Some good updates!

OK, I’m giving you all fair warning: this is a long entry.  Seriously, go brew some coffee or something.  But I promise there is a photograph of a motorcycle later (full disclosure: it’s parked in the garage. But it IS a motorcycle.)

Anyway, I mentioned in my last post that I had an upcoming “halfway point” exam with New Back Doc.  Well, I had that exam last week and things are looking very good!

After doing all the tests again (things like bending forward, back, and to each side; sitting down and raising one and both legs; standing on my tiptoes and heels; etc), he went over the numbers and results with me — the numbers show that I’ve had about a 60% improvement in my range of motion and ability since late April!

I still have a crapton of guarding, which New Back Doc says is totally normal for someone who’s been in pain for almost two years. Other than that, I can now twist and arch my back, and can lie on my back and raise both feet at the same time (I couldn’t do that at all in April). I still have hesitation when bending forward at the waist, but I’m not putting my hands on my thighs to brace myself when I bend forward anymore. Little victories, y’know?

I credit the Esther Gokhale class a lot with the improvement in bending forward — her hip-hinging instruction has been really awesome for me.  If any of you little people that live in my computer have SI pain, check out the hip-hinging section of her book or website (or, best, try a class).

So, to recap from a pain perspective — over the past couple of years, I’ve had three types of pain:

1) Deep nerve spinal pain (like the pain you guy when you need a root canal, only in my spine instead of tooth)

2) Chronic muscle pain

3) SI joint pain that would only flare up if I did something fun (like hockey or motorcycling)

The nerve pain basically went away after the epidural injections that I had in late January. yes

So then I was down to 2) and 3). I’ve been primarily focusing on 3) because it’s what’s keeping me from motorcycling and hockey.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I went to a massage therapist and, while she was working on me, I realized that I hadn’t had any chronic muscle pain in quite some time! Of course, naturally, I realized this because the massage made some of it come back. Doh! But that means 2) is still improving in general.

To combat 3), New Back Doc is now doing some gentle chiropractic-type manipulations of my sacrum and SI joints to try to loosen that area up. If nothing else, 6 months ago, pressure on my sacrum made me practically cry from the pain; now I’m having someone adjust the joint a couple of times per session, three times per week.

New Back Doc is still optimistic that I’ll be riding again by the end of the summer. He’s given me the green light to ride to my first camping trip of the season next weekend, which is in Half Moon Bay over on the coast. Only ~15 miles, which will be a good experiment. I haven’t ridden the bike at all since starting the treatments right after my birthday ride, so I’m nervous but cautiously optimistic.

To that end…

The Ninjette is all ready to go!  I have some new camping gear, which I’ll post about after next weekend, and I’m really psyched about it.

Can you believe this will be my first moto-camping trip since early summer 2009? People, it’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t remember off the top of your head where your Rok Straps are.

It was unbelievably exciting to dust off the HelenTwoWheels bag (it still has Louisiana dirt in it! *sniffle*) and strap a tent to a motorcycle again.  I still have three sessions with New Back Doc this week before he gives me the final OK on Friday to ride, but I think that barring disaster, we’re a “go”.  So. Excited.

OK, I warned you this was long.  I’m off to rest my back in the Zero Gravity chair and do some stitching.  Hopefully my next entry will have photos of the Ninjette next to our beachside campsite!

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