Click the picture for the story of Calypso, the Three Legged Green Sea Turtle, and why she's my symbol

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On back pain and moving forward

Both braces are now back and working! I was secretly relieved that I got a few days off and would be able to relax. But the time I was without my walking legs really clued me in to just how much the braces are helping.

During the early months of this year I had fairly severe back pain in my lower back. This was centered above my back right hip, in large part due to overuse of my right leg. I also used my wheelchair far more often than I should have, using it at every opportunity. I didn't trust my left leg even in the brace, in large part due to the habit of the brace buckling unexpectedly. Thanks to some scolding from therapists and some long distance walking I slowly began to rely more and more on the braced leg. I still didn't trust it but I felt more secure in my use. I hadn't noticed but as I slowly have been switching to being double legged again my back pain was slowly fading into the background. It's at the point where I don't notice it at all unless I'm actively thinking about it.

This realization came to me as I was stuck in the wheelchair for these few days. As I sat there for longer and longer my back was getting stiffer and stiffer. It wasn't to the point yet where it was more any than a little uncomfortable but I could see that that was the direction I was heading if I stayed in the chair too much longer. Fortunately about the time I realized this the wire brace was finally fixed. Now the electric brace is finally fixed as well, taking longer since it had to be shipped to the factory in Minnesota.

It boils down to this:
When I walk, I'm more mobile, have less pain, and feel generally better about myself. When I'm in my wheelchair I'm shorter, have to take more pain medication, and receive pitying looks instead of just curious glances.

This realization doesn't make things easier but it shows me that I am indeed on the right path. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other I guess.

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