3.25.2008

My back diagnosis and back pain help.

I've been receiving emails from friends and family about my appointment with the neurosurgeon yesterday. Thank you for all your prayers, emails and concerns. I really appreciate it.

So the results are two things.

One, that curve (from side-to-side) that my chiropractor first found on x-ray, which the neurosurgeon also saw on the CT scan, is Scoliosis. I guess it's more predominant in women (2%) than in men, and for some people, like myself, I have it and it's unexplained. Ugh. So I have a curved spine which could be the culprit behind my back pain. He's unsure. But he does know that I have a herniated disk in my upper back, which is rare in the thoracic spine, but it's there. Ugh again. Good thing is, he doesn't think surgery is necessary because I'm not in excruciating pain and it's been slowly "herniating" (for lack of a better word) for a long time. It's just an annoying all-the-time dull aching pain which really is a pain. That's all. Some days are worse than others and I have noticed it hurts a lot more after a day working at my desk (in my very uncomfortable chair).

Thankfully the results aren't any worse than they are because I would be freaking out right now if I were to have back surgery. Good grief, I'm only 32. Neil's question was, "what now? Do we just wait for it to get bad?". And my answer was "I don't know?". I didn't ask that question. I guess I should have but when you're there and in shock after being told what you were just told, all the appropriate questions don't just pop into your head at that time like they should. But he said that if/when the pain gets worse, to see him. (Ugh again.)

At least I have answers now. It just doesn't seem right that I have to deal with this pain, but the flip-side of that is surgery and I do not ever want that. The doctor said at this point surgery would be worse than better for me. So I'll just deal. At least it's not a tumor or infection, which the doctor pointed out that that is not what this is. Thank God.

Speaking of all this, did any of you see the report on Good Morning America this morning on neck alignment and blood pressure? The report was on the very thing that I talked about a while back with my own neck and how it's at a -2 degree when it should be at a 45 degree angle. (Imagine a banana being pulled backwards -- that's my neck!) The chiro thinks my headaches, sinus infections all the time, etc., are a cause of my neck being so extremely out-of-whack. That is exactly what this report was about this morning. Made me realize that my chiro himself is not wacko (like some doctors seem to think) and that I'm there for the right reason. Hopefully I'll get my neck back into place sooner than later (and my back, too!). Here is the report.

Then I also found some other articles which, if you suffer from back pain, you might want to read:

This one was the most intriguing for me! How Your Chair Could be The Culprit
Three Minutes a Day to Keep Back Pain Away
Herbal Cures for Back Pain
Back Pain? Don't Sit Up Straight

The doctor gave me a copy of my CT scan on CD but I can't seem to get it to work. My computer is not recognizing any of the files. I thought it would be fun to share my back with you all :c) I'll try it on Neil's PC.

Thanks again for your cares and prayers.

22 comments:

Jennifer said...

I would suggest going to a bone density specialist and get started on a treatment to strengthen the bones so that the scoliosis don't get worse the older you get. my friend evelyn is on a daily treatment and her bones have already improved and it's been less than a yr. since she was diagnosed...and by the way she just 40!!
I'm all about preventive medicine! So this is just my(free:) advice as a friend and a nurse. I would also start a daily regiment of 1 tablespoon of pure cod liver oil in the summer and 2tlb in the winter...and believe me my friend you will appropriate this advice yrs away!! Cod liver oil is great for soooo many things!!

Cod Liver Oil can be bought at any Fitness/Nut. store. and no pills, just the pure stuff you have to take by a spoon..you like sushi right..hehe

love ya girly...

Jennifer said...

Val, you know acupuncture is always an option too for the pain. my mother(the biggest chicken in the world) did it and she will be the first to tell you it fixed her back in 2 visits. She said it didn't hurt at all either.

just another thought:)

JaimeM said...

Wow, just now getting to read all this. Thank you for visiting me over at my little blog. I am glad to see you have at least some answers to your pain. Good to know your chiro is not whacky either. There are some great ones and some not, but thankfully looks like you got a good one! I'm a massage therapist by trade (not currently practicing) and have met both kinds. :)

SuperMom said...

Oh dear! Good, I suppose, to have a diagnosis, but frustrating not to be able to do something about it. :(

Johanna said...

Oh girl..... Glad it is not something worse that it is. Did they not check you for that in grade school every year? I am wondering if you have always had that or if it is a new development. We had to get tested for it every year in grade and high school.

I was thinking.... i wonder if you could get your insurance to pay for (at least part) of that desk chair. I wonder if your doctor could write you a reference saying that you need it??? Probably a long shot, but it might be worth a try. That chair really is wonderful.

