Mid-February progress report

Well, bad news, kiddos.  We're back to another bad phase in the back recovery.  I feel like all I post is negative stuff but I want to keep documenting this.  Plus, Caralee wanted more details, and since Caralee is my back pain twin, her wish is my command.

I don't even know what happened, per se — ever since I pushed the bike out of the garage, I guess the swelling just hasn't gone down.  It started getting better slowly and then, for no discernible reason, last week it got much worse again.  Sigh.

What It Feels Like

Have you ever needed a root canal?  It feels like that — the deep, blue flashing nerve pain, right in my spine. 

The muscles from my glutes all the way up to my neck are tight and stiff.

The disc swelling has caused sciatica in my glutes and going down my left leg.  Today it's just a minor burning/tingling, but sometimes it feels like I'm being poked with thumbtacks, especially on the bottom of my left foot.  No weakness in the leg as far as I can tell, though — it feels weak, but I haven't stumbled and the leg supports my weight just fine.

What I Can Do

I can sit at my makeshift home office desk for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

I can stand up for about 20 minutes at a time.

I can walk — stiffly, but almost upright — provided I'm not carrying anything.  I haven't walked any further than from my car to inside, and I'm not really jumping at the bit to try.

I can sleep and lie down with no trouble.

Sitting on the living room couch seems most comfortable, so I've been doing a lot of watching TV and working on cross-stitching.  I can sit on the couch for about a half hour at a stretch.

What I Can't Do

Sit, at all, at my desk at work.  This is sub-optimal.  I went in to work yesterday morning and, within an hour, couldn't see straight because of the pain.  I managed to keep my shit together until I talked to my boss, then drove home and cried for about an hour straight.  

I can't carry anything.  Maybe a piece of paper.  My laptop is right out — carrying my purse from the car to my cube yesterday was also a huge problem.

PT exercises are a no no at the moment, too.  I'm doing the stretches twice a day, since it seems to help the sciatica (more on that in a second) but the muscle exercises hurt too much.

What I'm Doing About it

Lots of ice.  I've been doing roughly 10 minutes on, 50 minutes off since Friday morning.  Basically, I lie down on one of those freezer gel packs that goes from my glutes to my mid back.  I try to put my legs up on the couch arm because it pushes my low back down a little and gets it onto the ice.

Twice a day, I sit on a heating pad for 10 minutes to warm up my glutes/hips.  Then I do my hip/glute stretches, then ice again.

I'm working from home this week so that I can do the icepacks and not have to sit longer than 20 minutes at a time.  

Oh, daily ibuprofen, too.

I have an appointment with the back doc on Monday — the soonest I could get in.  He's going to push for an injection again.  I'm not sure what I'm going to say about it; I really don't think that they help.  I would take the oral steroid again though.

Blah blah blah.  So that's that.

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