Living with Chronic Back Pain: Part 1

Reinventing Myself

Living with chronic back and leg pain

By Cathy Smith

Why am I writing this blog?

  • I hope to help others by sharing my story

  • I hope to learn from others who respond to this blog

  • Writing this blog is good mental therapy

I was an extremely active person, likened to the energizer bunny. An avid tennis player (singles), runner, golfer, walker, aerobics, hiking, playing yard games with my three kids….Exercise is what made me tick. Napping was not in my vocabulary.

I had been experiencing hamstring tightness and strains for years and my lower back tended to ache during my long singles matches. Knee pain and butt pain had also started. A trip to orthopedist showed lumbar stenosis with bulging disks and spondylolisthesis and inflammation at L4/L5. Well, I am stubborn and I was not ready to give up my very active life style. I had two epidural injections at L4/5 to treat the inflammation, laid off high impact activities for about 4 months and then slowly returned to a modified active lifestyle (using pain as my guide).

Not wanting to bore you all with the details, I am fast forwarding to 2019 with a condensed version.  Three years ago, I experienced a disk extrusion at L4/5. Because of the spondylolisthesis and instability at L4/5, I ended up having an interbody fusion, laminectomy, decompression and discectomy (3 opinions all agreed). Recovery was going well until about week 12 when spasms set in. For the past 2 ½ years, I have been on a roller coaster with a couple good months followed by onset of spasms and a slow return to some activity. I have never been able to return to my old active self. No running, tennis or golf. I think the most shocking change in my lifestyle is the fact that I nap almost every day!!

In my upcoming blogs, I will share my journey and my new norm: living with chronic pain, mourning my old self, alternative treatments I have tried, what has worked, what has not. Second and third opinions. Pain management treatments.  My current exercise regime. How I spend my days.

Thank you for reading!


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