A lingering and growing spinal condition had me lying on my stomach at Carillion Community Hospital in Roanoke on Veteran’s Day while an orthopedic neurosurgeon delivered epidural shots into the discs of my aching back. For the most part, we all face medical problems in our lives, particularly in the later years.
As the Spine-health website explains:
Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a common treatment option for many forms of lower back pain and leg pain. They have been used for decades and are considered an integral part of the nonsurgical management of sciatica and lower back pain.
The injection is named an epidural steroid injection because it involves injecting a local anesthetic and a steroid medication directly into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots.–Spine-health
When Amy took me home, I fell slept non-stop through this morning, waking up, for the first time in weeks without severe pain in my back or the sciatica nerve in my left leg. I’m still moving slowly but will be above to cover the Regional VHSL football tournament games between the Floyd County High School Buffaloes and the Radford High Bobcats.
Lingering back pain has been an off-and-on part of my life since my early 20s. Some of it came from a helicopter crash in the late 60s, another from an auto wreck, and still more from a fall from a ladder working on prep for a stage play for my wife.
It got worse after moving to Floyd in 2004, but was relieved twice by the same kind of epidural shots, then mysteriously disappeared after the near-death motorcycle crash in November of 2012.
Then it reappeared about two months ago while working around the house and getting a trailer cleaned up to transport one of our bikes over to a friend’s house where I could ride without having to deal with our weather-destroyed steep driveway.
Examinations by the orthopedists at Carillion recommended new epidural steroid injections for back pain, followed by extended physical therapy. Physical therapy is a regular part of my life now since the 2012 cow-motorcycle accident.
This morning, my pain level is down, way down, and the surgeon believes it will be pretty much gone in a day or so. I will still have other pains from rapidly advancing arthritis, thanks to a life of broken bones, and other lingering effects of that run-in with that damn black cow on a dark night on U.S. 221 near Poague Valley Road in Roanoke County on Nov. 9, 2012.
The shots themselves can work for three months, but the relief can be extended with property physical therapy. Still, for an old fart who turns 74 next month. pain is a way of life. Many years ago, when I was working on a photo story about the Navy SEALs, a Master Chief told his exhausted and hurting trainees that “pain is only the beginning” and “the only easy day was yesterday.”
Understood, Master Chief. Carry on.