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...And then life throws you a curve ball

...I don't even know where to begin. I guess... a month ago? I started to experience incredible pain while sitting. In my neck, in my back, in my left shoulder. Some of this is arthritis, some is muscle strain from arthritis. I've been experiencing arthritis twinges in the knees, back, and neck for a few years now. But I've never had any trouble sitting for long periods of time. Then the pain got exponentially worse at some point in November, I am not even sure when, to the point where I can't sit and write anymore, at least not comfortably, and I have to do pain drugs from my orthopedic doctor to get through my work day. I can't sit on my recliner (at all), or on my couch/at the dinner table without major neck and back support (or any chair, really). I have an inexpensive ergonomic chair at work that I can sit in most of the day, if I get up frequently and walk and stretch out.

That's the crazy thing. It's more comfortable now to walk than sit. I take walks when I'm in too much pain. At home, I have been reduced to lying down in my bed to do most sedentary things (and you can't lie flat--I mean, everything flat, including your head and neck--and do most sedentary things, it turns out). Over Thanksgiving weekend, I lay down so much, I got a bed rash.

Now, you might say, "Well, all that sitting isn't healthy anyway." But that's kind of like saying the barn door shouldn't be left open after the horse is long gone. I am writer, and a computer programmer. I have been sedentary for a long, long time. All I can do now is try to fight against the tide.

I'm trying to figure out what changed between October and now to effect me so radically (besides crappy genes on both sides finally coming to a head against years in sedentary pursuits). And there's only one thing I can think of. In late October, I went to my orthopedic doctor about my neck arthritis, because it was becoming something of an issue at work. He sent me to a physical therapist, who worked on my neck and shoulders. It was after those sessions were completed I started to have the constant, piercing pain, even when everything was well-supported, and repeated muscle pulls and muscle tenderness.

I made a follow-up appointment with my orthopedic doctor and he took me off PT and had me schedule two MRIs, one on my back and one on my neck. I literally broke into tears from the pain in his office. I was (still am) very fearful I won't be able to do my job anymore. I remember the day--it was my birthday, last month--when the words "going on disability" popped into my head for the first time as a possible scenario.

Now, I am hoping that won't happen. I am working on all sorts of interventions. A new, orthopedic recliner (zero-grav) for home, a new gym exercise/muscle strengthening program with a personal trainer, and then, whatever interventions my orthopedic doctor recommends after he sees my MRI results (I had those done Tuesday evening).

Pain is a strange thing. I always considered myself pretty stoic, but the pain I've been experiencing lately--inescapable, debilitating to normal, everyday activities--has turned me into a harpy. You just discover this wounded animal side to your personality.

Comments

cornerofmadness
Dec. 13th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear it. It definitely sounds like the MRIs are in order because pain like that doesn't come on so suddenly usually.
masqthephlsphr
Dec. 15th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC)
I think the sudden pain is from the physical therapy. The MRIs will help with my on-going chronic arthritis. I will need some other kind of intervention for the muscle pain. What is most depressing right now is being unable to write.
cornerofmadness
Dec. 15th, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
Have they tried a TENS unit with you? It helps a lot usually
masqthephlsphr
Dec. 15th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
I don't know what that is. Can you tell me about it?
cornerofmadness
Dec. 15th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
Here you go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcutaneous_electrical_nerve_stimulation


Basically it helps to remove inflammation, can be used to stimulate an atrophied muscle etc (well EMS can but many units do both these days) . This is what I was bitching I had to send back because my insurance was being an ass. I do have another one that I left with mom. I'll get it back over the holiday.

They help. There's plenty of documentation on their benefits. It's not a cure all but it often helps.