When my back pain and problems finally got a diagnosis I went to the internet to find people who had the same problem as me. I searched social media to find someone who’s spine was as jacked up as mine in a hopes to see their recovery. I didn’t really find anyone. The interesting thing about my spine is that most people who have this diagnosis never have pain. They usually don’t even know they have a problem with their spine.
In addition to that, usually people who do have pain and need surgery like I do are much older than me. The first doctor who saw my x-ray results said she had never seen someone under the age of 50 with a back like mine. Now as much as I like to be unique and rare it was a little frustrating to have no one to look to for relief. So that is why I am writing about my experience. I want anyone in the future in my position to know that they will live through this and be so much better on the other end.
A Little “Back” Story (HA)
For the most part growing up I have had back problems. My back would hurt more than most peoples but I summed that up to also being overweight and being like my mom who also has back problem. It wasn’t until a year ago that it got bad enough for me to start getting frustrated.
Leg day was my favorite day at the gym. But the next three days following my killer leg day workouts I was almost unable to move. It was not because I busted my muscles and did a good job. It was because my back was slowly getting worse and worse. I tried to focus on getting the muscle in my lower back to grow in hopes that it would relieve the pain. In hindsight that was pretty dumb seeing as in order to help my back pain I now need to grow my core strength, and I was avoiding those days at all cost at the gym.
I went on like this for a while and just figured that was how it was going to be. I hoped that in time and more weight lost the pain would go away. However one day the pain was really bad and my boyfriend at the time was also having some back problems. So I decided that we were going to go see a chiropractor. Now I will say that not all are like this. The ones who get x-rays and go over everything with you are probably amazing. However this was a place that had really no knowledge of my body.
During this session I had a strong feeling at the time that it was a bad idea. The guy who was working on both of us was extremely focused on my boyfriend. When he was working on me he was still more focused on my boyfriend. He asked me no questions and just started cracking. There came a moment with my lower back that got my mind screaming to get up. But I kept telling myself it was fine. Probably a bad call.
The man could not work my lower back and hips very well and was trying everything he could. There came a moment where finally there was a pop. I got up and for half a minute felt good, and then shit hit the fan. Following the appointment I figured I was sore and in pain because of the work we just did. I kept thinking that I would feel better tomorrow and it would have been worth it. But that day never came.
The following days I started to get pain down my right leg. Pain like no other and I thought I was losing my mind. Following that I began to lose feeling in my toes on my right foot. That’s when I knew it was time for the doctor.
First Steps In Recovery
After seeing my normal doctor and getting my x-rays, it was time for a specialist. He saw my back and let me know that my spine has slipped and was resting on my nerves and my pelvis, the cause of the pain. He let me know that I genetically and prone to a poor spine (YAY) and that the chiropractor probably pushed it to its breaking point.
So step number one was physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicine. This went on for about a month and a half before I came to the conclusion that it was not getting better and may in fact be getting worse. The pain in my leg went away but the pain in my lower back and spine was still going strong. I never got a break and physical therapy only helped for the time I was there. So on to the next step.
I got MRI and a few days later met back with my doctor. This was when he realized the seriousness of my situation. The fact that I am already in pain at the age of 22 is what is really bad about this problem. He let me know that if I ever wanted to have kids we needed to have this taken care of now. If I did have a child it would cause so much more pain and probably make the slip even worse due to the pregnancy.
So the next step is surgery. What will happen is the doctor will make a cut through my stomach and go around to the back of my body. He will then take out the part of my spine that is damaged and broken. A cage will be placed in that spot and then bolts will be put in to secure it. I get to be part metal, so that’s pretty sweet!
After surgery will be rough, I have no doubt about that. I spent a minimum of two days in the hospital before going home. Then once I am home I am supposed to push through the pain and get back to life. I will be on pain meds, meaning I can’t drive. I will have limited movement and will likely feel like crap. But I will push through that.
Following the first rough week or two I will then start to walk more and work on getting strength. As soon as I am healed up enough to function normally I will go back to physical therapy. I imagine this will be much different but even more fun. The amazing part of this is that at some point I won’t be in pain anymore. I will be able to go back to the gym and kill it with no fear of being in too much pain to move. I will be able to get a great job doing anything and not be in pain!
This whole process is something I obviously wish I could avoid. But I am really grateful for it. I had such a big fear of being in pain my whole life, I thought I wouldn’t be able to live the life that I want to and I will now. I am grateful that I can walk and move and bend. And I really took that for granted and this was a great wake up call.
Even though the pain right now has been pulling me down, the light at the end of the tunnel is so bright. I see myself being able to live this amazing life with no pain and being free once again. I hope that if any of you are reading this and are in pain, just know it can get better. There are solutions to every problem. There are ways that can help. And take this moment to be grateful for everything you do have. Use it as an excuse to get healthy and live the life you want.
This whole experience has taught me how to live. I have a drive to be as healthy as I possibly can and do everything that I can, I want to live to be a 100 or more, I want to be able to show that you can die of old age and not of disease. I want to have a life that I was jealous of and wished I had. And I will live that life. And so will you.