Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Prehab to Rehab

A few weeks ago I talked about prehab as injury prevention.  Since then I had a couple of slips and falls causing intermittent sharp lower back pain and spasms.  I tried my usual stretches, exercises, yoga, and rest to recover.  It helped, but my low back still hurt.  I came back to Connecticut to rest and seek medical advice.

Today I visited an orthopedic doctor.  After a lower back x-ray, he discovered I have spondylolisthesis.  Which means my lower lumbar vertebrae is slips forward over the sacrum.  He also noted my scoliosis (see 11/10/10 post) is virtually gone.  Not bad for 52.

The doctor said spondylolisthesis probably resulted from a fracture I received as a child.  As I age, the space between the vertebrae will continue to degenerate (arthritis) and compress putting pressure on my disc.  Most of the time I don't even know there is a problem, but with the stress of a few recent slip and falls the area is aggravated, causing my intermittent low back pain.

His advice is basically what I have been doing.  I may ski, but if it hurts back off and/or rest.  No moguls until it is better.  He prescribed Indomethacin ER, which is a drug similar to Ibuprofen but lasts for 24 hours to reduce the pain and inflammation.  I start physical therapy tomorrow to strengthen, stretch and stabilize the muscles that support my lower back... safely. 

My core is strong, but what I found out is hyperextention of the back can aggravate the condition.  In my yoga practice I do back bends that hyperextend my back, this aggravates not helps spondylolisthesis.

I am very curious to meet with the PT tomorrow morning to find out what I am doing right, what I should avoid, and what new exercises I should add.  I know if I want to continue playing hard I have to put in the time to keep myself strong safely.

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