Monday, February 28, 2011

The Back Verdict

I mentioned in Why 2011 Won’t Be ‘The Year of the Pessimist' that I’ve had a bad lower back for a year now. It all began when Duncan and I spent a weekend in Jurien Bay and sleeping on a mattress in the holiday house left me crippled with pain. I had to get up each morning with difficulty, stagger into the shower and stand under hot water until my back was loosened up enough to move more freely. Might I add that that weekend had temperatures of over 40C so having a hot shower was not a pleasant experience. Later we would go to the beach so I could swim and that helped with the pain somewhat.

The year that followed was one of frustration. I would have a few good weeks where I thought the pain had gone permanently only to have it return out of the blue. The pain spread from my lower back and into my right hip. I could play netball ok, but even after stretching, I was left in agony after each match. Duncan had to take my shoes off for me the pain was that bad. Now I’m seriously considering whether to give netball a miss this year.

I tried chiropractic and Bowen Therapy, but each only offered temporary relief. Then, after the move to Kojonup, I was left in crippling pain. I would wake up in the early hours of each morning and cry out, the pain was that intense. It wasn’t a sharp pain, it was an unrelenting ache which caused my lower back to spasm. I would toss and turn, unable to sleep properly. As a result, Duncan wasn’t getting much sleep either.

I saw a physio in Albany in January and I thought I finally had a shot at getting better. She reckoned my lower back was one of the stiffest she had ever seen and thought I had hurt some tendons around one of my vertebrae. She gave me some exercises to do, told me to keep heat packs on my back at every opportunity, and said it would heal, but it would take time.

Meanwhile, the pain at night kept getting worse. It didn’t matter which mattress I was on or whether I slept on my side or on my back, no position or bed was comfortable. I was getting less and less sleep. I couldn’t do anything in the morning until I’d had a hot shower. The rest of the day was fine, but I started to dread going to bed at night. I even considered sleeping upright in a chair but, seriously, I don’t know how birds do it!

Finally, in desperation for some pain relief, I went to the local doctor. He gave me some anti-inflammatory pills and I was sent to Katanning (40km east of Kojonup) on two separate occasions for a blood test and an X-ray. I still hate blood tests! The lady who was taking my blood seemed to be taking an awful lot of it and I felt like saying, “What are you? A vampire?” The tests were to see if I had some sort of injury or another condition.

The verdict?

Ankylosing Spondylitis


Meredith said...

Glad you have a diagnosis. But oh my! That's a lot to take in. You take care.

Rusdy said...

Ouch! I pray for the doctor can find the right treatment for you. I had back problem for 3 months and that drove me crazy!

Sarah said...

Thanks, I'm still doing research on it which is difficult atm cos I have no internet access at home yet and limited time at other people's places. The doc told me to do lots of exercise so atm I'm playing tennis 3 times a week (I'll be at Wimbledon in no time!), walking with another girl on the farm, and I'm about to start doing pilates at home. Basically I have to keep active otherwise I'll seize up. I have anti-inflammatories to help me through the night, but I'm hoping I won't have to rely on them for too long.

Amanda said...

Wow, I'm so glad you have a verdict Sarah. I hope you are able to manage it as suggested by that article.