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extruded disc/back issues 2014

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day i had a four-hour drum sectional with the drumline to make sure that they felt comfortable and ready for our mardi gras rehearsals. It was sometime towards the end of that that my back started giving me severe issues that deteriorated enough by the end of the evening when i was home that i couldn't really move out of a lying position without extreme amounts of pain.

leading up to this, i started to get a minor ache in my back as early as christmas, but it was a dull ache that went in and out so it didn't feel particularly urgent. I had actually planned on going to the pain management center by the middle of february in any case because i was anticipating that the whole thing was going to get worse and i wanted to be in good shape to walk the Mardi Gras parades, and it just so happened that this happened one day before i was going to make the call. It was very out of the blue - even though the dull ache was still there, i didn't feel badly, and i don't think i did anything in particular during the drum rehearsal that made it worse, but i don't really know.

The next day, Tuesday, the city of new orleans pretty much shut down because of a fear of sub-freezing temperatures. When i called up the pain clinic, they were closed except for emergencies. I called the next day, Wednesday, which was good timing because a) the pain doctor that i was going to see (same guy as a year and a half ago) was only in on wednesdays, and b) the hospital was originally supposed to be closed but decided to open, but the weather was such that there were a bunch of people that weren't comfortable driving, so there were a lot of afternoon openings. I got a 2:45 appointment.

The appointment was brief, which i expected. The pain doctor i went to see isn't super great for his bedside manner, but he did recognize me and remembered that he had given me an Epidural Steroid Injection the year and two months prior. He asked me how that had been, and i said that i had pretty much made a full recovery for a good 8-10 months to which he (as well as other nurses i talked to later) was pleasantly surprised. After asking me questions about the severity of my pain and doing some reflex and movement things with my legs, he had the nurses schedule me for another ESI, which i was able to get scheduled for the following monday (last week). In the intermediate time i pretty much put myself in a lying-down position 24/7 except to deal with essentials. I slept on the floor a lot, and would sometimes sit in one of my chairs in which i could put weight on my arms to try to relieve any weight on my lower body.

The ESI appointment on monday went off without any real difficulties. I asked the nurses there how many of these they did a day, and they said sometime between 15-20. That day the nurse also seemed surprised that i was able to wait that long before getting another shot, implying that there were some people that would come in and then come back in in seemingly no time at all, which i interpreted to mean a month or two.

The shot definitely helped in that i can now walk around and function like a normal human being, but i still have a small to medium amount of pain in the area in question, meaning that it didn't work as well as the ESI i got a year and a half ago. This reminds me more of the shot that i had gotten the first time one year prior - it felt better, but ended up always being a nagging sort of ache. It hurts the worst when i wake up, but once i start walking around it starts to feel better. Occasionally i feel a twinge in my lower back, but it doesn't last long. I've been able to walk for long stretches, something i've done playing Ingress, where i'll walk around the neighborhood for a better part of two hours hacking and capturing portals.

But it still doesn't feel ideal. I have a follow up appointment on the 20th, and during it i'm going to ask their advice as to what i can do to improve. PT is an option, maybe getting another ESI is an option, or maybe an oral steroid, although historically oral steroids have not done much for me. We'll see what they say. In the meantime, i'm monitoring it and trying to take it cautiously, although i'm still trying to push some measure of physical activity since i need to stay active. Ingress has been a great motivator, but i want to start to get back into heavier cardio stuff, and i don't feel like my body can do that quite yet.

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Comments

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pokarpokarpokar
Feb. 13th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
Best of luck.
lifeofmendel
Feb. 13th, 2014 02:11 am (UTC)
thank you sir. :)
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