Wow something to write about. Finally! Here's an update on the relentless search for the cause of my mysterious leg/hip injury, a source of much pain and despair over the past several months.
After much delay, brooding, and hours of pouring over running injury sites (during work hours), I have my lumbar spine X-rays examined by the chain-smoking ortho (he looks like a wreck but is ironically one of the best in town…hmm). No stress fractures, no disc abnormalities. Nada.
I say, “So the next step would be an MRI, right?”
Chain-smoking ortho says, “Yes, and I bet nothing will come out of it.”
I say, “Hmmm.”
I’m laying in the scan room, with nothing but a green robe on. They plug cotton balls into my ears, “because the noise is deafening.” Not cool. Then they proceed to strap my head, arms, and legs. Not cool again. Into the scanner I go. The next 30 (yes, 30) minutes are pure agony. MRI scans are serious torture.
Ortho looks at the MRI scans.
“Like I told you, nothing.”
I nod and burst out, “It’s getting worse! I’m worried the ibuprofens won’t work anymore…I’ve taken so many!”
To which he replies (I think I see him getting serious now), “I suggest you see this neurosurgeon…”
This neurosurgeon is fancy. The waiting area is designed like a new-age meditation resort. I’m certain he’s going to charge by the alphabet. I go in, he asks questions, I answer, he bends and flexes my legs, I cooperate.
Finally he speaks, “I’m pretty sure your S1 nerve is pinched.”
“How might that have occurred?” I ask.
“Any sudden movement, although this usually occurs when you bend forward and pick something heavy. And you made it worse by not resting it.”
This is when I ask the dreaded question. “Will I be able to go back to running?”
“Of course, but first you must give it 3-4 weeks of complete rest. No strenuous exercise and no running.”
Is this it? Did he nail it? I'll take it if he did!
Right now, as I sit here with an ugly, uncomfortable lumbo-sacral binder around my waist, my thoughts drift to the anguish of going back to the ‘starting line’. Yes, the leg still hurts. Yes, I’m going to have to start by shedding the weight. Yes, training for a marathon seems far-fetched. Yes, I can’t even begin to map out this year’s races.
Nevermind all that, for now, I'm pinning my hope on the S1 nerve.