My back problems – Thursday 4th April 2024

My back problems

My back problems are not ideal. Mum and I both felt pretty down when we came back from the specialist yesterday. Our appointment was late so we had quite a long wait. I did my usual barky thing so we stood outside waiting and I protected the whole building against all comers. Anyway, when we went through to the consulting room I was as good as gold and Mum said that was what really mattered. The specialist was lovely and asked me lots of questions about my symptoms and how long they had been going on. He asked what we had tried for my care so far and told us we’d done all the right things, which was good to hear. Then he examined me.

My examination

He asked me to walk up and down so he could see my movement from all angles. Then he examined each of my legs in turn, spending longer on the back ones. He tested my reflexes, extended each leg through its range of movement. Moved my feet and looked at how I brought them back to the right positions – or didn’t! He made me move my neck too and looked how I held it. He was very careful and tried not to cause me any unnecessary pain.

The results for my back problems

He confirmed I have something called degenerative lumbosacral disease. There were a whole list of things he mentioned and I probably can’t explain all of them, but are parts of my discs pressing on nerves and bony spurs and something called stenosis. Anyway, none of it is good news. It explains why I can’t always feel some of my toes and why sometimes I’m standing a little oddly.

What next?

He has suggested we try some final steps of conservative management first. I am not allowed to go upstairs. I need to exercise on lead and remember not to jump. In addition I will be having some physiotherapy and laser treatment on my back for a few weeks. Although he says it is important to try these first, he has warned me that there is a strong possibility they will not work. He wants us to review in three to four weeks and see if there is any improvement. If there isn’t, then I will probably need an MRI scan to see the extent of things pressing on the nerves and would then need surgery on my back. None of that sounds great.

In it together

Mum has said that we’re in this together. If I have to sleep downstairs then so will she. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem as the main bedroom is downstairs, but it’s out of action because of the building work. It means Mum sleeping on the sofabed in the kitchen and since they took the door out between that and the garden room it really is quite draughty. Mum says I’m not to worry about that and she’s sure she’ll be fine. She has asked the builders how quickly they can get the bedroom back to being usable.

Love

Wilma

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