AKA Arthritis

May 18, 2007

My physical therapy appointment yesterday shed new light on the condition of my lower back. The more common term for severe degenerative disk disease is arthritis. Somehow it doesn't seem as scary or bad described that way.

The initial treatment, regardless of what it is called, is to strengthen the muscles in the lowest part of the abdomen, and to stretch the hamstrings in the legs. There will be more exercises added later, but for now I'm doing four different strengthening exercises and two stretching ones twice a day. Each week I have a PT session with a therapist to monitor how I'm doing and to add new stretches or exercises to the routine.

Having endured months of off and on pain, sometimes extremely debilitating pain, I am very motivated to work two exercise periods into my daily routine; one when I first get up and the second when I arrive home from work.

I've also been working for months now to get a better chair at work, one that doesn't aggravate my back just by sitting. The initial choice of chairs included only ones that were fairly beat up. Eventually I found on that only had a slight tilt to the right. Working with the "chair accommodation" person in the HR department I completed some paperwork, and had my doctor submit a questionnaire about my back condition. This resulted in several different chairs for me to try. Each was a "demo" chair and consequently somewhat beat up themselves. After a long series of events I now have a decent desk chair that is level; both side to side and front to back. However it does not have a tilt lock so I am unable to prevent the chair from leaning back when I do, and there are days when that backward lean is very uncomfortable. The company has ordered parts for my chair that will convert the seat pan tilt feature to a working back lock. I have no idea how long that will take - hopefully not very.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.