My battle against spinal stenosis

I’ve had back problems for the last decade. Sometimes I would wake up to horrible muscle spasms in my upper back. Doctors initially tried to addressed this with anti-inflammatories & muscle relaxers. They barely masked the symptoms and did nothing to address the root cause.

Moderate scoliosis (curvature of the spine) was suspected as the source of the problem. Physical therapy offered some relief, but the problems always seemed to come back a few months later.

A couple years ago it got worse: I started having numbness and tingling in two fingers on my right hand. Reaching down to pick things up from the floor or sleeping in the wrong position could lead to my entire right arm and shoulder going numb. In 2016 I underwent a battery of diagnostic tests: MRIs of hand, shoulder, neck. EMG nerve test, finally neck X-rays revealed the source of the problem. My diagnosis: severe stenosis of the spine, a disease that involves degeneration of the disks that separate the vertebrae, compression of the nerves going between the bones.  I was told that I have: “a spine that looks like somebody 20 years older” than me.

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