What does it really mean

Off colour for several weeks – at the end of my tether and in tears in the consulting rooms – off I go for a CT scan on my Lumbar Spine.

‘So we can see whats really going on’ says the GP.

Then you see words like:

Degenerative changes
Spondylosis with anterior osteophyte formation
Reduction in dimensions of thecal sac
Significant spinal stenosis

And you wonder
What does it all mean??

Basically Osteoarthritis of the Spine can be a pain – literally – thats when I get angry and the self pity party erupts.  What did I do to deserve it – ‘what did I do this time’ when the joints become inflammed.  Its all very well saying many people develop osteophytes (bony spurs) its the ones I have that are causing me grief!

The other pain (as in nuisance) is the way the little things have been suffering – sitting on a chair can be awkward as it squashes the spine, standing at the sink washing the dishes sees you lifting one leg then the other as you try to relieve the pressure in your back, not being able to move comfortably at Yoga, having a leg and foot that occasionally tingles then goes numb can be down right scary ( luckily it only  happens when I’m walking and not driving) – those sorts of things.  There are more.  They aren’t life threatening – just inconvenient.

I do know what the medical terms mean – its the effect they will have on my life I’m wondering about.  Now it’s there in black and white will I let the big words influence how I feel and live?   Do I eckers like – Not bl…..dy likely!!

At the moment things have calmed down – in fact I find it quite amusing that here I am two weeks after the scan almost pain free.  You know how when you lose something, you go and buy a new one and then find the lost one – well its almost like that.  Intolerable pain – scan to find out how severe the findings are – within a few days pain goes away.

‘We’ll continue managing it conservatively’ says the GP ‘See the chiropractor when you feel the need, keep up the exercise and try to lose a little more weight, if you feel they help take your vitamins, fish oil and glucosamine.’ This visit he did however offer me a script – an anti inflammatory – ‘for when you feel you really need it’.

In other words, there’s no magic wand available, learn to live with it – its not going to go away.

15 thoughts on “What does it really mean

  1. G’day Cathy. It’s not that easy to live with pain sometimes. I do hope that you find something that just makes it a bit easier for you. I too, have back pain and it is geting worse. I know that I have severe arthritis in the spine, several X rays have told me that, but, I am at the stage now where another trip to the doctors is required to ask for more tests because my back is much worse and there are some days that it drives me crazy. I have started having back massages, it doesn’t work wonders,doesn’t help the arthritis, but it sure does make me feel good. I wish I had a magic wand that I could just wave around and make things better and I would be sure to pay you a visit. Take care. Liz…


  2. Your doctor sounds like mine, only my problem is my lungs and pulmonary hypertension. Yada, yada, yada. Take your pills, exercise (yah, when you can’t breathe), get plenty of rest, lose weight, more yada, yada, yada. It can get a person feeling pretty low. I know.

    I have found writing is a good thing that I can do – not that I’m a good writer, but it keeps my mind occupied. I have to leave the computer when both feet are blue. Find a new passion if you can, even if you’re lousy at it. But if you’re good, the more the better.

    Getting old and having all these problems, really does suck. I just try not to suck on lemons.



    1. Oh Sharon – yours is what I would call a life threatening illness and on the outside you seem to cope well. I don’t think I’d be happy if thats all the doctor could offer, was there any more news on a transplant?


  3. Sorry that you have to go through all this. Living with constant pain sucks. Hope there s something that gives you relief.


    1. The funny thing about this problem Tina is that it comes and goes. Absolute agony at times and then calm peaceful days with no pain. Can’t pick the days tho’ lol


  4. So sorry to hear your in so much pain. Take it easy on your self and rest when you need to. Hugs to you my friend


  5. My husband was referred to an Orthopedic specialist who gives steroid spinal epidurals. Those will either work or not work. There is no between. Thankfully it worked for Ron. However his cancer treatments would not allow those shots during his recovery so he is eager to be able to go back. One shot will last six months and sometimes a year. (Sometimes only 90 days)


    1. The GP did suggest that as a way to go much further down the track Annie – I have to say I have heard about the hit and miss effect those injections can have so will contemplate it at the time (hopefully never have to) For now I use Panadol Osteo when the pain is intense.

      I’m missing your postings – How is your husband by the way?


      1. My husband is cancer free as of his last biopsy. We are soon only going to have to return for checkups once a year. Thanks for asking. I am still trying to figure out this WordPress so I can start blogging here if I can’t figure out how to set up follow-up comments again on blogger. There is some way but I don’t understand any of the directions.


  6. When my 90 something year old grandmother had aches and pains, she’d want to go to the doctor. My mother would reluctantly take her, but sure enough, she’d come home pain free and happy. 🙂

    I was reminded of Granny, who passed when she was 99, when I read your story of the scan and being pain free after you had it. 🙂

    Blessings to you as you cope with this challenge. I really hope and pray that symptoms level out and that your body will compensate and dodge the pain.


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