I always thought I had a strong back and attributed it to my Irish ancestors who dug potatoes on a regular basis. But not so. I was shocked to find out that I had osteoporosis and spondylosis. What the heck is spondylosis? A young assistant in my doctor's office said "it's a fancy word for arthritis in older people". Well, that certainly didn't make me feel any better about it, I have to say. But truth be told, it wasn't from and injury due to some crazy stunt I did on skis or from dancing all night long. It wasn't even from doing too much housework. It was just from the passage of time and my bones were starting to whisper to me that time was marching on and that I should pay attention.
I don't take pain killers or analgesics so Advil is not an option. I used CBD for both my back and Achilles tendonitis. It works well most of the time. I use a topical salve (see CBD page) and in about 15 minutes pain is much diminished. The mornings have been the worst, waking up stiff and in pain. Sometimes it would take me well over an hour to loosen my back and my ankle. I'd reach over, get my CBD, put some on my back and ankle and lay back down until I could venture into the shower where I would run hot water on my back. Then some yoga which helps a lot. During the day, I'm on my bike/desk which is comfortable and keeps me moving. At night, I ice my back and foot while watching TV or reading. Not how I envisioned myself at this age. It takes more work and care to live better.
As we are in a pandemic, I didn't relish the idea of a trip to the doctor. Thankfully, for PocketDoc, I was able to meet with a nurse practitioner via my cellphone, who ordered an X-ray for my back and foot. Going for the x-ray was scary but I made it through. X-rays showed some degenerative disk disease and spondylosis. The foot x-ray showed a bone fragment from an injury years earlier (nothing exciting, just closing the door from the garage into the house before my foot was inside the house with the rest of me). But the pain wasn't where the bone fragment was, it was the tendon itself nearer my ankle. Treatment? Pediatrist gave me shot of cortisone, told me to wear high heels and to stop walking (not a good option for someone who walks her dog for 45 minutes 7 days per week). I went to a chiropractor for my back and he adjusted my spine and used a heavy-duty massage device on my foot. I improved tremendously. My new chiropractor, for reasons that are not necessary to this story, is wonderful. I'm expecting greater improvement with her help.
I had been sitting in an office chair daily for hours on end, which I knew wasn't a good thing for my back. I bought an exercise bike with a desk built in. Best thing ever! It requires me to sit up straight and to peddle which keeps blood flow and is exercise that I can't get from walking. Unfortunately, Izzy my dog, can't ride it with me. I also can ride my electric bike, which I love. I can ride for hours it seems without any adverse effects to my back or foot. It's a beautiful thing.
Still have rough mornings but I'm doing better overall. Today, I'm much better and feel almost 100%. There is hope. For now, it's CBD, yoga, bike riding, desk/bike, and ice. If you have chronic pain, I empathize. It's difficult to be your happy self with constant pain. But, with a focused effort on finding a solution, acceptance, and a positive attitude, I think we can improve. One thing that I've learned through this process is to appreciate what you CAN do instead of grieving about what you can't do. Life is better when we do what we can and live boldly with consideration given to the body's limitations.