Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Degenerative Disc Disease

So. What part of DEGENERATIVE Disc Disease did I not understand with my diagnosis two years ago? I live my life like an ostrich with head stuck in sand--what I don't know can't hurt me.


Okay, so that didn't work. I spent about ten weeks in the fall of '05 in fairly severe neck pain and constant headache. I clung to the fact that my doctor called it a flare-up. I figured that what flares up must flare down. You know, like gravity. And in fact, the pain did die down to a dull roar. There have been plenty of days in the last 18 months that I didn't really think about it. Or if I did, it was to remember to be thankful that it wasn't active.

Not so over the past few months. It snuck up on me, though. A bit of pain down my right arm for starters. Couldn't remember what I'd done to bother it, but it didn't go away. Funny thing was, it resembled the pain I'd had a couple years ago in my LEFT arm. But today I discovered that the left arm pain comes from discs 3 & 4 in one's neck. The right arm pain is lower (discs 5 & 6, I think he said).

So, yes. Things are *degenerating*. Yay. I've had more active pain in the last few weeks. Sitting has become increasingly difficult. I've experimented with raising my keyboard to a standing height. I've eased off my work-out routines but trying to keep walking. I've had a professional massage and have two more booked. And finally saw my doctor. Yeah, I know. Some would say that should have come earlier in my saga.

So now I know that I'm doing the right drugs, but should do them more and not wait til it hurts THAT much. I've been reminded that I need to concentrate every day on posture, building up my core strength, teaching my back muscles to do a better job of supporting my back because the discs themselves don't want to do their part.

I love living in a small town. Yesterday I borrowed a Exercise Ball Chair from the medical supplies shop around the corner. To try it out. Talked to my doctor about it this morning and went back and bought it at noon today. I am to use it five minutes morning and afternoon this week, and build up in ten percent increments. Yeah, that means five and a half minutes next week. I'm happy to not use it all the time as there is severe burn after five minutes right now. The idea is that it pretty much forces you to have good posture. You use your core to balance all the time; you're not just dead weight like on a chair but actively engaged in balance. So hopefully it will help. At fifty bucks it is an inexpensive chair and is recommended for everybody (comes in four sizes), regardless of whether you now have back pain or not.

Heh. My doctor asked if I'm having trouble concentrating. Sigh. Ya think?


Karenee said...

Aaaah! Everybody? I KNOW exactly what would happen if I started using a ball for a chair in my house. *visualizes damaged decor* Do they come with child-locks?

Jean said...

Ouch. I'm sorry to learn it's getting worse. I hope the ball chair helps.

(I'll present this as an opposite pricepoint option to hubby to balance what I'm recommending for Aeron chairs next year.)

Jean said...

The Fitter site is fascinating -- they have so many things I've been interested in. Did you see the cobblestone walk!

Valerie Comer said...

Karen, they recommend them for children. A third grade class here in my town uses them as desk chairs all day every day. Kids are allowed a certain level of bounce while listening to directions, less bounce while working, and they have actual bounce times to use up some energy. Really!

Hanna said...


Maripat said...

Hugs, Val.

fiorinda said...

I'll be praying for you.

I love that a school uses them. What a cool teacher.

Jen said...


chrisd said...

Just saw this--sorry I haven't been by in a while. I'm sorry to hear about your back.

I'm glad to hear you found a way to manage pain for a bit.

I wonder if my oldest would benefit from this chair. OR if I would.

Insurance would not cover such a thing. Did you post a link?

Valerie Comer said...

Chris, yes there is a link. The chairs only cost about fifty bucks--less than most chairs. Maybe less at WalMart, I don't know.