Alternative Treatments

Back on Track with Pain Management

Dear Diary,

For some reason, my acupuncturist AND my physical therapist were traveling last week, so I missed a week of important pain management activities. I definitely felt the void, having more pain in just about every part of my body.

But, today, we got back on track with both appointments, back to back.

First was physical therapy, where she worked hard to loosen up “the usual spots,” as she says. The avascular necrosis in my hips and the spinal stenosis in my lumbar spine and sacrum become very painful when the surrounding muscles compensate for the compressed and inflamed bone structures.

My physical therapist literally has to pull one leg down so that it becomes even with the other leg. Then, she goes through a series of steps, checking the evenness of my pelvic bones, loosening up the iliotibial band (connective tissue) on the outside of both thighs, and finally, massaging the gluteus medius and maximus muscles where there’s so much tendonitis, myalgia, and myositis. (Can you tell by my use of technical musculoskeletal terminology that I used to be a certified personal trainer?)

Today, we discussed how so many medical experts say that Lupus doesn’t affect the spine—only affecting other joints in the body. But, because my physical therapist specializes in treating movement disorders related to autoimmune diseases, like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis, she notices that most of her Lupus patients do have spinal deterioration along with the other symptoms of Lupus.

She says my spine resembles that of an elderly person. And, since I have had no major spinal injuries, it has to be autoimmune disease causing the rapid deterioration.

Surgery would seem like a normal option to correct my spinal abnormalities, but I’m not considered a good candidate, unfortunately. It’s just too risky with my bleeding issues and inflammation. Every orthopedic surgeon I’ve ever consulted with says the same thing in so many words—“I wouldn’t touch you with a 10-foot pole.”

Thankfully, I have my physical therapist…and my acupuncturist, whose office I made my way over to afterwards. The needles felt a little jolting today—more so than usual. It seemed like each one hit a raw nerve. But it was fine once I got over the initial shock. Heat lamp on. Lights out. Very deep sleep. I guess my body needed that after all I just put it through.



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