Friday, January 28, 2011

My Back, Part 1

I received a comment a couple weeks ago asking about my back. This blog post is in response to that comment. 

In 7th grade, I went through the standard screening for scoliosis. I was found to have this condition, which is when the spine curved. Around the same time, I started to have a strange pain in my leg. It would happen frequently and I had a difficult time standing for a long period of time. The pain was thought to be caused by the scoliosis. My freshman year in high school, the doctors wanted to operate and straighten my spine. Just prior to the surgery, I had an MRI that revealed two herniated disks and a condition called spondilothesis which is a displacement of the vertebrae. In other words, things were really messed up. They decided to hold of on the surgery to straighten my spine and decided instead to deal with the herniated disk first. It was clearly pushing on a nerve.

This is not my spine, but this a picture of a displaced vertebrae. 

I had surgery the summer before my sophomore year in high school. It was very successful at eliminating the leg pain in one leg, but triggered the pain to move to the opposite leg. But through a lot of physical therapy and hard work, the pain subsided and my back felt great for years.
As I got older, however, my lower back really started to bother me. No amount of exercise helped. I was very limited in my activities. In January 2006, I decided to have the spondelothesis corrected and I had my spine fused from L4-S1. It was a very complicated surgery. The recovery from this surgery was difficult. I had a lot of residual nerve pain. Plus they did a bone graft from my hip and I think most of my post-surgery pain was from that. About two years after surgery I had two epidural nerve block injections, which I think helped a lot. But to this day, they area where the donor bone was taken still bothers me…it just doesn’t feel normal. What ever normal is.

I am trying to scan picture of my x-rays, but it is not working.  Hopefully I will figure something out.


  1. I was also diagnosed with spondylothesis several years ago. My back has given me problems since I was in my 30s. But they recommended not doing surgery because of my lung issues. So I've done PT and do certain exercises at home to strengthen and that has helped to some extent. Back problems are a real pain! So you never had surgery for the scoliosis?

  2. ouch. this seems really painful!

  3. Yeah, back pain is twice as excruciating as toothache. How's your donor bone right now? Is it still painful? And when is your next surgery? I hope you can straighten up all of those challenges. You're very lucky you have a husband who takes care of you.