Back Problems

Deanne Stein Health Guide January 22, 2008
  • I spent most of December in pain, extreme lower back pain. When it first hit me, I couldn't move. Every step I took felt like a million knives were being thrusted into my back. I had to crawl up the stairs to my bedroom and throw myself onto my bed. Luckily, I still had some painkillers left over from my delivery, so I took a couple of them to get through the night. I went to the doctor the next day and sure enough I had a bulging disc. It wasn't to the point of being herniated, but if I kept up the lifestyle I was leading, it soon would be. I'm now seeing a physical therapist who is helping me put my disc back in place and then get it to stay there. He said all the strain I was putting on my back contributed to the bulge.

     

    Carrying around the extra weight during my pregnancy probably kicked it off. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I remember feeling the strain in my lower back and on down through my sciatic nerve. The pain would shoot down into my leg. Then once I had Annabelle, I was carrying her around in her car seat carrier lifting her up and down and in and out of the car. I would also bend over to change diapers, put her in a bouncy chair or swing, you get the idea. It seems every time I turned around, I was bending over and lifting something or someone. Then, one day I used my Baby Bjorn backpack which ended up being the final straw on my back. Annabelle was being fussy and I couldn't get anything done, so "I'll just put her in the backpack and clean house and do laundry," I thought. It was a great idea at the time. As soon as I took off the backpack, though, I knew I had made a terrible mistake.

     

    Going back to a physical therapist reminds me of the days following my stroke. Most people like me, suffer weakness in their bodies following a stroke, especially in the core area. I remember I had to sit on this exercise ball and try to balance myself. It was very difficult. I never realized how weak I was until I sat down on that ball. The weakness stroke victims have can lead to numbness and then back problems, for some. Unfortuneately, my therapist told me fewer than 20 percent of people who have had a stroke receive rehabilitation. That's too bad, because I belive had I not had my rehabilitation, I wouldn't have overcome all my obstacles.

     

    But in life, those obstacles tend to creep up on you from time to time, like my back pain. In fact, I'm not alone. Back pain affects one in four Americans and is the most common form of physical therapy. This time, I'm determined to heal the damage I have done and get back to living again. I will not let this become a chronic problem. Nobody should. There is so much help out there and if you aggressively treat the back aches as soon as they occur, your chances of recovery are greater.