WARNING: This may be very boring to you readers...long and detailed about my current back trouble.
When I was around 12 years old I found out that I have scoliosis (curvature of the spine). It hasn't caused me a whole lot of problems over the years, although I would get back pain in my SI joints periodically. I have to be in just the right position when doing certain things like lifting and, um, well sneezing. It really is ridiculous, but sneezing in the wrong position has sent my back into spasms many times.
I started going to a Chiropractor in July of this year just to help get a little more motion in my back. It felt pretty good for about 2 weeks, then I had a severe episode of SI joint pain shooting through my lower back. I couldn't bend over to pick up Kayman, carry him around, and getting dressed was very painful. I kept going to the chiropractor in hopes that he could fix the problem, but to no avail.
Then I remembered that I had heard something few months back. I heard that the nutri-sweet in diet soda can contribute to nerve pain and numbness. I had switched to diet 5 months earlier, so I immediately stopped drinking diet soda. Yea, I'm back on the hard stuff. I tried. Anyway, it did help for a few months until 3 weeks ago. I was at the gym doing a step aerobics class and felt my SI joint pop. It didn't hurt, but I knew it was going to give me fits for the next few days, so I took it easy. About 3 days later I sneezed in the wrong position. I had been holding Kayman on my lap and didn't have time to "brace" myself. It really is ridiculous, I know. When I sneezed, I felt shooting pain go through my lower back again, and it wouldn't go away. After a few days my sciatic nerve started bothering me to the point that I couldn't sit down without severe pain. I tried all kinds of stretches, I iced it, and did everything people who have had sciatic pain recommended. Nothing helped in the slightest.
Oct. 1 we left for St. George for Conference weekend, and the ride down there was pretty miserable. I had to lie down the entire time and could not get the pain to subside. The next day I got a deep tissue massage in St. George because I heard that they can really help relieve sciatic nerve pain. It felt good at the time, but then the next morning I woke up (I say woke up, but I don't think I really slept a whole lot because every position was excruciating) and the pain was shooting down to my knee. The day before it was only in my butt.
I got through the day, standing, and finally decided to call my brother-in-law, who is an OB/GYN and deals with patients with sciatica, to see what he recommended. He told me to get to the Dr. as soon as I got home because he was worried about a possible herniated disc in my back, and that can cause drop foot (a condition where the muscles involved in flexing the ankle and toes are weakened). He prescribed some muscle relaxers to help me get through the rest of the trip, and I don't remember a whole after that. I did sleep pretty well, but when I woke up in the morning the pain was all the way down to my foot. I couldn't stand, sit, lie down, or do anything without wanting to die! I took the muscle relaxers and slept ALL day. We left for home that evening and I lied down in the back of my sister's car and tried to sleep. Seriously, nothing more miserable than this pain I was feeling. It was so terrible!
Monday morning I was noticing major weakness in my left leg. I couldn't walk without a limp because my foot just wouldn't respond. I got into my Dr. who ordered an MRI (and some good meds to kill the pain) and I was lucky enough to get it that afternoon. I got into an Orthopedic Dr. on Wednesday. (Thank you Karen for the referral) He read the MRI for me and it turns out that I have a bulging disc in my lower back causing stenosis (when the spinal canal narrows and pinches the spinal nerves). Another disc had a tear and protrusion.
By this time the pain was only bad when sitting, so driving was difficult, and I noticed that my leg was getting pretty numb. When I was shaving my legs (I had to because I hadn't been able to reach them for weeks because I couldn't bend over!) I couldn't feel the razor on the outside of my calf and lower ankle. The Dr. did a few tests and I am showing symptoms of foot drop, which can sometimes be permanent if nerve damage is bad enough. He recommended I go to Physical Therapy for a few weeks and see how things progress, and he doesn't think I will need to have surgery. That is a VERY good thing! I hope the physical therapy helps. I'm only feeling very minor pain now, I can sit and sleep fine, but my foot is getting more and more numb. I have rolled my ankle a few times because that muscle on the outside of my foot is just not working. Simple things like standing on my tippy toes to reach something is impossible. Or chasing down Kayman when he goes running away from me outside, which he thinks is SO funny.
I go to physical therapy Monday, so hopefully there will be some good results from that. I don't want this to be permanent nerve damage. I have noticed in the last 2 days that my left arm feels a little strange and I have a slight tremor in my hand. I don't know if it's related, or just from all the muscle relaxers, but it is concerning.
I have been very blessed by all the help of my family and friends this last week. I thank you all who took the kids for me so I could get to the Dr. appts. I'll keep you updated as things progress!
How's that for a LONG blog entry?! I think it's a record for me. I just wanted to document this for me.