Hi peeps! You get the progress report a little early this month; I might start doing twice-monthly. I know, the excitement never ends. Never, ever, ends.
What's Going On?
My pain level hasn't changed since the April progress report. I still have bad muscular pain and occasional nerve sensations. I'd say that my average daily pain level is about a 3 or 4 out of 10 but it can be very quick to flare up into sciatic pain.
What I Can Do:
Still working full-time. I think my office chair might be making my muscle pain worse (despite it being an "ergonomic" chair), so I'm stealing various chairs from conference rooms and giving them a go for a day at a time. I'm also trying to use the sit/stand functionality on my desk more even when my muscles aren't screaming.
No real change on the sitting and standing thresholds from last month — still holding at about an hour for standing (provided I can sit occasionally and fidget) and about 90 minutes for sitting.
Walking is also going well. My threshold is still about a half mile; I can do that reliably with very little symptoms (muscular only), but trying to walk nearly a mile in Las Vegas resulted in nerve pain. I took a nap and a warm bath, which calmed the nerves down a bit, but it was frustrating to get the sciatic pain between .75 and 1 mile. Looks like I'll be sticking with half mile walks for the time being.
Sleeping/lying down continue to be no trouble at all.
What I Can't Do:
I need to be more specific in this section, so here are more things I can't do…this isn't worse from last time, just that I didn't enumerate all of it before.
Still no carrying anything (no purse; no laptop that's not the Air). Basically, I have about a five pound weight restriction.
No hockey. My physical therapist thinks I might be able to get on the ice again at a public skate relatively soon.
No motorcycles (specifically, I can't push the motorcycle and I'm not sure I can hold it upright).
No cardio training at the gym other than the 5 minute walks I do to warm up. No weight lifting.
There's probably a lot more I can't do, but that's what's most affecting my life. 😉
What I'm Doing About It:
I still wear a Thermacare back wrap most days.
The new PT place is going really well. I still have twice-weekly sessions, which seem to be helping substantially. We do flexibility work, some light massage, stretching, exercises, ultrasound, and heat/stim.
Still doing my daily home PT, which is now seven stretches and two exercises. Twice a week I add two Swiss ball exercises. I try to do PT at the Apple gym a couple of times per week so that I can also warm up on the elliptical (5 minutes at 0 resistance) and use the Swiss ball there.
The Zero Gravity chair from Relax the Back is awesome. I sit in it every day and it really makes a difference. I sit on my heating pad and recline the chair and can actually feel the weight being taken off of my spine. I feel about 200 years old, doing my cross stitch on a heating pad in my big fancy recliner but, hey.
I try to get weekly massages with a physical therapist, which helps a lot with the muscular pain.
The only other addition to this from last month is that I'm setting up an appointment with a neurosurgeon at Stanford for a second opinion. One of our hockey friends is a doctor at Stanford and he recommended this new doc; in fact, he referred to him as the "Stanford spinal Jedi". So, tomorrow I'll fax in my MRI report, a demographic sheet, and my insurance info and supposedly they'll call me within a few business days to set up an appointment.
So, all in all, not a lot of change from April. But it's important to me to keep blogging this crap — mostly because I have no memory for improvement, so in my own mind, I'm still just as broken as I was in October.
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