Wanted: 1 new spine

This is an x-ray of the lumbar region of my actual spine.

Right in the middle of the x-ray, you can see that my L5 vertebra has slipped forward and is making bone-to-bone contact with my sacrum.

This condition, as I’ve come to find out over the past few days, is called spondylolisthesis. This condition is: 1.) uncomfortable; 2.) inconvenient; and 3.) downright scary.

Uncomfortable
Over the past month, I’ve been experiencing pain that starts in the lower back, radiates through the left buttock, and then travels down my left leg. In addition, I experience tingling all down my leg and through to my toes, mild numbness in my feet, and general weakness in my left leg. These symptoms come and go, and they tend to come throughout the night, causing significant sleep interruption.

Inconvenient
Working, sitting at a desk at a computer, is very uncomfortable, and while I have plenty of sick leave available, missing work, especially unplanned, is always inconvenient. Worse, by far, is impact this has on my skiing activities.

When I skied last week, the weakness in my legs kicked in after lunch and I could not ski after a 2pm. Worse than that, before the diagnosis was made, I booked a condo near the Steven Pass area for two nights after Christmas. If I can’t ski that weekend, I will be SO bummed out.

Scary
As I’ve learned, the tingling, numbness, and weakness are the result of the vertebra compressing a nerve. Too much compression over too much time can result in nerve damage, and nerve damage can lead to permanent tingling, weakness, and numbness. Today I had an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, and depending on the results I could be looking at either chiropractic adjustment along with core-strengthening exercises (if there isn’t much damage and the area is stable), or surgery. The former means I get to ski on Christmas weekend, the latter, well, no skiing.

So, if you’re following at home, I could use all of the positive mojo you can send my way. Visualize me carving up the blue runs at Stevens all day, followed by a soothing soak in a hot tub.

7 thoughts on “Wanted: 1 new spine

  1. welcome to my world. i had surgery for this condition last september. my symptoms, however, were in my left arm and hand. numbness, tingling, the threat of permanent damage. i had it all.

    now, more than a year later, the symptoms are resolving, slowly.

    it was a major wake-up call.

    i hope you do better. good luck.

    1. Yikes! Not really the kind of positive mojo I was hoping for, mr. needl.

      I mean, I’m glad your symptoms are resolving, but come on!

      Seriously, I knew you had knee surgery, but I didn’t know about the spine surgery. Was it a fusion procedure?

    1. LOL! I drained all of the spineless Democrat vitriol out of my system at Transcendental Floss. Oh, I still get angry, but I’ve been mostly successful of not having that bleed into my blogging.

  2. no fusion. the condition was cervical spondylosis, with radiculopathy. the procedure was called a cervical laminectomy. basically, the neurosurgeon went in and removed some bone spurs, resected a partially herniated disc, and carved out some room for the nerve.

    woo hoo!

  3. i got a new sit-stand work station out of the deal. i now stand at my desk throughout the day. the only time i sit is in meetings, and sometimes not even then. it’s great. oh, i also got a decorative scar on the back of my neck. i’m thinking of turning it into a new tattoo.

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