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The Joys of Traction

Good morning!

Have you all been basking in all the cool and awesome things that have been happening lately?

I soaked up yesterday’s National Coffee day by indulging in not one, not two, but THREE glorious cups of luxurious bean blends. Bliss in a cup. An odd fact about me: I love chocolate and I love coffee but I absolutely detest any kind of mocha coffee. I’ve tried quite a few brands but can’t find something that’s not icky and overwhelmingly artificial tasting. I’ll stick with my hazelnuts and French vanillas…

coffee dayWe were relaxing and watching Sunday Night Football when they showed a camera shot of the lunar blood moon eclipse and I’m so glad they did because we totally forgot about it. What a site though! I remember my Mom rushing us young kinds outside every now and then to see the interesting solar phenomenon. One year there was an eclipse during the day and we were driving and mom pulled over and did some fancy trick with a piece of paper so we could see the eclipse on the paper and not burn our eyes looking at the sun.

My Facebook feed exploded and I think almost everyone I know took at least 2 dozen pictures! I can’t blame them though – it was huge, bright and just lovely in the sky.

moon 2 moon 1

Have any of you seen this timelapse picture going around the Web? I think it’s really beautiful:

mike mezeul timelapse(Image: mike-mezeul)

Last week I had x-rays done on my lower back as the first step towards some more “invasive”? therapy. I didn’t know it was possible to be in such pain for such a long time. So far I’ve spent over $350 on massages and who knows how much on chiropractic (the bill hasn’t come yet – ha) and we’re not seeing improvement folks. I’m not sure how this all came about but basically I can’t bend over at all without a lot of pain. I’m also having trouble sitting in certain chairs or sofas if they put too much pressure on my back. There’s been lots of ice, Bio freeze, and Ibuprofen.

I got a look at my x-rays and sure enough there is a problem. I guess it’s better to have an issue you can see rather than something no one can isolate and treat. It looks like my lowest disc (L5) is about 1/3 the normal size. The good news is the rest of my spine and vertebrae look good but the lack of cushioning is what’s causing the pain.

Here’s a pretty close illustration of exactly what’s happening with me:

lumbar-disc-4-and-5

So my next step is trying a couple weeks of traction therapy to see if that eases the pain. If you’ve never done traction before – it’s a bit weird… You lie on your stomach and they strap your feet to the edge of the table. Then the lower half of the bed (from just below the waist down to your toes) begins to slowly swing down, lengthening the back and putting tension on sore areas.

chiro-traction

I’ve never thought of myself as a claustrophobic person but it’s weird being strapped in face down and having this machine pulling on you for 10 minutes while no one is around in the room. It doesn’t feel great – but I have been starting to notice a little progress and if this keeps me from going the steroid-shot-in-the-back route (I’m not as brave as Ben!) then I’m willing to try this for a bit and see. I’ll let you guys know how this works.

It’s a weird year for backs. Both Ben and his brother have had really bad low back pain. I’ve been a stickler for trying less invasive and permanent methods first and Ben’s been patient going through the oral steroids, then the steroid shot, and is good about morning stretches and has had about 75% pain reduction. Ben’s brother decided to skip all of that and is about to have surgery done to remove his bulging disc. Yikes!

So our house has been filled with slip-on shoes, strap on ice packs, pain gels, anti-inflammatories, and tons of paper filled with various low back pain exercises. I am not sure we really are in our mid-30s… I think we feel closer to mid-70s. 🙂

Here’s to pain-free!!!

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2 Responses

  1. Lower back pain! Ouch! I hope the traction therapy helps you. I had some type of low back pain some years back and the PMR (physical medicine & rehabilitation) dr. had me do PT. Thankfully, that helped me. Good luck with the traction therapy. How many times a week do you do this?

  2. Having suffered with back pain, I feel for you. It just sucks. I hope the traction works out for you!

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