Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bursitis? ... Not!

Last week I shared the story about my leg pains and the preliminary assessment that I was dealing with bursitis, in this case an inflamation of the bursor on my hip. The chiropractor gave it that label and with some online searching it seemed to fit. The hip busor is where all of the various muscles in the upper leg and butt come together at the outside of the hip bone or pelvis. But as the pain hung around we decided to take it to another level, get another truly diagnostic opinion. On Friday I went to see the Orthopedic surgeon. He took pictures (xrays) of the hip and then examined me and said he didn't think it was bursitis, and thought it might be the sciatic nerve, and that he want to get an MRI, including a look at the lower spine. After asking me if I was claustrophobic he told me he would make arangements for the MRI and that it would be a week or so before they got the approvals to go ahead ... all of that is in process now.

I was initially disheartened by the sciatic nerve preliminary diagnosis. It seemed like one more strike against this old body. Anyway, on Saturday morning I headed to the chiropractor for another adjustment, having decided to keep getting regular adjustments to see if they would help, at least until the MRI. I also decided I would pursue some Massage Therapy which I hope to get started this week. And in the meantime, after working through a serious case of shared "getting old" blues with Mary, she started digging into the web information to learn more about sciatica and she is now betting on my hip and leg issues being problems with my puriformis.

Let me explain. The number 1 cause of sciatic problemns is Puriformis Syndrome. This occurs much more frequently than disk problems. The puriformis is a muscle in the butt and it just so happens that the sciatic nerve passes under (86% of people) or through and/or around (14% of people). And reading the details, lots of the info seemed to fit. I jumped right on some new puriformis stretches along with my regular stretching routine and felt almost imediate relief. Hope abounds. Now as I wait for the MRI to find out what is so irritated, I plan to pursue a course of stretching including the new puriformis strecthes, applying hot and cold therapy (I am currently trying some heat), chiropractic adjustments and finally massage. I would love to go back in and tell the orthopedic doctor I am feeling much better and then learn from him and the MRI what I can about my lower back and left hip.

All of this is of interest for obvious reasons, it is hard to have much fun lying on my back or having to stand up all of the time. Yes these were the only two postions where I was consistently pretty comfortable. Sitting was the worst and I found it difficult to hold still, expect for a few chairs that seemed to work. Car seats were bad, especially the Volvo with its plush seats. And my new R&D job involves some travel . Frankly I am scared at the prospect of a cross country plane flight if my leg is acting up sitting down. With these motivations and Mary wanting to see me out of pain I am delighted to have found what looks like a plan to improve.

The learning for me is when they say stretch they mean stretch ... no short cuts. So I expect this is one more reminder to me that I am getting older and that I need to take care of myself. The scars and problems I inflicted as a younger man cannot be fixed, but I need to be disciplined and do the things necessary to preserve and maximize what remains and persevere. It doesn't get easier, but it sure is nice when you find some answers with more to come.

Thats all for now ...

1 comment:

Hoag said...

Yay! I'm glad you've found some relief. And...the whole stretching bit? I need to take your fatherly usual!