My mom and my Grandma's have pains that they live with every day. I know we are young, but I think it is just an unfortunate reality of "aging". Ugh. It's like, we're glad to be able to be healthy and move around and not have to have surgery, but then the reality sometimes is that we just live with dull pains every day. I guess we just have to be grateful that we are as healthy as we. Focus on the positive, you know?

I'm praying for you girl.

Artsy Momma said...

Ugh is right. But you have the right attitude it could be worse!!!

it's me, Val said...

Thank you guys. Thanks for your sugestions, thoughts and ideas! Jo, that's a really good thought about the chair and seeing if it could be paid for. Hmmmmm...I will talk to Neil about that one. Wouldn't that be great?! Jenn, thanks for your help. I already started taking the pure cod liver oil (yay me!). I would love to do acupuncture but with all these doc bills and trips to the chiro, I just can't afford anything else out of the ordinary right now. I would do acupuncture in a heart beat because I just think I would enjoy it.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I have scoliosis, too, but it doesn't sound quite as bad as yours.

I hope you can figure out a way to be pain free soon!

Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

I wonder if I have this too

I have a very curved back in the middle and people are always saying stand up straight
doesnt make much difference
it doesnt cause much pain though

praying for you Val
Jen

Jenni at talking hairdryer said...

I just feel like letting you know that right after the birth of my first child I began having migraines. I went to the chiro and he told me that I had Scholiosis and also a funky curve to my neck, neither being the cause of the headaches. But the conditions were effeting my allergies and such. My chiro wanted to aggressively treat both saying he could correct both problems, but we just didn't have the money then. I would love to one day go back and let him treat me.

Deborah said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. As you know from reading over at my blog, I'm experiencing back problems, too. I had no idea how much a bad back affects every part of a person :( I also suffer horribly from sinus headaches, which makes me wonder if it isn't all tied together.

anyway, I hope you get some relief with at least, a new desk chair.

Anonymous said...

Did they suggest one of those big clunky back braces? (I'm sure they've updated those by now) You could ask for a script for pain on the days it's really bothering you. Glad it's nothing life threatening. Want to do Mexican Fri night? I think rita's will help numb the pain ;)
later, vic
ps;in response to older blog; your old hood misses you too.

MP said...

Spend the money and get yourself the most comfortable chair that is good for your back..go ahead..go..

Jen @ One Moms World said...

My goodness Val! I like you have had back problems, but mine started when I got that stupid epidural with my oldest child. I regret that to this day. Everyone once in a while it will go out and do I ever pay for a couple days.

I'm so glad you don't have to have surgery though. I am going to check out those links you provided as well.

oh amanda said...

OH, Val! It is scary but also good news, right?! I just hate hearing they didn't give you a "what's next" that's what the chiro DOES do, so I'm glad you're going to him!

Chel said...

I have NO words of wisdom or advice... just good luck wishes.

Sheena said...

Welcome to the Scoliosis club! I had to go to physical therapy to help loosen the muscles in my lower back so that my hips would be more symmetrical and so that my shoulder blades would line up better. I also have a back brace somewhere around here...

Get a comfy chair and try some stretching exercises!

Candi said...

Ugh....to have a diagnosis and really no treatment--that stinks!! I hope you can find some relief soon!!

Alexis Jacobs said...

One of the Judy Blume books covered scoliosis and it was repairable with a brace. (of course this was written in 1970s)

At least you have some answers. I hope some of the advice you have been given helps.

it's me, Val said...

No way, no how am I wearing a brace. This is one time that I won't listen to Judy Blume ;c)

Jamie said...

Val, it's good to have answers but perplexing when there isn't a clear cut answer. Sound's like our Dr visits were about the same. And funny that surgery is an option but better to live with pain for many more years before opting for. Did they suggest any thing for the more painful days? I must say I know that back pain is 100 X worse than my hip pain. When my hips flare up really bad, then it makes my back out of whack and that is what puts me down quick. I am so sorry that your having to deal with this. (((HUGS)))

Rebecca said...

hey... my name is rebecca... found you during the Blog Party...

I too have scoliosos- and lots of back pain- but most doctors i have seen over the years always say that scoliosis typically doesnt cause pain...
they recently diagnosed me with hyper mobility... and have said that is what causes most of my constant pain and discomfort... grr...

what's the degree of your curve?

cracking my back is about the only thing that has given me relief....

good luck!
and PS- i am looking forward to more photography posts!!!