Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crabby and Owie. Not Necessarily in that Order.

I finally decided to go to the doctor yesterday and see if we couldn't get down to the actual reason behind my ongoing lower back pain. I was actually looking forward to the visit, because I wanted to know what was going on.

And now I do. Which is both good and bad. Good, because it's not all in my head. Bad, because he diagnosed me with degenerative disk disease, which is kind of like being diagnosed with allergies. There isn't a ton that you can do to reverse it, and it's a pretty nebulous, catch-all diagnosis.

Apparently, the discs between two of my lumbar vertebrae are smaller than they should be, at least according to the X-ray. Which doesn't actually show the discs, just the spaces in between. Mostly because I am apparently slightly scoliotic in my lower back and that puts excess pressure on the discs and wears them down faster.

First the doctor (who I feel obliged to point out missed the course on bedside manner) asked me if I smoked, and when I said no, he told me not to start. Thanks, champ--I'll get right on that. Then, I was told "don't get fat--that will make this worse." Check--on that too. I was then told to run out to Costco and buy glucosamine and fish oil supplements to take 3X a day (which are HORSE PILLS, by the way. If I was someone who had trouble taking pills, I wuld seriously choke and die on these things. Gah!), and given a bunch of plank-type exercises to do. And told to come back in next week.

So I went home and cried.

And when I was done with that, I remembered that I used to work for orthopaedic surgeons and decided to do a little internet research. I went to the AAOS website, which is the organization that administers board exams for orthopods. I figured that it was probably more reliable than say, Wikipedia. Basically, it told me that x-rays are helpful, but not definitive at all, and that low back pain can have a bunch of different causes.

So after several conversations, including one with Indie Rocker where he sweetly pointed out, "At least he's asking you to do stuff that's good for you anyway!!", I decided that going to an orthopaedic surgeon for a second opinion was a good idea. My ever-helpful mother asked if I wanted to go see one of the guys on the Hill.

No. Because I cannot take a man seriously regarding my health when he once handed me a still-smoking laptop because he spilled coffee on it.

Quote of the Day: "'The body does crazy things.' Well, that explains everything." Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), House, M.D..

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