Saturday, May 17, 2008

Can't hold me back

What is holding you back?
Is it your back?
*waits for laughter from wordplay enthusiasts to die down...*

I am a chiropractor who has suffered from back pain, who almost missed her own wedding due to a pinched nerve, and who has since developed an illicit and embarrassing crush on her neurosurgeon (I ♥ Dr. Tator!)

My x-rays are abysmal, my MRIs confound and astound the most erudite radiologist.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that your grandmother's L5/S1 disc is more intact than mine.

But I am not a victim, I do not accept a life sentence of pain and limitation, and lucky for me, structure does NOT always equal function.

Many people want to see the cause of their pain - they insist on x-rays and MRIs to determine the source, and are often disappointed when nothing is found. Surely there must be *something* there, it hurts! Likewise when that *something* is found, we are quick to do bad math: pain + arthritis = the arthritis in my spine makes me hurt. When we assume that structure (degenerated discs) equals function (low back pain) we set ourselves up as victims of an irreversible process, doomed to experience pain forever. So while I accept that my low back is my Achilles heel (what does that make my achilles tendon?), I don't accept forever.

Frankly, my lumbar spine does not look any better on x-ray than it did 3 years ago, when I experienced a level of pain I did not think was possible. Today I have the same low back, whole different outlook. I refuse to succumb to disc dictation, I will not be a victim. You will never hear me announce that I have a 'bad' back - my back is not bad, it is doing the best it can. It has different needs than yours. It is 'special'. It is mine!

I will kick and scream and punch and fight whatever tries to hold me back...

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