For those of you who don't know the story, I shall summerize briefly:
November 06: injured my back while rowing in Fours Head in London. Was in agonizing pain. Completed the race (and beat the quad!!!) but had to be carried to an ambulace after we crossed the finish line. Was flat on my back on heavy pain meds for 3 days.
Received unnofficial diagnosis of ruptured disk from Dr. D'Artagnon who came galloping to my rescue (with aforementioned heavy pain meds). Couldn't get the student health service to even acknowledge I had a problem, let alone do anything about it.
Quit rowing to recover, suffered chronic back pain of varying intensity for months. By easter was flat out again.
Became depressed from pain and lack of rowing, went on happy pills.
Bounced from therapist to therapist hoping to find someone who could help.
April 2007: finally got an NHS referral to a back specialist.
May: Saw back specialist, who ordered an x-ray which showed nothing wrong with my vertebrae. Specialist then ordered an MRI to examine the soft tissue.
July: MRI scan was conducted.
10 September: results of MRI are finally revealed to me.
yes, you read that right. They did the MRI in July and wouldn't tell me what it showed until SEPTEMBER. This is the National Health (lack of) Service.
So what did it show???
I have a degenerate disk (L4/5).
Your disks are like jelly donuts. When I ruptured my disk i sqirted all the jelly out, but it doesn't regrow. So now I have a shrivelled, permanently dehydrated disk in my lumbar spine.
The good news is:
- it's as healed as it's ever going to get, so
- I can return immediately to rowing, and
- the little whinges of pain i get are nothing serious and can be ignored, because
- my back, core, and ab muscles are doing a great job of holding my spine up and keeping the dried disk from collapsing, and
- I might go conceivably go the rest of my life without the problem ever becoming worse.
The bad news is:
- At some point, tomorrow or never, the disk my begin to collapse because it doesn't have the internal pressure of the fluid.
- This will hurt
- And will probably require spinal fusion surgery to correct, which sucks.
That said, Tim Foster had spinal fusion surgery TWICE and still managed to win an olympic gold medal, so there ya go. Not the end of the world.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with an ergometer that needs to be taught a lesson.