipped to understand something better than others. Just don't give up. Persistence will get you the help you need. On the other hand--don't be pushy and/0r snotty about it either. It may take you a long time to get the help you need then. Persistence can be done without getting all pushy about it.
I would love to hear from anyone experiencing the same or similar things and what is happening with you. If any one has had success would love to hear from you. Let's keep one another informed so we can all be healthier, happier individuals. :)

Disclaimer:Don't take this as a slam on medical personnel. That is not my intention by writing this, as there are good professionals out there, but we must learn to find them and be insistent when being treated as just a number or a waste of time.

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