Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Positive Aging Blog: August 2022 – Catching Spinal Stenosis Early

A Positive Aging Blog by Harriet Epstein

As you can see, this blog is not going to be a message about Covid-5, Monkeypox, the war in Ukraine or any other hotspots around the world, or the recent Supreme Court Decision overturning Roe vs Wade. My message is about spinal health and the condition known as Spinal Stenosis, which occurs when the nerve in your spinal column is under pressure, causing pain when walking, sitting, reaching, and more.  This can happen to women and to men, and even to younger people, but is more common in older people.  Here’s my story.

Although my General Practitioner  was out of town, he had arranged for full time telephone  coverage.   When I woke up several weeks ago and suddenly felt a lot of pain while walking, I called my GP doctor’s number and was fortunate to hear from a doctor in Richmond who quickly diagnosed my condition as Spinal Stenosis and insisted I immediately go to a Hospital Emergency Room.  He informed me that any problem with the spine is considered a medical emergency.  Please make note of this.

After two days in the hospital, being poked, scanned, tested for leg strength and neurological issues, etc., I was sent home.  I am now followed by a home care agency providing regular visits from nurses and physical therapists, and also by various medical specialists.  I take Tylenol, wear a Lidocane patch, and do exercises twice a day, all of which is clearly helping me walk and move with less pain.  I am fortunate that I am well enough to recover without the need for shots or surgery.

Having this problem took me by surprise, as I was feeling pretty good until the stenosis flared up.  But it also helped me realize that the human body is a wonderful mechanism, and that pain is part of G-d’s way to help us become aware of oncoming health problems.  I am also extremely grateful for the existence of wise and experienced medical professionals who diagnose and treat painful medical conditions.  My daughter Susan, in spite of a busy career, jumped right in to help as much as she could, opening my sleep sofa, shopping for food, etc.  Maintaining our health requires the assistance of G-d, professionals, family and friends, and also our will to recover.

May you be well, but also be aware of occasional signs that you may need special care.

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