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November 12, 2008

Back Update

July 7, 2008 is the last day I had a "normal" day of work. When you're working a job that is very physical, it is not uncommon to have to stretch to alleviate various pains. That day, it just would not stop and it hurt like I'd not felt before. I started visiting a chiropractor and when it stopped helping, I asked them to get me checked further and they ordered an MRI. Now I finally had something that we could work on...a herniated disk known as L5S1. August 15, 2008 I was sent to Gem City for dual lateral spinal injections which did not go nearly as well as one might hope. You can read about that here.

A couple of weeks after that I started physical therapy which started out really well. I had pretty good improvement in the pain and things were going exactly as we'd hoped. Then about a month ago, I started getting radiating pain which means it was traveling down my legs which is very back in the physical therapy world. Basically, nothing can progress in treatment of the pain is not localized in my back. They started suggesting that I go into a doctor again and get it checked because it appears that something has changed in my back.

Fast forward to yesterday. I went to Gem City to meet with Dr. Jenkins who is their orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal injuries. He looked at my MRI and felt my back and gave me the choices. There are essentially two choices. The first is to continue physical therapy and see if it will help with additional time. The second is to have surgery. My first thought is that there should be something better to offer with all the technology we have these days! I've done electronic stimulation, heat, ice, infrared, traction, stretches, massage, exercise balls and spinal injections, but apparently that's all we really have to offer. The pain probably will not cause long term damage to the nerves so if I just want to suck it up, I can keep going.

The surgery itself is a two part process known as a laminectomy and discectomy where the basic idea is taking a small piece of your spine out to get access to the injured disk where they shave off the part that is bulging. You can read all the details here. It seems pretty crazy, but I would really hate it if I decided to wait and then needed surgery at the same time as Sandra delivers the baby. It would be the worst timing possible.

I've prayed about it and talked to a lot of people. My physcial therapist told me that if I haven't responded at this point, the chances were slim that more time would help. Today I called the doctor back and asked about scheduling the surgery. If God really wants to change my mind, we have time since Worker's Comp takes forever to decide anything. Just wanted to let you know.