Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm Falling Apart

What a week!

I mentioned last week that my back had been hurting me. I just woke up one morning and there it was, pain in all its glory. I suspected I slept crooked on my neck or something like that, took some ibuprofen, slapped a heating pad on it, and assumed it would go away in a few days.


It totally tricked me. It felt like it was going to be all better by the weekend; it was hurting less and less each day. But then I woke up Saturday morning and COULD NOT MOVE. It took me ten minutes (filled with crying and much swearing) just to sit up out of bed, and it hurt SO BADLY. It's never hurt this badly before in my life. I have absolutely no freaking clue why it did this. I got up (well, Scott got me up) and took some pain meds (well, Scott got me pain meds) and took a hot bath (well, Scott got me into a hot bath)...can you see the trend? I haven't been that helpless since I had my surgery last November.

Anyway, it hurt so badly that I decided to go to the doctor (well, Scott took me to the doctor). Scott and I are alike in that we always insist the other person go see the doctor when something is wrong, but we never go unless the other really pushes it, so you can imagine how much pain I was in when I was the one insisting on going to InstaCare.

We went in as soon as it opened, and the doctor gave me prescriptions for Flexeril (muscle relaxant) and Lorotab. I then spent all day Saturday and Sunday stoned off my ass, mostly sleeping it off. My back was starting to loosen up and I was thinking I would be ok to go in to work on Monday, but NO. LIFE ISN'T THAT NICE TO ME.

Once again, I woke up Monday morning to PAIN! and the PAIN! was worse. Suck. So I had to call in sick, which I hated...but it turns out it was the perfect day to call in sick because there was such a tiny workload that day (only 3 samples; the usual load is 15 to 20) (but I still hate missing work). Scott (angel) found a chiropractor who could see me that morning, so I took my meds again and we went in. The doctor took x-rays, did some testing on my spine, manipulated my back, gave me some electrotherapy, and had me come in the next day for more.

I went in Tuesday, got adjusted and therapy again, and we took a look at my x-rays. The chiropractor says that four of my vertebrae are starting to degenerate and that I need to start corrective therapy immediately. This apparently involves like 30 visits, and thousands of dollars (my insurance doesn't cover chiropractic)...I'm not sure I want to do this. I can see what he was pointing out on the x-rays, but I'm not entirely convinced it's as bad as he's saying it is.

Anyway, the pain at this point hadn't changed in intensity, but it had moved from the middle of my back, right between my shoulder blades, up to my neck. I continued to take meds as much as I could (can't go to work stoned...or drive, for that matter, so I had to go without sometimes), and Wednesday afternoon I scheduled an hour-long massage. It was heavenly. I had the masseuse concentrate on my neck, upper back, and shoulders. She used firm pressure, so it hurt a bit while she was working on me, but my muscles felt more relaxed afterward, so the little bit of discomfort was worth it. I went home, took more meds, and went to sleep early.

I woke up Thursday morning and still had a little bit of pain, that had migrated again into my left shoulder, but overall it was getting better. After work I went to the chiropractor again, and he gave me some instructions for stretches, adjusted me again, and did more therapy.

Now here's my thing: I'm not sure how much of this "spinal degeneration" is real and how much is exaggeration on the chiropractor's part to drum up his business. Since my insurance doesn't cover this, the office charges a flat rate of $55 per visit if you pay that day, in cash. That's not awful by itself, but when you look at the amount of visits he recommended...yeah. I might as well just buy myself a new spine.

So, I asked for my x-rays, and they're going to digitize them and have them ready for me to take by next Tuesday. I'm going to take them in to another doctor and get a second opinion. Personally, I think I just wrenched my back particularly badly, and my spine is probably totally normal. If, when I get a second opinion, it looks like this guy is telling the truth, then I will decide what I can afford to do. If he's not, I'll probably be turned off chiropractors forever. Either way it goes, I'm going to do the stretches and try to exercise more to keep all of me, not just my spine, healthy.

I'm falling apart. Bit by bit.


Kim said...

I'm a big fan of chiropractic care--but you have to find the right one. Some of them are quacks. But some of them do really good work and it's well worth it.

I hope you feel better soon!

magnolia said...

oh jeez. back stuff is no joke. it's definitely a good idea to get a second opinion, too. sending good pain-relief vibes your way...