Back Pain: Is Permanent Relief Possible?

I’ve always congratulated myself for having avoiding back problems like those suffered by many of my co-workers and friends. I was especially smug, considering the abuse I had put my poor back through getting thrown from horses over the years. No, not a gentle “fall” but more like a projectile launch into a fence or body slam onto rock hard ground. I walked away, albeit gingerly. Now the bill has come due. Like many horsemen and others, I suddenly started experiencing pain down my left leg. I initially thought it was a pulled hamstring as a result of taking up running again. When it failed to go away and even escalated to some foot numbness, I contacted a doctor.  The usual first go-to treatment is to reduce swelling with a course of oral steroids. I did that twice, now on a third. I underwent physical therapy with no results. Eventually I sought the advice of an orthopedic surgeon, who ordered an MRI. The results showed various forms of degeneration from about L4 to S1 along with disc bulge. Still, it could be that the sciatica was being pinched in there, too. The ortho rather dismissively told me to find a spine pain management center and a series of epidural steroid injections. Might work, might not. A lot of people find relief from them. But others don’t.

Call me cautious, but I’m not crazy about the idea of someone stabbing me in the spine and injecting steroids, which may not be the problem area or may not work. Seeking alternate advice, I’m planning on seeing a chiropractor and maybe acupuncturist before I take this step. Now, I must say, I am so much more sympathetic towards those who live with constant pain, especially along the back. Stay tuned for updates on my pain remedy adventure. I’d love to hear from others who have been down this same road.

View from the saddle
View from the saddle

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