Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The central nervous system and back pain aren't a joke

For those of you who have never experienced any type of back pain, you are very lucky.  I will never again think that people who complain about their back hurting aren't in some serious pain. Because back pain is the worst kind of pain that you can experience.  My mother when I was growing up would always complain that her back hurt, that it was always going out.  Honestly, back then I didn't know anything about it, and I sort of just shrugged it off.  She is now 68 years young and almost 2 years ago now she was going into a store. It was cold out they had just had a hard freeze where she lives.  As she was entering the store she slid on a patch of ice and went down.  She wasn't able to get back up and an ambulance had to be called.  That was the last time my mother was able to feel her leg, feet, ankles or anything else from the waist down.  She like many other people in the nation had developed an infection in her back.  She was actually in the hospital for almost a month before they did an MRI and what they found surprised everyone.  They found a huge mass in her back that was threatening her spinal cord.  They decided to go in and do a biopsy, but this was not a mass or a tumor in the traditional sense.  This turned out to be an abscess a huge collection of fluid that was weighing down and pressing on her spinal cord.  When the doctors went in to do a biopsy the abscess actually ruptured and my mother body was exposed to the fluid and puss that drained from that abscess.  Try as they may the doctors worked feverishly to was this fluid from her body.  The process is call assuage and it is very dangerous.  What ended up happening is that her leg nerve cluster was nicked in the process and she lost control of her legs.  This wasn't even found out till she was in a rehabilitation center for almost 3 months without any type of improvement.  So the doctors opted to go back in and see what was wrong and why she wasn't healing as planned.  Long story short they should have left the situation alone, because as they went in this second time they ended up damaging her spinal cord and now she has no feeling from the waist down and is now confined to a wheelchair.

No one knows or understand why an abscess formed in a closed cavity like that when there had been no recent trauma or invasive procedure. It was just something that happened and now after being in a nursing/rehab center for over 9 months she is finally home.  Coping as well as she can with her new found limitations.  She still suffers from pain in her feet, legs and back.  I speak with her everyday and even time hasn't lessened the pain she has been suffering.  With the damage done, a permanence to the situation has occurred and other things are starting to suffer because of it.  Her feet, since they are not used regularly are weakening and the ligaments and tendons are starting to shrink causing the tremendous amounts of pain she is feeling in her extremities.  It will also make it impossible for her to recover and walk like a normal person.  Even if she opted for some type of surgery at this point it would be ineffective due to her movement limitations.  This is a situation that may have been prevented if years ago I had paid attention to the pain that she had been feeling when I was in high school.  I remember an incident that happened when I was in my senior year, she had fallen on the bathroom floor in her room and couldn't get up.  She refused to let anyone call my father or an ambulance and stayed laying on the floor for several days till she could get back up on her own.  Hindsight they tell me is 20/20 and that might have been the first time that her spinal cord was impacted and had she gone immediately to the doctors then what has happened to her might not have occurred but again that is just idle speculation at this point and something that cannot be changed.

You maybe wondering why I am writing about this and what happened to my mother, and what if anything it may have to do with you.  Well, see this incident is just one example of what can happen. For my mother there is nothing that can be done.  No amount of time and healing will change the fact that she has lost her independence and can no longer walk more than a few feet without some type of assistance, and she will never be able to drive again.  Further, if it wasn't for the wheel chair and leg braces and some other types of assistive devices she wouldn't be able to sit in a regular chair or get out of bed on her own. I am bringing this to your attention for several reasons.  What we often take for granted are actually signs that something is wrong. They are symptoms of a larger problem and if we ignore them we run the risk of them cropping up later and causing much more damage than if they were treated at the onset.  Modern medicine has a habit of treating the symptoms and not getting to the root cause and stop the symptoms.  It wasn't like that in my grandmothers time and people were getting healthier and living longer.  Today it is so much more easy to see a symptom and throw a pill at it and never look for what is causing the problem.  I know from first hand experience and I too will have to live the rest of my life with mistakes that were made not only in the past but some that just happened recently.  We will get into that in just a moment.

The reason why I am bringing all of this to you attention is because you never know what could happen to you.  Now, back in May I started having a slight pain in the middle of my back. I immediately went to the hospital.  X-rays were taken and I was seen by the ER doctor and sent home.  I was told that I had a back strain and given some pain medication and sent home.  My back instead of getting better started getting worse. I hurt all the time and stayed in bed a lot.  I went a total of 19 times from May till September when I was finally admitted to the hospital.  What was going on was not a minor sprain, I had a bacterial infection that was attacking my spinal column, vertebrae and my spinal cord.  I came very close to spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair.  I am angry with current medical establishment why throw pills and more pills at symptoms and never try and find the root cause of the issue?  Had they dug just a little deeper into my situation I might have saved myself countless hours in the hospital, nursing home and ER visits.  Not, to mention all the money that I had to pay out for all of these different things. Luckily my back is starting to heal itself to a certain degree. I will forever have this hump on my back but i think the pain will start to subside as the broken vertebrae start to fuse together.  I will also lose some of my maneuverability, but I am still alive, and though the odds were against me walking again. I vowed to myself that I would not stay in that chair and I forced myself to learn how to walk again, and within a short amount of time I was walking with a walker and now today I use a cane.

Because of how the bones started squeezing my spinal cord, I have lost strength in my left side, I started stumbling and started having convulsions and seizures.  Had the doctors taken the time to dig into my symptoms and searched for what was actually causing my pain the permanent damage that has been done to my body could have been avoided  Another, example I have for you is my best friends mother is having a lot of pain, problems speaking, as well as walking and getting around, her strength is sapped doing the smallest thing.  She went to a big local hospital and instead of going into detail testing they did an MRI and some neurological test and came back to her and told her they were sorry she has ALS or Lou Gherig's disease.  Boy, the back really isn't anything to play with. Come to find out she went to a chiropractor, who looked at her x-rays and told her that he thought that she had a extreme case of scoliosis and that was causing pressure on her spinal cord and that was what was causing her problems. For the past 2 month she has been getting chiropractic treatment and her body is responding well.

For all of medical science it is sad that they didn't look beyond the usual suspects and really do their job.  Now that she has been participating in chiropractic treatments she is starting to feel better and her motor skills seem to be improving.  Above all things I want you to walk away from this article with the wherewithal to challenge the doctors and nurses when they tell you that there is nothing wrong with you. Make them really look at you, listen to you and above else explore every option.   You know yourself better than anyone else. Do not be deterred make them look, listen and respond to your needs.

As always my hopes and dreams are with you,

Uncle B