Fall last July. Trying physical therapy, painkillers.

Lois llevin@mediaone.net

I fell on my (slippery) dock in Maine last July and was diagnosed (first by a surgeon/family member, then by my internist) two months later. I took NSAIDs and received physical therapy. PT helped by strengthening supportive muscles and stretching the gluteus and piriformis muscles. But as soon as I stop exercising the pain returns. I have stopped wearing jeans (the seam tortures me when I sit) and I cannot drive my new car (Subaru Forester) because the seats feel so hard (fortunately we also have an old car, although I don't drive much because of the pain.) I work mostly at home- a self-employed, semi-retired 57 year-old female clinical psychologist, and I am fortunate in having control over my work hours. But I am at my desk a lot writing (at a laptop) and kneeling is not entirely satisfactory. The kneeling deskchair (Balans) I have used for years makes the pain worse.

Thirty years ago I spent two years nearly unable to sit down after an auto accident (in an old VW bug). I learned to stand at all the best places (concert halls, theatres, meetings in hospitals), and after a couple of years, I did get better. I suspect the current injury is worse because of residual damage from the old one.

Also, I had a neck injury (injured myself using Nautilus exercise machine about 15 years ago) which did not respond to PT (and only temporarily to medications), but strengthening exercises (which promoted improved posture) and general fitness training have resolved that problem. I still swim, but I'm afraid to get on a bicycle or to do anything that puts pressure on the base of the spine. Even playing the piano is a problem. The hardest part is that the pain consumes my energy, and I have less stamina for daily activities - even walking, cleaning up the yard. I did well on vacation (snorkeling, swimming, bird-watching, hiking) but as soon as I got home and back to my usual activities, it was back to square one. Fortunately I can still read and listen to NPR (BBC, too) on my back. I have just finished nearly a month of taking 100mg of Celebrex, the new arthritis drug, (which has no side effects); while I don't think it helped much, it didn't hurt either. I'm still looking for ways to improve this unfortunate situation.

Updated 1999-04-24

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