Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Back Pain

My back hurts.

It's been hurting for quite some time.  I had x-rays taken the other day and the doctor reported that there was degenerative damage in several places on my spine.  I can hear grinding every time I turn my head from side to side. 

I've been dealing with the arthritis in my body since I was fifteen years old.  The pain and the immobility is nothing new to me.  I've been on so many different medications over the years that I can't even name them all. 

I don't tell you this to obtain pity or sympathy, only for you to fully appreciate my situation.  Despite the fact that the doctors have always told me that I can't do any sort of aerobic activity, I've been successfully, although somewhat clumsily, been participating in a Zumba class for over a year.  My joints sometimes ache and swell, but I keep pressing on in spite of the pain.

Lily Tomlin is "The Incredible Shrinking Woman"
I have dealt with the swelling, the pain, and the weight gain for more than half of my life.  But here's what has made me mad.  At a recent appointment the nurse measured my height.  I have shrunk a quarter of an inch!!  I am outraged.  I made the nurse remeasure me three times.  I was in total disbelief that I had shrunk.  Shrinking is what old people and Lily Tomlin do and, while I'm no spring chicken anymore, I don't think I'm exactly at the point where I should be shrinking!  (I have also not been exposed to any unusual combinations of household cleaners that might explain my situation.)  I'm already vertically challenged and consider every inch I have as a precious commodity. 

The realization of my vertical descent has moved me to action.  I am considering going to a chiropractor.  I can already hear my mother yelling, "Nooo!"  at the computer screen.  We were raised to have an sure and undisputed distrust of any person who has a "Dr." before their name but no "M.D." after it.  In short, I was raised to believe that art of chiropractic care is largely hokum.  I look at chiropractors with the same mistrust as dentists, with their fluoride treatments and tooth whitening systems. 

However, a friend of mind from high school is now a chiropractor.  I respect him and his practice, so I am ignoring all of my instincts and considering calling his office.  Up until this point, the closest I've come to a spinal adjustment is having a tall person stand behind me and, while I cross my arms in front of me giving myself a bear hug, they pick me up off my feet by my elbows.  I'm sure that's frowned upon in the chiropractic community, but it does lead to a satisfying cracking sound.

This is my nightmare.
Before I go to the chiropractor I need to find out if there is any nakedness involved.  I am a very shy and conservative person.  I am uncomfortable being undressed to any degree in front of anybody.  I tolerate medical professionals seeing my skin, but really try to avoid it as much as possible.  I get through it by reminding myself that it is very clinical.  But if I go to see my chiropractor friend, it won't seem as clinical because I know him.  Quite honestly, I did not perfect the art of changing from my clothes into my uniform in the back of the Lancer Band bus in high school without exposing any part of myself to the peering eyes of Ed Robinson just so that I can disrobe in front of Joe Manza twenty years and three C-sections later in a well-lit exam room. 

But this is how desperate I have become.  I am willing to go to a chiropractor, not so much to alleviate my pain, but with the hope that somehow, if my vertebrae are stacked correctly, I will regain my lost quarter inch. 


Janet H. said...

Poor Kim!!! Working with a chiropractor can be quite satisfying but the key is to stick with it and continue with the treatment plan even though you feel better.
That said, let's turn to the nakedness my experience, no there hasn't been any. However, there is a lot of touching in order to move (contort) the body into a position that will realign or do whatever it is they determine that is needed.
I hope this least a little bit!

Kim said...

Thanks, Janet! I really appreciate your input!