Coping with neck and back pain
(camera phone shot of my x-ray)

It’s almost 4am and I’m wide awake again. Why is that you ask? Well, it’s cuz a brotha is in pain. A lil’ over a year ago the good doc informed me that I had a degenerative disc in my lumbar spine. This is defined by medical professionals as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). Doc explained to me that it’s not really a disease, but more of an aging process through wear and tear. I don’t care what they classify it as, all I know is that it hurts like hell!!!!! I’ve been in extreme pain the past 3 months and made a special trip back to the doctor’s office last week to ensure that no further issues had developed. The x-rays didn’t show anything different though. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.

As much pain as I’ve been in I began to wonder if I had another injury somewhere. Basically, the same degenerative disc between my 6th & 7th vertebrae is still plaguing me. I wanted to make sure that no further problems had developed however, so I had an MRI on Friday night. That’s another thing in itself. I’m not fearful of having MRI’s, I just don’t like having them. Laying stiff in a casket-like cone for 90 minutes with earplugs in my ears to suppress the loud clanging and vibrating is not my idea of a fun time. I’ve had the process done at least 7 times in the past 13 years including 3 times in the past 3 years. I’m really coming grips with the fact that I’m getting older.

Each day I have to drive for at least an hour each way as I commute to work. Most of that ride is spent sitting in traffic. I’m really starting to contemplate if it’s really worth it. I mean, the frustration in dealing with knuckleheads on the Beltway is enough to drive any sane person mad. But sitting in stop and go traffic raises the level ‘slightly’… lol. I tend to notice more soreness and discomfort the minute I step from the car into the office and also when I arrive home after each work day. However I do know that when I’m moving around, I do feel at my best. It’s those points when I’m not able to stretch or move freely that I’m in the most pain. I suppose in a way that’s why it’s so difficult for me to get going each morning after laying in bed for at least 6 hours.

I think I’ve honestly tried to maintain as much as I can without popping pills again. It really has come to a point where the recommended dosage of narcotics and painkillers do nothing for me, so I don’t take them much anymore. I’ll take an occasional muscle relaxer, but that’s more to try and sleep peacefully than anything. Obviously I didn’t take one last night. I experiment with drinking tea as a way to calm my nerves or use a Thermophore heating pad on my back as I lay in the bed. I actually find that when I’m the most active, is when I don’t feel the pain as much. I’m playing flag football once a week and I played basketball for a good part of the summer in the work summer league. Well, let me re-state that. I don’t feel as much pain when participating in the activities, but afterwards… Good Lawd!!!!

So, I’m still waiting for my MRI results from last Friday. With each thought of what will be revealed to me, I wonder how I will approach it. I’m just trying to cope with it ya know? I don’t have any intention of getting any kind of spinal fusion surgery or epidural injections. But I do wonder if there’s another solution to the pain like going to a Chiropractor, or having acupuncture or massage therapy. Right now, I just wanna go back to sleep. These nights of waking up in pain are taking their toll on me. When it’s time for me to get up and go to work, I’m sleepy and then I’ve got to sit in traffic. That makes for a great way to start the day doesn’t it? I’m trying not to get frustrated with this. All I keep hearing from folks is that a lot of people have back problems after the age of 30. Ummmm… that doesn’t make me feel better people.

Doc even told me that he has back problems too. I do appreciate him though because he refused to give me any more meds cuz he knows it’s just masking the true problem. In his words, “some folks just live with it”. That wasn’t exactly what I was looking for from him, but it was the truth. However the thought of waking up each morning and struggling to do ‘normal’ things without pain is somewhat disheartening. I suppose at this point I’ll continue to grin and bear it in hopes that the good Lord will bring a healing to my mind, body and soul and keep giving me that inner strength and intestinal fortitude to cope each and every day.

I guess I’ll go back to bed now. I’ve got 2 hours til I have to get up for work…

9 thoughts on “Coping with neck and back pain”

  1. Well i hope its nothing any more worse for you to combat…I have scoliosis so I know about back pain. Sometimes when I drive, i use a pillow to support my neck. Have u tried commuting on the train? Good luck witht he results..

  2. See I was gone make jokes about you picking up all the big girls during your wild and crazy sexual days as a youngster coming to haunt you but I won’t..

    Back pain is no joke and although you arent going to have surgery, you may want to try a back brace. My girlfriend ended up having to use that when she sits.. and it has helped her problems with her discs..

    I hope your back feels better.. drugs do nothing.. you need a bush doctor.. LOL 🙂

  3. Ouch! Sorry that you are going through such pain. Back pain is nothing to sneeze at.

    Hope you can find some relief. Have you tried an Herbalist or Accupuncturist? Sometimes, holistic treatments are better.

  4. Sorry to hear you are going through so much pain. As someone else stated have you tried driving with a pillow? That may work a little bit.

  5. Sorry to hear aobut your back pain. I know how much it can hurt and make the rest of life hard. when I was dealing with back pain I went to a chiropractor. It helped. I would suggest you seek out as many alternative remedies until you find soemthing that helps. Back pain is no joke. I pulled some back muscles last week working out and I almost couldn’t move the next two days. thanks goodness it wasn’t serious – a good massage helped.

  6. you know I can totally relate with pain right now and just having to deal with it…don’t let it get you down or frustrated…I would definitely try some alternative medicine to see what works and what you can do to help the pain…I will keep you uplifted in thoughts and prayers because that back pain is no joke….I know!

  7. sorry to hear about you back pain that isn’t a laughing matter. Hopefully they can find something that can elevate the pain so that you don’t have to wrestle with the pain at night

  8. I really appreciate the kind words, support and advice from everybody. It’s a lil’ bit rough for me right now, but through the grace of God I’m going to make it through this storm.

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