For the past two weeks, I’ve been in pain. It started in my back, but then about a week ago, it traveled to my foot. What’s weird is that it’s only on my left side. Yesterday and today were pretty unbearable, so I decided it was time to see the doctor to figure out what’s going on.
Now, I’m no stranger to back pain. For nearly 20 years, I’ve experienced lower back pain (and I’m only 32!), but for the most part, it’s been a manageable kind of pain. I don’t regularly take pain killers, and I don’t normally complain about it. Quite frankly, it’s just a part of my life. Sometimes I forget that not everyone deals with this. For some reason, however, the pain has become pretty severe since February 22nd. Ever since the pain traveled down to my foot, I’ve acquired a noticeable limp, and I have not able to get comfortable whenever sitting, standing, or lying down (which is pretty much all the time). After being brought to tears today, I decided it was time.
Dr. Kyoko, the eccentric doctor with the blue hair, was very thorough. I spent two hours at the doctor’s office today getting all manner of tests, discussing my medical history as it pertains to my back pain, and even getting a referral to a physiotherapist. Through our discussions and tests, I came to realize that when people (frequently, and for as long as I can remember) ask me if I’m OK because I appear to be limping, it’s not just the way I walk (as I always respond). It’s due to the fact that I’ve been dealing with nerve damage for so long, that I’ve overcompensated by putting my weight on my right leg. There’s actually a 1.5cm difference in circumference between my left and right legs, which apparently is uncommon. My left leg has some muscle atrophy due to this issue.
The good news is that I have a diagnosis and an initial treatment plan. My vertebrae in my lower back are pressing on my nerves, causing nerve damage, pain, and tenderness on my left side. The doctor ordered an MRI to assess how much damage is actually there, but we are waiting on the insurance to approve it. I’ve been approved to start physical therapy to help alleviate the pain and strengthen my left side, and I’m planning on starting this as soon as possible.
The bad news is that we don’t know yet how extensive the damage is to my nerves. Considering that I’ve had pain for so long, it’s likely that I’ve done some major damage. Surgery was mentioned, but only as a last resort. Some other not so great news is that no matter which course of treatment, from physical therapy to surgery, it is highly unlikely that the pain will ever completely go away. What we’re hoping for is to minimize the pain and reduce the pressure on the nerves, resulting in a more normal life. Sheesh…I sound like an old person!
I’m a little worried about what the MRI will show, but I’m more relieved because now I can start to treat it and alleviate some of this pain. Positive thoughts for promising results! 🙂