Dinner and a Walk

This afternoon I had an appointment with my Spine Clinic doctor near my old house, about 40 minutes away. Coming back right afterwards would be a nightmare due to it being during traffic high-commute time, so I arranged for dinner and a walk with a good friend. He lives a little over a mile from a lovely downtown area replete with shops and restaurants, so we settled on Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). It’s one of my favorite supportive meals – water based soups are always safe and usually I can find it with chicken or veggies. I estimate about 400 calories for a small (which is usually very large and filling) order of chicken or beef pho. The 20-30 minutes walking before and after burned a good deal of that.

At the Spine Clinic today I had good news and bad news. Bad news first: Once this kind of pain has gone on this long, there is really no permanent solution. I’m stuck with this for the rest of my life, and we are just managing the pain now. I asked about myofascial release, and he said if I felt like trying it to go ahead but that it was unlikely to bring any more permanent relief for my situation than regular massage or the acupuncture (which we know works).

And then the good news: He did some more examination of the area and twisting and turning me this way and that and determined that there was a good chance I was suffering from an inflammation of the right L4-5, L5-S1 lumbar facet joints. The facets are joints on the side of the spine that connect the vertebrae and help guide the spine during movement. He thinks there is a 60-70% chance that I could benefit, and gain some relief from, having a lumbar facet corticosteroid injection. It’s not a permanent solution – if it works it has the potential to give me anything from weeks, months or even up to a year of pain relief. However, in most people once the pain returns it usually returns at a lower level. This all sounds to me like a chance worth taking, so I scheduled the procedure for Feb. 28th, apparently it involves inserting cameras and needles into my back with some level of anesthetic, so it has to be done at an outpatient procedure center, not in the office.

Coming on the heels of the news about living with and managing pain for the rest of my life, it’s at least a ray of hope to know there are things that can be done to give me windows of pain relief that may even permanently reduce the amount of pain I feel on a regular basis. I know you can’t have multiple cortisone injections without damaging a joint, so if it doesn’t work we’ll have to find something else to try, and if it does work I’ll have to hope it works for a really long time because I’m not interested in doing it much more than once. But…It’s nice to have something to try.

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5 Responses to “Dinner and a Walk”

  1. Andie Says:

    That is great to have something to look forward to – fingers are crossed here.

  2. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    Crossing my fingers and toes too.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Sorry about your pain. I don’t have your same problem but myofascial release was extremely helpful for my pain after about a year of sessions. I learned some techniques to try at home too which I added to other things I do. Good luck on your procedure and I hope it helps!

  4. Sara Says:

    Hi again — I am the one who mentioned Myofascial Release to you earlier and I saw you mentioned it to your doctor. For whatever it is worth I thought I’d share one of my experiences with you. First, I have no idea about your specific issue so I am not trying to sway you in any direction — I just remember when my orthopedic surgeon told me I had to live with the pain and I didn’t want to accept that diagnosis. In my case, I am glad I didn’t stop looking because after numerous attempts (bone scan, mri, pt, cortisone, massage and more) I finally found a cure for my problem. It was neuromuscular massage therapy comined with a compression band (my pain was in my leg). Anyway, from that experience I realized that there are so many treatment options out there. I am all for Western medicine and the amazing things it offers, but I learned that sometimes medical doctors aren’t educated in some of the alternatives out there. Your doctor’s response that myofascial is in the same realm of massage (ie. sweedish, deep tissue) and accupuncture suggests that he might not fully know about it. If you feel that is the case there is a man named John Barnes and he has a website about Myofascial Release therapy. He has links to therapists in most States that he has trained. It is my understanding that there is a big difference between massage therapist that incoporate myofasical release into their massages versus therapists specifically trained in this modality. I hope you find something that works long term — sorry for this long post, I just thought I’d share some of what I have learned in my own journey. Take care and good luck. Sara

    • Laina Says:

      I really appreciate you taking the time to reply and share your experience. Thank you for your comment and for giving me more information. As I continue on this journey I find that I never know where I might find something useful – I’ve tried several non-Western methods (Egoscue, acupuncture, yoga) so I’m totally open to it. I usually ask my doc first (he was the one that recommended acupuncture) but just because he’s not for it doesn’t mean I won’t give it a try if I need to! So I really do mean it when I say thank you for the information, and the website rec. 🙂


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