Back where we started
A birth defect is rarely exciting for anyone under the age of 18, but as you near 40, they can be very welcome words.
The spinal surgeon explained that the weird twists and turns in my spine have likely been there since birth, and that given that I don’t have back pain today, there’s a great chance that I’ll never have back pain in the future. After a quick look at me and my x-rays, the surgeon (Dr. Josey) said I had Grade 2 Spondylolisthesis, which is where one or more vertebrae extend forward, out of line with the rest of the spine. Also a correction to my previous statement that my L4 and L5 were out of line – they’re not that bad (though not perfect), but the L5 does not rest on top of the sacrum, and that’s the major issue with my spine. Bottom line: I will not be competing in any MMA cage matches, pro football workouts, and I probably shouldn’t ski or snowboard given the risk. So, no actual changes to my lifestyle. The only practical recommendation was to not have a chiropractic adjustment ever done to me in the future, i.e. no cracking of the lower spine.
And, that my knee pain is, more than likely, completely unrelated to anything going on in my spine.
On to the knee!
I saw the physical therapy docs this afternoon, and the root cause of my knee pain now appears very clear. Likely as a result of my IT band tightness (which is much better now due to therapy and stretching), my meniscus is the culprit, and is basically being whacked every time I take a stride on my left side. Specific “ART” (Active Release Therapy) techniques get the meniscus to start moving again. The best part about those techniques are that they are INCREDIBLY painful. Given the amount of pain I’ve had when my knee has been manipulated, and when rolling out my IT bands at home, I’ve developed a weird Tyler Durden habit of laughing and laughing once the pain gets so severe I can hardly stand it. I feel like grabbing the therapist and saying “YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I’VE BEEN, LOU!” At the end of today, the magic words “Try running on it.” I’m so excited. I have my running shoes on now. Here goes nothing.