Real-Life Damage a.k.a. Getting Old Sucks

I’ve been having chronic hip and back pain for the better part of the last year. It started last summer, and resulted in many, many visits to multiple doctors, six plus months of physical therapy, a couple thousand ibuprofen tablets consumed and various other prescription drugs. None of this seemed to be effective; in fact the condition became worse and worse over time, to the point where I was physically pretty non-functional for a lot of the last three months. The pain was extending down as far as the ankles, and my back was visibly crooked when I stood or walked. Getting around (at school, for example) was a daily ordeal.

The initial diagnosis, when the pain was mostly confined to the left hip, was for Bursitis. It became apparent a few months ago that the root problem was in the back, specifically in the Sciatic Nerve, which was being pinched or impacted somehow and causing both the hip and back pain and muscle spasms.

Exercise did not seem to help. I was walking for a few miles a day on a treadmill and was doing some bike and elliptical work — as much as I could stand — and still the condition did not abate. Nor did visits to a Chiropractor. Nothing I did seemed to have result in any sustained improvement, and for about the last three months or so the idea of exercise has been simply unthinkable.

The root cause is probably my sedentary lifestyle consisting of way too much sitting combined with a lack of core strength and being somewhat overweight. I’m not grossly flabby but I’m heavier than I should be, enough to have a negative impact.

A month ago I started seeing a massage therapist once a week. Not your fancy rubdown type massage, but the deep tissue and pressure point stuff combined with really intense stretches. Each massage is quite an unpleasant experience, actually, and I have felt stiff and dreadful the next day.

Yesterday I noticed that with no coaxing on my part my back was visibly straighter. I’m also sitting normally for the first time in months. And while I’m not entirely comfortable, the pain and discomfort are a lot less and are very manageable unless I’m going out of my way to exert myself (like while walking around at the zoo for three hours today, for example.)

I haven’t really been talking about this online at all, but now seems like a good time to mention it. It’s getting better, and I appear to have turned the corner on the fucking thing at long last.

6 responses to “Real-Life Damage a.k.a. Getting Old Sucks

  1. I had sciatica the other year, which lasted 6-8 months. Had some physio which got the worst of it, but also involved me spending almost 3 months lying on my stomach and not able to sit upright for more than 30m at a time. It sucked. So my heart and thoughts go out to you. But, even though I’m overweight too, it did eventually get better and I’m no longer in constant pain, though I get the odd twinge sometimes!

  2. Make sure you drink a lot of water after each massage therapy session. You need it to flush the toxins released.

  3. I highly recommend you get one of those pilates balls (you can find them cheaply at Target etc.) and start doing some simple core-strengthening exercises.

    http://exercise.about.com/cs/abs/l/bl_core.htm

    I started about a year ago and have been slowly adding more and longer exercises precisely to strengthen the small muscles along the spine as well as around the core. It has made a huge difference in my quality of life. Getting old only beats the alternative. Good luck.

    • derp. on a re-read, i noticed you already had. maybe you need a different chiropractor. or a long talk with the first one.
      i had some serious back issues a few years ago, went to the chiropractor and nothing. so i called and had a talk with the guy, went back and after the 2nd visit felt immediate improvement. i’ve been going monthly for 5 years now.