I’ve written before about health problems and fitness. Being motivated to get fit when your body is less functional than others can be a real barrier to people trying to get into shape for so many reasons. It’s not just the physical restrictions, but the mental and emotional ones which can hold you back. It certainly has for me from time to time. But for me recently, just getting up, dressed and to work has been a but of a challenge. I love my job so motivation is not the issue, it’s purely physical challenges holding me back. Or my back to be specific.
After another bout of back pain and no improvements, I pressed my Doctor once again for help. I have a new GP who is really great and responsive and she agreed to send me for an MRI scan on my lower back. Really I should have had this years ago. I’ve had back problems since I was a kid but have never actually had anyone look at my spine so see what’s really going on.
I’ve had physio multiple times which helped a bit or helped for a while then wham, my back would go again and I’m back to square one.
They referred me to a hospital a lone way away from my house and the appointment came through to attend on the morning of my 35th birthday. Excellent present right?! On the day, my boyfriend came along with me for the trek which included a huge road traffic jam and a train signal failure – you got to love a glorious commute right?
The hospital was great though, apart from the mean lady who told me and my boyfriend off for playing music in the waiting room – as if we were 14 – when it had nothing to do with us and was the club classic ring tone of the elderly lady in the corner! Made us giggle a lot.
I’ve had an MRI scan before on my head which was not my favourite thing as it’s a pretty confined space and I’m rather claustrophobic. This would prove to be a feet first scan – much better than head first but having to stay completely still when you have a bad back isn’t the easiest thing. Also I couldn’t help noticing how much the tube I was being fed into looked like the stone pizza oven in the restaurant at work… into the flamesss oh god nooo… unsettling.
And then a wait for the results.
I was expecting to find a problem – actually I was hoping to find a problem to explain what on earth has been going on all this time.
I wasn’t quite prepared for how much was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware it could be so much worse. But I was very emotional when I finally sat down with the result sheet and worked through all the Dr speak on the page.
Turns out I have two slipped discs, one bulge and one nearly 50% poking out, a tear in one, dehydrated discs and the beginnings of osteoarthritis.
Translation – its buggered. That’s what 8 years in a warehouse does for you.
It looks like it’s been like this for a long time. Over the years they have been sending me for treatment for muscle issues rather than discs which possibly explains why I’ve not made much of a recovery.
Next up for me is a wait for an appointment with another physiotherapist. Hopefully armed with this information they can help sort me out a bit, or at least offer advice on how to maintain and not degenerate too quickly.
The other alternative is surgery which until I am at a point where I can’t function properly I won’t be considering. I am not up for that sort of risk digging about around my spine. No thanks. That said I am glad I do have options for the future.
I consider myself very lucky. Despite my knobbly spice I am able for the most part to get on with my life and do the things I love. I have been making adjustments for so long it’s second nature and doesn’t feel like a drag. Well not too much of a drag. It’s a very good job I’m not a sportsperson. That would be a heck of a change and I have huge admiration for people who have had a physical condition which makes them have to battle for their passions.
Writing, cooking and gaming are not exactly high impact pursuits but actually for me sitting down for long periods or leaning forward are my danger zones. Hazardous as hell! Almost as dangerous as putting my socks on, brushing my teeth, and sneezing! Someone call the Xgames, I am living an extreme life here! International Slipped Disc Sneezing is a sport I could truly excel at.
And yet, through making changes to my routine and being mindful of these dangerous pursuits I am able to get up gently, brush my teeth, get dressed and survive a cold.
Nothing has actually changed from this week to last, but I am now better informed, and have a better chance at staying healthier and maybe even more mobile for longer than before.
In the meantime, I’d say its time for a large piece if cake.