Back to Back

A long time ago in a galaxy 2382 kms away, I was a dancer. No, not THAT kind of dancer, a ballet, tap, jazz, modern, Hawaiian, Scottish fling kind of dancer. I started young and spent my childhood in classes and travelling for competitions and when it came time to go to university, I chose to study a BFA in dance. That dream came to an end when I had a bad fall and put my back out of commission, ending my life as a dancer forever.

I was forever in and out of physical therapy, massage therapy, shiatsu, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, if it was going to ease my pain, I was doing it. After a few years I started doing yoga and pilates and trying to gain strength and mobility again. When I arrived in Mexico, it all kind of went out the window for a variety of reasons and I have not been taking care of my spinal health. The only exception was during my pregnancy when I thought my back might implode with the pain of carrying that load. I saw a chiropractor two or three times a week while knocked up and he did a great job of keeping me on my feet.

Since then I have had pain on and off, headaches and I never feel exactly "right". After last week's incident, it was obviously time to get checked out and start taking care of business. I visited with a great osteopath and this week went for x-rays to check out the ole skeleton. Reading the report from the radiologist was enough to make me paranoid, lots of big medical words (in Spanish of course) which I Googled madly. I have a whack o' knowledge of my inner workings and studied a lot of physiology and biology, but there were a couple of things I didn't quite get. Syndesmophyte for example, a growth on the ligament (yes, had to look it up). Is that bad? Good? Normal? Am I a freak? A hunchback in the making? In the end I decided to relax and look to the experts for an analysis.

After visiting with the osteopath last night, I feel better, concerned, but motivated to make some lifestyle changes. In the most basic of terms, I have C-curve scoliosis and the spine is also twisted and torqued. There are lesions on some of the discs, the discs are not aligned, some discs are degenerating and others are starting to come together. There are some cysts on the lumbar discs that are a bit of a concern, but the osteo is going to get a third opinion on the matter. The radiologist recommended getting a CAT scan, but the doc wants another opinion before sending me for a very expensive test. He said the treatment is the same whether we get the test or not, so it's probably not necessary. (I hope not, 7000 pesos is a bit out of our price range).

For now, the plan of attack is simple. Visit with the osteo once a week for massage and gentle therapies and swim, swim, swim. Once I get strong enough, I can start some yoga and pilates classes and the visits to the doc will go down to once or twice a month. I am very happy with this doctor, he is not calling for prescriptions and surgery, just exercise and care. I am really happy with his prices too, a perk of the job gets me a rate of 200 pesos per consult/treatment, yes, about $15 USD for massage, adjustments, the whole shooting match. Can't beat that with a stick. Now, to find the time to swim without a 17 kg sea monster named Max hanging off my neck, wish me luck!


Kelly said…
Hurray! No surgery! I think that's neat that the doctor recommended swimming - I was on a swim team for several years and it's just such a great thing to do. I always feel like I'm giving back to my body when I'm swimming...not to mention if I'm swimming in the ocean : )

I'm glad you're on your way to feeling fantastic!
Refried Dreamer said…
Wow. I'm glad to hear you'll be okay and can recover through oh-so-strenuous massage! How great is that? I had an S curve spine with 50degree curvature in my lower back... and had to have a lumbar fusion to correct it all. I'm so glad that you won't need anything drastic like that. Enjoy your treatment momma!
Denise said…
Wow! I didn't realize you wre hurt before. Good luck with your therapy. I too suffer from back problems and the swim aerobics classes I have been taking have really helped me. I am now even able to take some weight classes. Although I would love getting the massagess too! Stick with it it will benefit you in so many ways!!!
paul nj said…
listen to me,iv broke many bones been in to sports my hole life,bodey building,and constrution and you dont need surgery it sounds like but you might want to get a mri if you get worse my wife thought she was fine,after the mri she needed emergency surgery for her neck or she could have been in BIG trouble!!and stay away from getting your body ajusted never ever crack your bones EVER !!PS try antioxidants or omega vitamins they will help some good luck..
Sara said…
Well, hopefully you can control it with more natural methods like yoga and massage. I guess I don't know what people do for that now. I remember they thought I had scoliosis in grade school. Now, I feel like my back has been a little messed up lately. After carrying around so many heavy books for those dang classes I was teaching it figures!
Gaelyn said…
Glad you got checked out and have a plan to get back on track. Pardon the pun. What a bonus finding a reasonable priced dr that doesn't start with the knife. Take care of yourself girl. Max wants to have fun with his Mom for a long time to come.
CancunCanuck said…
Kelly- I really didn't think surgery would be the answer, I just know that so many docs here jump at the option first, $$$! I'm looking forward to doing some swimming, just need to figure out a schedule.

Refried Dreamer- Oh man, sorry to hear that you had the surgery! My mom had a fusion done too, pretty much saved her from ending up in a wheelchair. If I am a good girl, it won't come to that (she says as she stretches into downward dog)...

Denise- Oooh, a swim aerobics class sounds great, glad it's working for you.

paul- I am working on improving my diet as well as adding some exercise. Sorry to hear about your wife, wow! I have to admit I love the cracking and for my sciatica it's the ONLY thing that provides relief when the sacroiliac is out of whack. The ilium slides around as a result of my fall and compresses the nerve, cannot get it to click back into place without an adjustment. This doc doesn't seem "crack crazy", just hitting the points that really need it.

Sara- Carrying a large load of books can do you in, especially if you always carry them on the same side. Take care of yourself, don't ignore the pain!

Gaelyn- I really am going to get on this for Max, I want to be able to run and play with him and right now I can't! Don't want it to be like this for much longer.

Thanks all!
paul nj said…
i know what you mean it feels good to crack but dont do it unless it does it on its on the is your joints lubricating it self,try physical therapey first it just takes longer to feel better but it is much SAFER my wife and my self got hurt from cracking now we can never be fixed food for thought !!
PS: like your old comment about just leave ,i think your comments are all good,but rivergirl iv told her to just leave before she is way to negative for me,so keep up the good work only good people can change this WORLD !!!!!!
Alex said…
oh dear, I belong to the club too. It is such a good thing you were able to get a nice doctor that seems to care, that itself is so rare! and do take care of yourself and relax, it is so important. I had back problems for years too and ended up having surgery... I am a whole lot better but sometimes it still hurts, not to mention my toes are premanently numb :S (even before surgery) but hey, I'm stil around and I can walk and do stuff, that is the important!
Good luck dear and I do hope you feel better.
Islagringo said…
Oh Sweetie, I hope you get some relief soon and it is everlasting. I had multi-level fusion surgery before moving here. I hardly ever have any pain and consider it a success. Except when I go North to the cold. It effects all that metal in my back and stiffens me up. Keep up the good work and be pain free!
minshap said…
WHOA! What a trip you've had! When you first mentioned the 'incident' it brought to mind a time 20 yrs. ago when I was put out of commision with acute sciatica! In the emergency room of Seg. Soc. (had to be carried in there, amid screams and sobs of pain) they put in an IV with an incredible analgesic anti-inflammatory solution (not used anymore, but I'm sure there are others as good) and I walked out of there when the drip jar was finished. I realize you've got a lot more than sciatica going on, but am wondering if you've gotten any anti-inflammatory shots... and if they would work in your case. I was AMAZED at how fast I felt better and could resume my life. But I think they only work so spectacularly when given intravenously or as a shot in the hip.
Matt Swift said…
Mmmm, that's one HOT pelvis, baby!

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