Back Update

Well, I’m doing better than Friday and over the weekend, but I’m still getting twinges, that occasionally elicit a yelp. I have a ticket to Houston for SpaceCom tomorrow morning, but thinking I’ll probably just have to cancel and eat the ticket. I don’t want to aggravate it on the trip and not be able to get home Thursday night. I was supposed to have a meeting with some JSC folks, but it may have to be a telecon.

[Friday-afternoon update]

Just got my MRI results. I have a compressed disk (and a little arthritis, but I don’t think that’s the issue). For our Colorado road trip, just got another shot in the ass of a muscle relaxant, and prescriptions for oral muscle relaxant (that they should have given me last week instead of the steroids), and prescription-strength ibuprofen (instead of Vicodin, which apparently isn’t that effective for nerve pain) for pain and to reduce inflammation.

When we get back, I’ll start epidurals and physical therapy (I assume basically strength training) to build up some muscular protection of the spine down there.


21 thoughts on “Back Update”

  1. Be very careful. Back spasms can destroy a conference meeting as well as anything I know. Mine are 30 years in the past, but memorable to this day, and they torpedoed any result from the meeting.

  2. One thing I highly recommend for back spasms is to get a cat to massage the afflicted area. The antics of the cat and the cat wrangler provide a welcome distraction from the pain.

  3. Sorry to hear that, Rand. Houston weather is lovely this week. My lower back pain has been much less than in my younger days for which I’m very thankful – nothing feels so helpless as not being able to get out of bed. I’ve been feeling some pains lately due to minimal exercise, so pushups, sit-ups and some weights are back on the agenda along with more walking. The extra weight has to go as well.

    Rest is definitely the best short-term treatment for flare-ups. Here’s hoping you be able to stretch and exercise once the crisis has passed.

    1. Well, I’m not bed bound, but I definitely shouldn’t travel. We have a road trip coming up next week to Colorado for Thanksgiving, so I need to heal up for that.

  4. Rand, I had a bad back spasm just before a series of engine tests on the Ez-Rocket. It turns out that laying flat on my back on the cold concrete while reading out the checklist was exactly what my back needed. You may want to bend as needed to stretch the afflicted muscles and apply a cold pack to them.

    1. I have been putting an ice pack on it in the recliner. I spent a guilt-free weekend watching football, because Patricia felt sorry for me from all the whining and yelping when I moved the wrong way.

      1. I know you’ve done the Atkins diet in the past, but you might not be aware of intermittent and extended fasting. My own chronic back pain due to a herniated L5 disc went away when I did a few multiday fasts earlier this year. (Of course dropping a quarter of my body weight helped too,)

        Fasting is marvelous for reducing inflammation and a wide variety of chronic pains. For more information, visit:

      1. As one prone to muscle cramps, I can attest to magnesium. Just don’t overdo it like I did and get the drizzling schiffs. It took over a week to turn off that tap after stopping the supplements.

  5. Sorry to hear about your back. I’m also sorry you’re in Houston NOW, since we”re visiting family in Colorado.

  6. This may not be directly related, but I’ll mention it because it’s at least similar, and may help someone – It helped me massively.

    A few years ago I developed arm pain in my right arm, which also bothered my upper back. Both made sleeping difficult, as well as impaired function (I had to hold my arm as if it was in a sling to ease the pain). I was on a long trip overseas at the time, which made dealing with luggage a real joy.

    I ignored it, hoping it would go away. It didn’t. I did a bit of research, and the symptoms were a fit for a trapped nerve in the shoulder. I also spotted what looked to me like a quack treatment, but seeing no harm, and it’s totally DIY, I tried it anyway. It’s called nerve flossing. The treatment is moving the nerve in the notch in the shoulder. It’s done by standing upright, arms at the side, and rotating the hands as much as you can while also laying the head on one shoulder, then the other. Takes about 30 seconds. I tried it… and in under a minute, my pain stopped, and my arm worked fine. I did it once a day for a couple of days – and since then, no recurrence.

    Best wishes on a speedy recovery, Rand.

  7. Deadlifts fixed me. Started off on zero kg. Built up slowly. Back pains and stiffness a thing of the past. Gently and regularly smash the home gym. Wrap your spine in new muscle. Squats too for core strength. Squat rack handy.

  8. The compressed disk/arthritis in the lower spine were exactly what caused my sciatica, and the medrol dospak is what cured it every time. I’m surprised that the steroids haven’t cured you yet.

  9. Sorry to hear the bad news about the back. It is also unfortunate that SCOTUS isn’t interested in protecting free speech. I hope you get well and ready for discovery.

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