As you all know, I have a bad back. I’m not sure where or how my back went bad, but it has, and so dealing with daily pain is a way of life for me. I tried the chiropractor route and got nowhere, so this time, I decided to try a new tack.
The orthopedic doctor I saw feels there are three factors at work here:
- I’m way, WAY overweight. My size is probably 80-90% of my problem. I’m so huge, I’ve gained about 120 pounds since I arrived in Illinois about 20 years ago. In fact, 125 pounds. Can you say, “Holy Sh!t!” Yeah, I knew you could.
- I’ve got a condition called spondylolisthesis of the L5 vertebra, grade II. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Along with that impressive name comes a slippage of the vertebra and subsequent pinching of the nerves which split off. See below for more details.
- My age. I’m almost half a century old, and yet, my wife and I continue to try and do things with our bodies like we’re in our thirties. Sometimes I lose all track of my age and get myself into trouble. I don’t lift correctly, I don’t bend right, and I didn’t do much to take care of my general health over the last, oh, say, thirty years. So I’m behind the 8-ball in that regard.
So, those are the three things which come into play with my back. There’s little we can do about it, but he did recommend a short course of physical therapy over the course of something like two weeks. Twice a week for two weeks and I would learn the exercises and then go home and do my own PT.
I’ve not decided about that one yet because I have to clear it with my boss. We’ll see.
So now, for the diagnosis of spondylolisthesis. It’s a fancy word for something which is a fairly common condition. Matter of fact, it’s probably genetic, according to my doc. He says the Eskimo tribes have rates of something like 25 or 30%. It’s a common thing for young boys in their early teens to have. (That’s when I got mine, according to the last doctor to mention it to me in something like 2001.)
The “grade II” part indicates degrees. A grade 0 indicates no displacement. Grade i is 25% slippage or less. Grade II is 25-50% slippage, and so on. Grade IV would, of course, be total displacement and there are many issues which occur with that. Things like numbness in the leg and foot, loss of bladder and/or bowel control, etc. are all common with severe slippage. A slippage as low as mine (grade II) doesn’t warrant surgery, so the only recourses I have are weight loss and physical therapy.
Now, they don’t give away those PT sessions, and I don’t have unlimited HSA funds to pay for them, so this is going to become dicey. But my loving wife and I have already adjusted our diet — and continue to do so — to try and bring ourselves to a greater understanding of the path between here and there.
We’ve also learned more about our nutritional lifestyle of choice than we ever knew before, and we thought we knew quite a bit. Turns out, there’s a lot more to know and we’re learning it. So it’s a gradual process and a learning process, and my spouse is more excited about it than she’s ever been. She absolutely glows and can’t wait to share the new things she’s learned as she delves into books which explain, for the first time in our lives, how we ended up here, and how we don’t have to feel guilty about it.
There’s a lot going on for us in this area, so I’m excited to find out what the future holds and how well this works for us.
What’s up for you this weekend?