Steph's Story with Arthritis
Recovery stories from Menda participants
My low back started to hurt after snow shoveling one afternoon and wasn’t better after 3 months of the usual treatments and 2 medications. About this time I went on a long planned vacation, had a great time, and my back hardly bothered me at all. I thought I was finally healing. When I returned home after 10 days, the pain came back as relentless as ever and this was the start of two years of trying to get my life back.
My MRI showed a lot of arthritic degenerative changes in my lumbar spine (I was 72), a disk bulge, narrowed disk spaces and an impinged nerve at the facet joints which was determined to be the cause of my pain. These arthritic changes weren’t fixable which was scary and my fear and anxiety went up right along with the pain.
When physical therapy and injections didn’t help, the interventions recommended were more invasive and risky including a lumbar fusion which I was told had a recovery time of up to a year. I refused to consider surgery. I knew that as a single person should I have a poor surgical outcome that would be the end of my living independently. Who would take care of me? I was desperate for alternatives. I began trying everything else that I or anyone else I knew could think of, treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic and cold laser that had helped me with other issues, but not with this. I started to wonder why, if my diagnosis was correct, why nothing that should have helped, did. None of the medical people I consulted ever questioned the diagnosis, just looked at my MRI and my arthritis.
I attended a seminar Dr. Hanscom and Dr. Aria did on Zoom which led me to Menda. I had improved by this time and felt I had an understanding of how chronic pain worked with my brain, but had plateaued in my recovery and needed more skills to really heal. This is what Menda offered.
As long as I use the tools I’ve learned and listen to my body, I have no back pain. When my back starts to talk to me, I know I’ve been neglecting to pay attention and need to check in with my body, do some breathing and increase my self care. Tune into some joy. The symptoms are kind of an early warning system now.