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.
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.
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.
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.