What’s Going On?
Woah, I really just barely snuck in under the wire with the May update! Â I feel like I blinked and it’s nearly June.
This has been a good month for my back, with the major caveat that I haven’t ridden or done a workout since my birthday. Â So with that in mind, I’ve been a busy little bee this month.
So, what was the plan last month?
- I see my back doc on Monday but am not expecting anything other than an offer to do another epidural injection.
- I did see my back doctor and he did offer another injection — this time in the SI joint — but he also referred me to a new doctor to try a new treatment plan. Â More on that below.
- Peter and I are starting a six-week program (one class per week) next Tuesday at theÂ Esther Gokhale Wellness Center.
- We’re nearly at the end of this class (one more week to go) and I’ve really enjoyed it. Â While taking the class didn’t suddenly make all my pain go away, the body mechanics that Esther describes and recommends make intuitive sense to me and I think they’ll help long term. Â Her method of “stretch-lying” to go to sleep on one’s side, in particular, has been very comfortable for me. Â I would recommend her book (or class, if you’re local) to anyone.
- I saw my general practitioner for a checkup a couple of weeks ago and she mentioned theÂ Stanford Pain Clinic. Â I may look into this a bit more; it seems like it’s primarily for people with substantial pain (like, “I can’t function without heavy narcotics” pain) but it would probably be worth investigating.
- I mentioned this to my back doctor and he wasn’t a fan. Â We discussed pros and cons, and the “cons” that he mentioned matched very closely some negative experiences that I’ve had with Stanford in the past, so I decided not to pursue this.
- Melinda has a coworker that she says has a knack for figuring out what’s wrong with people. 😉 Â She’s going to give me his info and I may make an appointment.
- I haven’t done this yet.
- I’d like to try acupuncture; not sure if I’ll get to it this month.
- This is still on my I’m-going-to-try list, but I didn’t get to it in May.
What’s with the new back treatment?
- So, when I went to my back doc last month, he referred me to New Back Doc, who does Spinal Decompression Therapy. Â The internet (http://ergonomics.about.com/od/treatmentprevention/f/spine_decomp.htm)Â describes SDT as:
Spinal Decompression Treatment is non-invasive and provides gentle decompression of the disc through the use of a decompression table. You are strapped to the table so that as it moves it applies a distraction force to the targeted area of the spine (the compressed disc). A computer controls the distraction force which is applied in between periods of relaxation. This gently pulls the spine apart elongating it and creating a small vacuum between the vertebrae which pulls the disc back into shape.
- I’m doing three treatments per week, for about 8 weeks. Â I’ve already done 4 weeks and have my “halfway point” exam next week. Â One session comprises about 30 minutes on the table, 10 minutes of ultrasound, and 10 minutes of ice. Â I started out on the table with 40 lbs of pull in the “active” mode and 20 lbs in “relaxation” mode; now I think my settings are 50lbs/25 lbs.
- It’s hard to say whether it’s really helping. Â On the one hand, I’m almost entirely pain-free during the day…on the other hand, I still have SI joint pain if I do the elliptical and I haven’t tried riding or doing a workout since starting the treatment (at the doc’s request — he wanted me to pause those things so that if I had pain, he would know that it was something with the SDT and not the riding or whatever).
- I’ve explained the SI joint pain to New Back Doc and starting next week he says he’s going to address that as well. Â I also have two daily exercises that he gave me to do, so there’s that.
- Overall, I like New Back Doc and I think Peter does too (he came to one of my treatment sessions and New Back Doc spent about 20 minutes talking to Peter individually). Â He’s also pretty close to our house, which is convenient.
- No workouts this week other than the daily exercises I got from New Back Doc.
- I’m currently in Week 8 of Couch to 5K, and it’s going pretty well. Â A single workout is now about 3000 steps and I’m able to go at 120 strides/minute for 28 minutes straight. Last workout I had slight SI pain after the workout, but I’m not sure it was due only to the elliptical.
- No riding this month.