Hi everyone. I'm Katie, age 39 and have been dealing with chronic back issues since 2002. Currently being treated for L4-L5 & L5-S1 herniation with annular tears. I finally found a physiatrist who didn't want to just throw narcotics at me when I hobbled in with flaring pain feeling like a grapefruit was growing in my SI joint. My current treatment includes daily anti-inflammatories (you name it I've tried it)- currently Celebrex, chiropractic twice a week and PT (including pelvic floor therapy, skin rolling and trigger point massage). When I have a moderate flare, treat with a 2 week course of Prednisone and a severe flare with epidural injections at S1. So far, I have managed this way for 2 years. In years before I found this doc I did everything from PT, TENS, SI injections (which worked but my insurance stopped paying for them), Piriformis injections, pain clinic narcotics. I have not had to go the surgery route and hope to avoid it.
I have a very hard time during the winters which is when my flares are severe. Each spring and summer, the flares subside and I can manage most activities I need to or want to do. Each time I make it through a flare (which lasts for 3-6 months) I can manage again, but with a little more pain than the last time I was "ok". I have a great chiropractor who has seen these cycles in me for years and a physical therapist who helps to release a lot of the secondary muscle pain while monitoring my stretching and core regimen.
I accept that it is a condition that I have to try to manage and that pain (short of the miracle cure we all wish for) will be a part of my life. My fear is the progression of the pain over time. I am not someone who shares lots of details about my pain with others. My family and friends are supportive and helpful, but I know they don't really understand chronic pain. Reading about others' experiences has helped me to see that there are people out there who "get it".