We have been seeing a good number of younger members recently.
In a way that is good to see. Not that people are having problems, younger folks have been having spinal problems for years. There is nothing new about it.
I started around 18-20, had my first surgery at 28. There are dozens of other members out here who experienced the same.
The difference is today, there is a site like Spine-Health that these younger folks can come to , to ask questions, to vent a little and perhaps shed a tear or two.
I think there are two basic threads/thoughts that weigh on the mind of our younger members.
One I am too young for this, doctors won't take me serious, I might be labeled as a drug seeker.
Ok, for starters, spinal problems and chronic pain does not discriminate. You can be old or young, rich or poor, black, white, red or brown. It doesnt matter. Any and all of us are subject to what can happen when spinal problems start.
There is some truth that sometimes younger people aren't taken as serious as older ones. Its even more so with younger women then men. Some doctors feel the young are strong enough and that a spinal problem may be nothing more than a sprain and for younger women, well, they can get so emotional. Then there is the problem that while you are suffering and are looking for different medications to help you, you could get branded with a bad label. All of this is unfair.
On a more positive note, younger people generally can bounce back quicker from surgery than older folks. So having youth on their side is a big plus.
Two If I am this way now, how is the rest of my life going to be? What will I be like at 40?, 50? 60?
This is a hard subject because you look at the way things are now and you can only imagine things getting worse. If you cant do things today, what will it really be like down the road?
So much of that depends on the individual. Spinal Surgeries are really not rocket science. So much of it has come a long way almost to the point where you may here it as being a routine surgery. For my first lumbar surgery, I was in the hospital for two weeks, and had to wear a back brace corset for almost 6 months and did not return to work until after 9 months. Today, for many its in and out in 2 days and back to work in 3 weeks.
I've always said that the doctors have the easier job. They go in and do what they trained for. Then they turn it over to you. Thats when the hard work begins. The more you follow everything you are suppose to do, the better your short and long term outlook will be.
My first surgery at 28, I am now going on 61. So many spinal surgeries have gone by, so many flare ups, so many ESIs, Trigger points, PT, etc and recently joint replacements. I am still kicking and alive! I can walk, talk and think (well, some may think my thinking is a bit off). Have I missed out on things over the years? Sure, I am not going to kid you, there were many things I wish I could have done. I wish I could have taken the downhill course one more time, play in that neighborhood football game, ski behind a boat, drive for hours... But I couldnt and I cant. Thats ok, over the years my life has been very rich and I dont think I would even think of trading it in.
I am pulling for all our younger members. Why? Because I know they are scared, I know they are frightened, I know they are starting out their lives and families and only want to see long and a productive life. You can and you will.
First, work for it, Second, Never give up and when you think you are ready to give up, work even harder at not given up.
Our futures, are in your hands. Make us proud now, so we know what kind of our future ours will come to be.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences