i’ve written about fibromyalgia and diabetes and psoriasis but i’ve never written about spinal stenosis. i’ve never really talked about it to anyone before. it’s a bit hard to explain, or at least it takes a little while and not nearly as many people have heard of it.
spinal stenosis causes me more pain than any of my other ailments. it’s a narrowing of the spinal column, caused by a few different things, it’s arthritis in my case. the problems occur at L4 and L5. the column narrows enough to cause the discs to bulge and pinch nerves. i also have the same problem at the sacroiliac joints.
i have a very hard time walking, i’ve talked about that a lot. people don’t believe it when i tell them about how long i can stand up and how far i can walk. more about walking in another post. i walk with a cane most of the time. sometimes i wish for a walker or that i could collapse into a wheel chair. like fibromyalgia, the spinal stenosis has flares.
when it’s bad i have to drag myself around with my cane. trying to go upstairs makes me cry. laying in bed is better than standing or walking, but it’s far from comfortable. there is intense pain in my low back. pain in my hips and butt, weird inside pain in my pelvis. that pelvic pain makes me nauseated. i felt pain like that from endometriosis, too. i should talk about that, too (endometriosis, that is). pain from internal organs is different than any other. awful. nerve pain is also different than any other. then there’s injury pain, like broken bones, and the pain from pain in muscles and ligaments is all it’s own too. ahhh and arthritis pain. argh! and stomach pain. lol, i have it all!
my legs are very weak. i trip and fall too often. it bothers me. i see stairs and i imagine falling down them and just feel terrified. every once in awhile i wipe out at home and end up on the floor. it’s no fun! standing is very difficult. if i am in the kitchen and i want to use my phone to control my stereo, instead of being able to just stand there and do it, i have to sit down just to do that. i don’t go to stores very often because i can’t trust my legs to survive it without buckling, or getting a stab of pain down my leg or in my back and making a grunty ouch noise, lol, cause sometimes i just can’t help it! leaning on things like shopping carts helps a little but not nearly enough.
the stenosis is bad enough that my huz has to do 99% of what needs doing to keep things going well in our lives and home and meals and shopping, laundry, etc. my jobs are to make his lunch before he goes to work and taking the dog out to pee (he takes doggy out to poop 2x a day) 6 or 7 times a day. he’s getting older and i want to make sure he’s comfortable. i have to make sure i take all my meds and my injection and blood sugar, take care of myself (it can be a challenge because of the fibro fatigue.. we hire people to clean.
it didn’t take too terribly long to diagnose this. an MRI shows everything they need to see. it’s cool to be able to look at the MRI pictures with the doctor and have him show me exactly where the problem is and what’s going on.
there are drugs to take to make it easier. in general you don’t take narcotic pain relievers for it because it’s chronic. i take a prescription NSAID, use hot and cold packs, do stretching (i could be a lot better about doing that on a regular basis!) and unfortunately, bed rest.
i have degenerative disc disease, which means things will just get worse.
one day at a time!