This is my history and my present. I have managed to keep an optimistic attitude, although, sometimes it is very hard.
I am 37 and 6ft 1. I live alone. There is only myself to take care of me. Only my income to support me. I work in an area of health related customer service, in which the daily throughput of individuals is high. The work is mostly fast paced. My job involves me moving and handling heavy mechanical and human loads throughout the day including standing in one enclosed position on a concrete floor in a cold environment from a minimum of 20 minutes upward to sometimes 5 hours.
Back pain symptoms began early 2007 managed with acupuncture, hot/cold therapy, codeine, diclofenac.
Later that year MRI scan revealed L4/L5, L5/S1 disc degeneration. Prescribed additionally further acupuncture, gabopentin, diazepam, TENS and the recommendation of one to one pilates instruction. I came off Gabopentin because I was unable to work whilst taking it.
The pilates and core strengthening helped me terrifically and all was well until early 2010 when I developed bilateral sciatica and excruciating lumbar stiffness affecting my basic functionality.
May 2010: taken to A&E with waist down numbness. GP referred me to orthopedic specialist. 3 unsuccessful for pain relief but diagnostic nerve root blocks and steroid injections over 5 mths. Told I have an incredibly high pain threshold by specialist who can't believe I'm forcing myself into work.
October 2010: bilateral sciatica and lumbar pain to point of nausea and had developed a Parkinson's similar walking shuffle, sometimes having to drag my feet. I finally give in and go off sick.
January 2011: Rhyzolysis procedure carried out with partial success. Prescribed Naproxen which really helped to alleviate remaining symptoms. Gentle pilates twice daily. Returned to work May. Specialist advised spinal fusion. I had to decline as was basically told I would be sacked if I had any more time off sick.
With twice daily back stretches and Naproxen I have been 'good' for me. The sciatica is brought on by extreme cold, damp cold and damp heat. I've been managing my symptoms up until all the prolonged rain we've had in the NE. Serious pain and bilateral whole limb sciatica and whiplash spasms since February.
Been on ineffective Amitryptilline 60mg at night, codeine and naproxen.
I'm scared to have surgery because the 50% better or 50% worse prognosis is not good enough for me. I stiffen up after 10mins standing still for my job. TENS helps but only if on constantly, as does constant heat (not always practical at work). Convinced my working postures aggravate this I have been keenly studying spinal and sacral iliac anatomy, convinced I may find a way to stretch out the pain (a physio told me I need to work on my hamstrings and hip flexors). Deep tissue massage helps a lot (but too expensive to have as regularly as weekly).
The specialist said to avoid chiropractic assistance and I'm wondering whether to look into osteopathy and or Alexander Technique.
I hope to provide support to other back pain sufferers and find viable solutions to increasing my daily basic functionality without surgery. I'm seeing a podiatrist next month to see if my work footwear (rubber clogs) is aggravating my work stiffness.