Spinal woes and joys….

Since my last blog post about my back/spine, it seems to have oddly improved greatly.

Super strange.

I went to a follow up appointment for pain management in early December. At the time I was still feeling some incredible neuropathy in my right foot.  Parts of my right foot would randomly start to have a sensation as if walking on hot coals.  (not that I’ve ever done that, but that’s I suppose how I imagine it would feel).  I described this to the Pain Management specialist who suggested Lyrica.  Lyrica is one of those odd medications, kind of an anti-depressant, used to treat people with Fibromyalgia, etc. I gave him an odd look and said, “Well there is surgical repair of this defect”.  He seems to think that a crazy notion. Here’s what I think is crazy:

Some of the most common side effects of LYRICA are dizziness, blurry vision, weight gain, sleepiness, trouble concentrating, swelling of your hands and feet, dry mouth, and feeling “high.”

So, I could start taking a drug that would clearly not FIX my problem, and would cause several other problems, or I could have a surgical repair of the defect in my back.  Sometimes I really wonder about Pain Management Specialists.

Anyway the odd thing is that the next morning I woke up feeling much better. (No I didn’t start taking a bunch of psychoactive medications).  I noted I was moving a lot better and thinking a lot less about moving.  Over the next week or so I reduced and eventually stopped the neurontin, and oddly, many of my Nerve pain issues went away.  My foot and outside calf are still numb, but not painful.

My coach and I discussed.  He examined and concurred that there is clinically some improved nerve function compared to October and November. We were both pretty excited, me more than him, I’m sure.

I started to do a lot of modified exercise. Initially I started doing these because I wanted to be in optimal shape for surgery. After the progress I made I started to talk more and more about canceling the surgery and being healed.  I noted that Mr. Coach would get very silent and just look at me every time I started that talk.

Yeah, uh.  My foot still has some very limiting neurological symptoms.  I still walk pretty slow, and I can’t run except in the pool, which is not really running.


So.  I’m keeping the surgical appointment.  I know that statistically 90% of people with a herniated disc heal after 2 years without surgical intervention.  Two years is not a short healing time, and I’m not so sure about waiting.  If I find in January I can start to run again, without pain, and the MRI comes back Improved, I may put it off until March,April, May so I wouldn’t have to request specifically Medical Leave for surgery.  (So much easier to just take the time off rather than petition HR and my Manager for the time off).


The funny thing.  My improvement has pretty much stayed the same.  I am not noticing any more improvement in symptoms.  I was kind of hoping I was on a healing trajectory and that daily or weekly I would see tiny improvements.  I had that massive improvement in pain symptoms and now it’s at this plateau.

I wish I knew what the right choice would be, this one is a tough one.

One thought on “Spinal woes and joys….

  1. It’s good to hear you are healing, if slowly. I don’t think I would want to put off surgery either if I knew it would take two years for my spine to completely heal, but I’ve also been told that people who are physically more fit than the average come back from injuries a lot quicker than those of us who are, uh, more sedentary. A black belt from my dojo broke his right shoulder and leg, ribs, and a disc in his spine after a terrible fall while trimming trees for the local utility company. Six months later I was stunned to see him moving very slowly in his gi and helping children practice their kicks. He said he was still in some pain and was undergoing physical therapy, but he attributed his faster-than-average recovery to his working out every day prior to his injury. So maybe that’s working for you? I hope so. It would be a nice Christmas gift to a deserving person. 🙂

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