18 February 2009

Back to the Back

In January I wrote this entry about the results of an MRI on my back: stenosis (where the disk gets squished between two vertebrae). At that time I had to decide whether to keep doing physical therapy, have steroid injections or surgery.

The second-opinion doctor said the disks looked mostly good, although I had some bulging "from arthritis" and some squishing of my spinal cord in the L4-L5 area. He said it could be "a long time" before that caused me any problem. I asked if by "a long time" he meant years. "Oh, yes, it could be many years -- or next month."

That filled me with lots of confidence, so I opted to go with the injections -- which I had today.

The photograph shows an x-ray of my spine. The long black horizontal thing to the left is one of the needles that snaked into the disk where they injected the steroid.

The whole procedure took about ten minutes -- although I was at the surgery place for about an hour (arriving early, filling out paperwork, being warned about possible outcomes, etc.). It was pretty painless, except the part where they jabbed needles into me and kept injecting stuff.

I have spent the remainder of the day resting. The nurse warned that my back would start to hurt when the painkiller wore off about six hours after the procedure. That was about 20 minutes ago. My back feels stiff, but not painful.

Tomorrow I go back to work and hope for the best. Fingers crossed!

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