How to Cope With Back Pain after back surgery

I recently came very close to having back surgery. I’m so glad I was able to avoid it, and I’d like to share a bit of my story. I have had chronic back pain for a couple years, ever since laying floor tile incorrectly (well, lifting and moving incorrectly; the floor looks great!). After just dealing with the pain, I finally decided to do something about it at the start of the year (with a new year’s deductible to work toward in case it did end up in surgery).

I’ll skip the entire play-by-play, but suffice to say it turns out I have a slightly herniated disk and some consequential nerve impingement. That all equals pain, radiating down my leg. It’s made worse by using my spine incorrectly, whether by laying floor tile by myself or by sitting poorly in a chair. That was one serious issue for me. I work in an office 10 hours a day where I sit at a computer for 98% of that time. It was important to me to get my desk ergonomics as correct as possible. One thing to do to help with that is to sit up straight! No more slouching, no more leaning to one side or the other. Another is to get my laptop up to a height where I’m looking straight at it, rather than hunching over to see it at desk level. My office was kind enough to buy me a laptop stand, and now I can use my computer without compromising my posture and causing back pain.

Surgery is still a possibility. I was told that if my back reverts back to hurting again, then we may revisit the idea of surgery. I know that with the scans, epidural (I know, sounds like I was having a baby), and physical therapy, we already polished off the health savings account and are a long way toward our out-of-pocket maximum for the year… thank goodness for insurance! If I’m going to do surgery, I definitely want it to be yet this year so I can take advantage of that situation. Hopefully though, surgery will not be needed.

The moral of the story here is that for me, the two biggest things that helped were paying attention to how I was using my back (when bending, standing, etc.) and sitting properly when at work. If you are someone who is dealing with some mild back pain, I might recommend (in addition to a regular fitness program and so forth) paying attention to these two things before you head to the doctor, because I am confident that they will start there as well.

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