Thursday, June 9, 2011

So here's what happened

The fourth weekend in January I experienced some tightness in my right hip. It progressively got worse as the week went on. I spent most of my nights up walking because I couldn't get comfortable. By the weekend it was excruciating and incapacitating. I couldn't sit or walk without severe pain in my right buttock and down the leg into the ankle. I usually have a pretty high pain tolerance and have pushed myself through some pretty strong muscular pain in the past and can take a lot of pressure on trigger points but nerve pain is a different beast all together. I would bawl from the pain. Tuesday I got a cortisone shot and some pain meds which didn't help. Thursday I got a lumbar MRI which revealed a disk bulge with possible herniation at L5/S1. I got flexion distraction chiropractic treatments daily for a week which only gave me minimal temporary relief. At this point I had to crawl through the house. I couldn't straighten my right leg or put any weight on it. I used crutches for get to dr appointments. At one doctors appointment my BP was 160/108 due to pain, normal for me is 110/70. After any movement (ie getting into the car, getting into the chiropractors office, etc) I required the application of a cold pack for 10-15 mins while lying on my left side to get the pain manageable. I was very blessed to be able to get pretty comfortable by lying on my left side, though sleep was difficult.
At this point I moved in with my parents because I couldn't do anything for myself. The third week I saw a neurosurgeon and we scheduled a spinal nerve root injection. They did L5 and I got no relief and it was a miserable experience. They looked at the MRI again and did S1 which almost immediately gave me relief. The second injection wasn't quite as bad because some of the anesthesia from the first one helped. After the injection I got probably 50% relief and I could at least sit for a minute or so at a time and could walk with a walker. I started using an inversion table which would get me some relief. But at this point I stalled out and didn't make any further progress for almost 3 months.
I also got acupuncture which helped balance the pelvis but made it harder to put weight on the right leg. Because of the lack of progress and the sharp pain in the right buttock I had a pelvic MRI looking for a cyst or tumor which might be causing the nerve pressure on the 2nd of May. It revealed nothing and I started to progress. I was able to do a few exercises and weight the right leg. I started getting chiropractic care again as well as Russian Stim on lumbar spine. I lost a huge percentage of the stabilizing musculature of the low back. My spinal erectors were nonexistent. I've been making steady progress since and continue to get chiropractic adjustments and cranio-sacral therapy which is really helping. The disk is mostly healed now, most of my trouble comes from lack of muscular support. I can sit for an hour at a time and drive again. I even started back to work seeing a couple patients per day.
It's been a long road but thank God for the strength to get through it and some wonderful people in my life to help me along the way. It's been a great learning experience and I'm definitely stronger because of it. I've been able to see many blessing come from what would otherwise be a miserable event.
I still am not sure what caused the problem. I didn't bend over or lift anything to trigger the pain. My best guess is that I had built strength without building the appropriate flexibility. I scored poorly on my ASLR and was working to improve flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors but not enough to keep pace with my other training. I think that imbalance caused a weak link. I've also been trying to heal adrenal failure for a couple years and feel that my body was tearing down quicker than it was repairing which allowed the weak link to become a problem. But the good news is I got plenty of rest and am now starting with a clean slate and can build a nice broad foundation for future strength gains.
Many thanks to all those who helped me mentally, physically and financially. The motto at the head of this blog has never been truer, I struggle and I emerge.

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