Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In which I declare mightily that I am hearilty and thoroughly SICK of being in pain

Right before Christmas I did ‘something’ to my back that has resulted in about a month of consistent pain in the lumbar region. At first the pain was spasmodic and crippling, but only if I had to go from a leaning over or seated position to a standing or ‘other’ position. Made blow-drying my hair and getting up from a chair very difficult, and made me make ‘oy’ noises to occupy my time while waiting for the spasms to subside.

Thankfully, the spasms have largely gone (it’s a long process, I’m finding out), but the positional pain is now a near constant, and the position it's most present in is when I sit.

The irony in this is that I SIT, pretty all the time, at my job. I sit, and type. And sometimes drink water or send snarky IMs to colleagues, but it's virtually all done while in a sitting position. This makes working more difficult than usual, as I’m a world-class slumper and sloucher, which, I’ve found out, is the reason my back hurts in the first place, because I WAS SITTING WRONG. Sitting wrong. I failed at sitting. Dwell on that for a minute with me. Stupefyingly, it's becoming apparent that I am incapable of doing correctly what I learned to do as an infant. I effed up sitting for so long my back is now prohibiting me from doing it comfortably. Astounding, wouldn't you agree?

So what to do about correcting those pesky and painful sitting issues? Well, word is I can forget curling forward pensively while pondering an important email or bit of Farkery, forget sliding down in the chair to ‘sit on my spine' while cogitating over the latest Frazz or nugget of safety information from a recent clinical study, forget sitting with knees crossed or chin in hand or slightly sideways during the course of an 8-hour workday. Forget them all, because they are the reason that something has gone dreadfully wrong in my spinal column! Yessir, those behaviors, the 'go-tos' for saving me from the dreaded numb-butt syndrome are now identified as the cause of the back thing, and so it's time to choose - either have a numb butt or a pain-free back!

The answer is simple and clear: I will have to say goodbye to being able to feel my rear. In my view, an absence of sensation is infinitely preferable to consistently feeling pain.

Being an avid user of the internet and being imbued with a healthy sense of self-awareness, I have self-diagnosed the issue as being a bulge in a disc in my spine. On the left side. About L3, if I’m any good at guessing, though likely it’s L5 as that’s the most common area to have this kind of issue. No matter, ONE of them is giving me trouble, and as the trouble’s been at a static level for a week or so now, it’s clear I need to see someone to have the problem taken care of (and probably to get yelled at for not taking care of it sooner. Oh, the joys of being a procrastinator).

When I posited this issue of possible treatment on FB a couple of weeks ago (because I obviously like to complain on multiple platforms as to as many people as humanly possible), it seems that those with opinions of what kind of treatment to seek were in 1 of 2 camps, chiropractor or acupuncturist. I know chiro is the more traditional way to go (after maybe seeing a doc who would prescribe me some med that would likely make me barf because I cannot do morphine or its many delicious derivatives), but I like the idea of acupuncture better because the thought of someone manipulating my already-fragile spine is horrifying at this moment. However, I’m not sure the acupuncture will be covered under insurance and I am a cheapskate and would really rather never pay full price when the insurance I pay for covers something I would therefore not have to pay for. Even being the miser that I am though, if acupuncture ISN’T covered I might still go that route (see ‘fear of pain’ above). Because hey - I can certainly lie still while the chi starts a-flowin' again, and I've heard those needles don't hurt (again, see 'fear of pain').

Meanwhile, I’m making all the adjustments I can to HOW I’m sitting, which include the following: back against the chair so legs are fully supported, lower back padded with a pillow to enhance spine curvature, and regular move-around breaks. I know I’m pretty lucky to have lived this long without major issues, as I know some folks have a lot more to deal with than just a little back pain, so I’m sorry to be such a dang whiner, but damn. To be mutinied by a body part sucks.

Feel free to chime in with your opinions on what sort of treatment I should seek. I have to go – it’s time to walk around and listen to my joints creak and maybe say 'oy' a few times. Mazeltov!

Tiff out.

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