Back Pain Story: Disc Bulge and Ankylosing Spondylitis

I used to be a very active person. Way back, I was into dancing, swimming, aerial fitness, and more. Also, 3 years before my symptoms got worst, I used to be in a pharmaceutical company, where I was required to work in the field, lift and send heavy stocks, and do multi-tasking. I believe that I had a healthy spine and until I realized that I started to feel back pains. While working in that certain company, I already had minor back pains. However, it was 3 months after I quit the job when my symptoms got worst. When I started to work in an office job, I noticed that rest and massage could not relieve my back pain anymore. It can be tolerated so, I just disregarded it. Then, my symptoms continued, visited an Orthopedic, and ended up on NSAID’s and physical therapy. The symptoms did not subside, but rather it radiated to my entire left butt and groin. I was dependent to NSAID’s on a high dosage during the time for me to tolerate my work and daily activities.

It came to a point that I can’t walk fast anymore; I had that intense shooting pain whenever I move. Then, I started to worry much about my condition. I worked up with x-ray and the Orthopedics said that the result was inconclusive. Then, I was able to seek help from a Chiropractor and showed my radiographs, he said that my left hip was subluxated and my pelvis was anteriorly rotated which caused the intense pain on my low back, left butt, and groin. He treated me and I was able to walk without much pain anymore.

August 2016, I was admitted to the hospital because of severe vomiting. I was uncertain if it was food-borne or probably from the chronic use of NSAID’s. I was so anxious because I had an international trip scheduled 7 days after my admission, I was weak, and I was still suffering from the back pain. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and the doctor told me to consume lots of sweets for the healing of my liver. Thank God, I was discharged 3 days before the trip.

Although, I still had a bit of weakness my back pain was just minimal and I was able to do a bit of laundry 2 days before my trip. I was able to push my travel with a backpack and seated on a plane for quite long. Then, I was very careful with whatever I eat; however, I consumed a bunch of sweets.

We backpacked for 6 days and visited places. However, as the days passed during the trip, I felt that the pain was going back until I walked slowly again. I finished the trip with a hard time walking, but I was able to go back home without wheelchair assistance. I reported to work the following week, but I had much pain and I was just forcing myself to work.

The next week, I really had a hard time. I can’t even do a single step and I needed a cane to walk. A single movement hurts my back a lot, the pain was non-stop, and was miserable. I was off work for 15 days and had chiropractic treatment. Then with some sessions, I was able to move with tolerable pain, but still with the assistance of a cane. Then, I resumed my work.

I decided to have an MRI workup then I found out that I had bilateral stenosis on my L4-L5 and L5-S1 plus sacroiliitis. I never expected to have it and to suffer the miserable kind of pain.

I had physical therapy again; however, the symptoms were still there. With the chiropractic treatment, I had some relief. I consulted a rheumatologist, did laboratory examinations, and had a diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I decided to be off work again for a month. I had rest, chiropractic, and bed massage. I can walk without a cane by now, but I still have a bit of antalgic gait.

Right now, my chiropractic treatment is still continuous. I have no pain medications anymore. I resumed my work already and I am doing ways not to stress my back. The pain is still here, but I am positive to overcome it. I am so grateful for the progress that I gained so far. I am hoping for continuous recovery and to be pain-free with God’s grace.
Soon, I will be sharing the back pain treatments and remedies that helped me.

Are you also suffering from chronic pain? Please feel free to share your experience and your pain management. Who knows? Maybe your pain will be at ease when you share it. Let us lift up one another.

Summer Healing,
ARL1

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. I know back pain well having damaged my sciatic nerve when lifting a heavy weight. I very quickly became immobilised and, worse, missed a Rolling Stones concert because I couldn’t stand, let alone walk. The pain was intense for several weeks and then, over a long period of time (several months) it gradually got better. I heard so many different theories about how to recover from or be treated for back pain. In the end I followed my GP’s advice and that was gentle exercises, especially walking. In other words, try to keep moving. It all took a long time to heal – much longer than I thought. Slow and easy I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arlene says:

      Hello there the photonomad! Thank you for taking time to read my story. I feel so glad to know that someone was able to recover completely from this health condition. Knowing your story, gives me hope to be fully pain free. Looking back, it was depressing on the peak moments of pain. I am just so thankful right now, that it is getting better. Although am not on full recovery yet, the thought that the pain minimized, gives me a senseof positivity. I am grateful to hear your story, thank you for sharing it.
      Keep healthy always and continue to take care of your back.

      Like

  2. V Jozaf says:

    Someone in my family is also going through a similar situation. A friend had suggested chiropractic treatment but we were a bit relectant. Now after reading your story, I feel that we should give a try

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arlene says:

      Hello Josaf, thanks you for taking time to read my story. It is not easy seeing someone in the family having this kind of condition. In my case, I consulted orthopedics initially and had physical therapy. But, I did not get relief. My MRI showed disc bulges on 2 levels of my spine plus the sacroiliitis.
      I went to a rheumatologist for further evaluation of my SI joint and she diagnosed me for ankylosing spondylitis which is actually incurable. I was threatened and hesitant for its biologic treatment. I opted to continue my conservative treatment with a chiropractor, then as of now. I can actually walk better. I am not using cane anymore.I started to get even better when I learned to accept my condition and believed that the body has the capability to heal itself. Please encourage him/her to think positively and everything else will follow. I also tried my best to do gentle exercises so my muscles would not become so weak.
      By the way? May I know the condition that he/she was in? Was it only the disc bulge/ herniation or is the Ankylosing spondylitis. In my case I have both. I will do my best to make a post regarding my recovery this weekend. So I can share the remedies that I had. The pain was terrible and pain killers just sucks. I hope, you could get ideas there as well.
      All the best,
      arlene

