orthopedic intermission

things haven’t been right for awhile. if i’m being honest, i think i’ve had back pain of some form or another for over a year… in the beginning i’d notice it more when we had to drive for long stretches (driving from portugal to slovenia), a persistent and nagging pain on my lower back that shot all through my right leg until it became uncomfortable to sit. then it started appearing when i had been sitting for awhile… which in my line of work is everyday. then 2 months ago or so, it got so bad i had to lay down, load on painkillers and just… wait. that’s the thing with backpain, everybody tells you to slow down and wait. most of the times, it goes away by itself.

mine did too, to a certain extent, but never fully. and then about 3 weeks ago, after a trip to ikea, it came back full force and with a vengeance. i could barely walk or turn in bed, and even loaded on painkillers, it was excruciating. so we got some heat patches, and took a trip home, almost directly to the emergency room.

an x-ray and an mri later, and my doctor told me i have a spinal disc herniation. basically, the cushion between my vertebras has been abused and is being forced out of its place and into my spinal canal, pressing on the sciatic nerve. this is what makes my leg hurt. it looks like this:

the treatment? well, after a week of rest, a cocktail of drugs and a shot of corticosteroids, i am almost as good as new, pain-wise. the doctor says this won’t ever go away, i’ll just have to learn how to live with it, which includes not doing heavy lifting or sitting for long periods, and strengthening the lower back. so i’m taking up light swimming this summer, doing some back exercises and just generally taking it easy. if you spend a lot of time sitting down, you should too!

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