I’m having a hard time thinking of what to say because I think that the pictures pretty much tell the story. I’ve been complaining of back pain for a while now.. and I realized recently that it’s been SINCE JUNE that I’ve had trouble. Originally, it was upper back pain that my PCP designated as a Rhomboid Strain. I saw a Physical Therapist who said no, it’s not a rhomboid strain, it’s a misalignment of the hips. Some exercises and therapy and ta-da! The upper back pain was gone. But then I had mid-back pain. I attributed it to my gaming and resolved to just exercise more frequently and stand more. I built a standing station at work but things still didn’t get any better… nay! Then I got low back pain.
This is on top of the chronic hip pain that I’ve had for ages.
I finally went to see a Chiropractor when a spasm put me in tears at work and my mom got insistent. I was able to get in on Friday and they did some pretty fancy scans to figure out what the problem is, where it might be, and what might be causing it. I had to wait through the weekend to find out what the problem was, but when I got the results, they were a bit staggering… like, the want to cry because it seems so futile type staggering..but, I’m a cry-baby, so that’s neither here nor there. First, we took a look at muscle symmetry.. so how hard the muscles are ‘pulling’ on either side of my spine (click for larger image):
The C1 vertebrae in my neck, for example, is being pulled to the left 175% more than the right because those muscles are activated and compensating. I’m not a trained doctor, so I can’t interpret these results like a professional, and it’s been a little while since they were explained, but basically, when looking at the middle ‘graph’ the lengths of the bars (no matter the color) indicates the muscle activity. Differences in length indicate differences in activity. Color coded bars highlight areas of concern or significant differences. I have pain at the L5 (lumbar) area of my back, and from L1 through T6. At this very moment, I also have mild pain in areas T10, 11, 12. But these graphs don’t measure pain, they measure muscle activity. The next scan measures areas of concern that may also be reflecting pain due to inflammation and/or nerve pressure:
I’m honestly surprised that L5 doesn’t show up more on these scans because it has LIT UP since starting to receive treatment. It would certainly show up on a scan today.
These beginning scans start to point at an underlying problem that I’m hoping to correct through regular chiropractic care:
Look at the spinal alignment on the left. Note how the pelvis is actually off-center a little to the left of the parallel lines. Now scroll up and note where my spine travels and where my skull is ‘centered’ on the parallel lines. I assure you, they were straight up and down on the wall I was standing in front of. Standing ‘straight-‘ on my feet that distribute weight with more than a 25 pound difference right to left. The x-ray on the right is highlighting the beginning of a loss of the curvature of my spine.
The number 6 there is calling attention to a vertebrae in my neck that has started to come out of alignment as a result of those muscles pulling and pulling to my left. Here it is in chiropractic jargon:
Phase 1 disc degeneration and the very beginning stages of ‘spinal arthritis’ in my thoracic spine. I’m hopeful that it can be halted or reversed with regular chiropractic care. I’m signed up to meet with my doctor every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next 4-6 weeks. I’ve got 18 appointments all plotted out already, carrying me into March. I’ve gotten adjusted 3 times so far. The first time I didn’t feel any different. The second, my hips felt worse. The third time, I felt tender at the L5 location but it felt GOOD to stand all day and I didn’t even want to sit.
I’m keeping hope that Chiropractic care will help. I’m getting a new swim suit this weekend so I can continue swimming regularly at my local fitness center. Once Jeff and I move, we’ll also be looking into getting new, more supportive bed. He’s on board with my care plan and said he’d do whatever it takes for me to get better.
I’m glad that I went and that we have a plan. I’ll do another update in March when I get new scans so that you can follow along with my progress. Let’s go out and have a healthy day!