My uncle is an 83 year-old retired orthopedic surgeon. When in his 40’s, his bicycle collapsed beneath him. His doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. He has not sat one full week in a wheelchair. Over the past 40 years, he has had 10 major back surgeries, the last one, two years ago. During the 15 hour operation, bone grafts were removed from his hips, then placed in his spine to act as cushions between his crumbled discs. Steel rods were inserted along his spinal column to assure the grafts were protected. The rods were removed three months later. Continue reading
Facets Syndrome and lordosis literally mean curving forward abnormally. My client, a 6′ 5″ man, has spent his whole life curving forward abnormally simply to talk to people. “I am curving forward, I need to stand up straight,” he remarked shortly after looking up the definition to the word, forward.
Back pain is particularly disabling. It comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Richard’s back pain has increased dramatically this year. He has had more occurrences of “throwing out his back”. We looked up the definition to the word, abnormal. It defines as unsound, twisted, and beside oneself. “I am beside myself with pain I can not fix.” Richard is a homeopathic practitioner with a twenty-five year practice. As we continued tracing words in the dictionary, words with more subtle meanings appeared. These new words fitly described how Richard feels about living with back pain. “The words, vulnerable and apprehensive, are close to what I feel,” he remarked. “But somehow, they are still incomplete.” We traced the idea of the word, vulnerable, in the thesaurus. New words, endangered, threatened, and apprehensive appeared. Richard was able to link his feelings of apprehension to his new state, viewing his future with anxiety. “The word, endangered, makes me think of my back going out. I never know when it will. But, it is eventual. Something is going to happen.” Continue reading