      Liked by 1 person

      1. V Jozaf says:

        Thank you Arlene for taking so much of time explaining things. The problem is L4 – L5 Disc Desiccation. The nerves are compressed due to this and passage of blood to the lower parts of the body is affected. This causes a lot of pain on legs and difficulty in walking, especially in the morning after getting up. We consulted so many Orthopedic surgeons and Neurologists. All of them suggested surgery. In between, we tried some traditional Ayurvedic treatment too. As i shared earlier, a friend has now suggested chiropractic treatment. Your story was an inspiration to try for that.

        Thanks Again,
        Vipin

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Arlene says:

      Hello Josaf, I just posted about the ways that worked for me while recovering from my condition. Here it is Josaf, I hope that you can gain insights from this and it could help your relative. https://arlinspires.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/recovering-from-ankylosing-spondylitis-and-spinal-disc-bulges/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. V Jozaf says:

        Thank you so much Arlene for remembering me and sharing this link. I will go through it and get back if i need your help. Thanks again 🙂

        Like

  3. Debbie L says:

    Oh my, sounds like a terrible condition! Both my husband and I have injured our lower backs, L5-S1. We understand chronic pain!
    We believe the body can heal itself-our pain comes and goes but it’s never stopped us from functioning (once not to long ago, hubby bent over wrong and he was laid up for 3 days). We’ve radically changed how we eat and exercise to help heal hubby’s heart, eating a Heart Healthy diet: eliminating processed food, soy, sugar, limiting sodium and eating “whole” foods as a short summary. I just learned this diet also heals so many other conditions as well as is cancer and osteoporosis preventative, among other things. We’re amazed at how closely related diet, illness and healing are linked. I wonder if your diet could have any effects on your condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arlene says:

      Hello Debbie! First of all, I wanted to thank you fro reading my post. Indeed, having a chronic pain is not easy. It took me time, to accept it and to know the methods that worked for me. It is very true Debbie, having a healthy diet is important. I also believe that the body has the capability to heal and it needed sufficient nutrients for the process. I am thankful because you have dropped your insights. I am learning from it and also pretty sure, that other readers would benefit too. Having a healthy diet played a role on my recovery. I am looking forward to post my ways to recovery this weekend so, I could also share it to others.
      Have a great day Debbie!
      Stay fit and healthy with your hubby.
      Hugs,
      arlene

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Debbie L says:

        This is wonderful to learn! We are amazed at our ignorance about how food can heal you – but they also make you sick if you eat the wrong ones…and that was my husband! I’ve been blessed with incredible good health – but I do have to do something about my bone health. That is my only problem, my skeletal system. And guess what I just learned? Our new health hearty diet is good for bone health!!! YAY!!! I know I am going to avoid osteoporosis now!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Arlene says:

      Hello debbie, I just posted about my recovery and diet is a part of it. I had starch free diet because of my AS diagnosis and it worked for me. Here it is Debbie.. I hope it could give insight to others as well. https://arlinspires.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/recovering-from-ankylosing-spondylitis-and-spinal-disc-bulges/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Debbie L says:

        Thank you!! I’ll check it out and hope others will as well.

        Like

  4. Zia Diez says:

    Hello Arlene,

    Hope you are feeling better. I’m also experiencing back pains to the extent that I won’t move cause it will just cause more pain and hadn’t check with a professional yet. I don’t know anyone that has this illness in our family, but i’m just curious, what causes this? I’m already a mother of a 6 yr old child and I want to be aware of this for her.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arlene says:

      Hello Zia 🙂 I am feeling better right now. . I was in so much pain before and though that I could not gain back my daily activities. Although I still have a minimal pain, but am grateful with the progress that I have right now. Back pain have lots of causes such trauma, heredity, degeneration, autoimmune disease, or certain muscle imbalances. In order to determine your pain there are series of tests to be performed x-ray initially then MRI. Well, it is better to opt MRI if u can have immediate access. The chronic pain lasting 3 months or more with spasm, burning, numbness, and tingling may be due to nerve impingement, neurocompression, or certain instability of the spine.
      People could also acquire back pain gradually, due to continuous exposure to the risk factors such as improper body mechanics, lifting heavy things, and prolonged periods of sitting.
      By the way Zia, may I ask the type of pain or symptoms that you are experiencing right now.. ? How long have u been suffering from it? Is there someone in your family who have a scoliosis? Do you have previous injury or have u lifted heavy loads prior to your symtpoms?
      As of now, avoid lifting heavy stuff and you must have a positive. If you have been feeling the pain for quite long and it wasn’t relieved from over the counter pain meds. I suggest that you should visit an orthopedic for evaluation and proper treatment for its roots.
      Are you from Cebu? There are orthopedics and spine specialists in (Cebu Orthopedics Institute) robinson cybergate or in some tertiary hospitals here. Also, you can also visit Dr. Pardis in AYala a Chiropractor, he could check the alignment of your spine.

      I am not a Physician, but the knowledge that I am sharing is based on the learnings that I acquire from my medical background , work, and research about my case.
      Thanks Zia, I hope that this would help.
      XOxo

      Like

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