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Hard Stiffness, normal?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi Everyone and a hopeful, healthy happy new year to all. i am new to this kind of venue, so please be patient.

My Medical Profile: Separate from my back, i am a healthy, well adjusted 52 y/o female, married with one daughter who is looking forward to college next year.

I was gardening in late May, violently twisting and pulling to "get it finished - so I could go shopping." Almost immediately after i got up, electric zings were in my buttocks. Tom said i had a muscle pull! He had to help me put my socks on, getting dressed was a nightmare. Getting into the car was a NoNo. "Other activities of daily living" were also very hard to accomplish. I had no idea what i had done to myself or how it would change my life. i thought i was going to get better. Fast forward to today. 8 months of painful roller coaster days. MRI revealed moderate herniation L4-L5 area (mostly an anterior bulge, but also a bit posteriorly) Was prescribed 6 day course of Medrol, once at the first mtg with my orthopedist and again 3 months later when i had another acute episode. I choose not to have injections, thought i was getting better.

My work as a dental hygienist aggravated my back pain even though i only worked a couple of days a week. Recently, just after Christmas, I made the painful decision I had to quit, for my health. After all the stories I have read here, i feel blessed that i can walk, and have no more serious a diagnosis or a more debilitating condition such as the many other people who are a part of this forum. Truly, I am aware that so many people suffer horribly, everyday. I am grateful to suffer from "only" , "mostly" moderate chronic pain, that sometimes escalates.

Now that i have quit my job, I want to look forward, not backward. I am reaffirming my objective for wellness by, 1) loosing weight-20 lbs 2) stretching every day and strength training every other, gradually. I use the exercise sheets i got from my PT 6 months ago and some of the ones i found here at spine-health. 3) Since i am not working it is important that i can take the time to pace myself, so i don't have an acute attack. 4) I take nsaids every am, noon, and night to help keep ahead of the pain. 5) Pray. 6) Use my hydrocodone when it is unbearable.

This is my question i hope some one can help me with. I experience a tightness in my lumbar back, all the time. When I drive (which hurts), my stiffness, if i consciously relax, "spreads." When i relax, i think it's better than what i used to do, tense up, drive with only one side of my butt on the seat. I just wish this feeling of having a stiff brick in my spine would go away. i probably have a better day when i walk, but can't walk too much. Bending over, picking up things, even if they are a bit heavy is satisfying. When i lie down on the bed, usually it feels like my herniation is sticking out, sometimes even pulses. I think i babied my back too long, spent too much time in bed. Was afraid to pick anything up etc. What is causing this stiffness and why is it getting worse? Will the stiffness go away? What is the etiology behind the hurt?

Respectively submitted, Ginny



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