I have been through physical therapy and generally speaking, as long as I'm careful I don't usually have many issues other than an occasional flare. Granted, the flares are AWFUL and leave me basically paralyzed for a number of days followed by shooting pains and leg numbness. It's awesome! I know that you're totally jealous!
Normally, my doctor would give me a shot (or two, or three) of Tor.e.dol, a healthy dose of muscle relaxers, and a course of steroids (sometimes 2). Usually this works.
Sunday morning, I was sitting at the edge of my bed just getting ready to leave. I bent down to pick up my shoes, and when I sat up (no twisting motion, no awkward position... nothing) I felt the oh too familiar feeling of a nerve getting pissed off. Fire shot down both of my legs, across my hips, and up and over my shoulders. It passed quickly but left me frozen in my sitting position, scared to move. After a few moments I tried to stand. HAHAHAHAHA! I was basically stuck in the sitting position, only standing, and I could barely lift my legs. Oh, and I was home alone.
Although painful, I could still walk. I gingerly made my way downstairs and out to my car. I drove a few blocks to my Dad's house and sat with him for a couple of hours while I tried to decide what to do. By this point, I couldn't raise my feet, and was mostly in tears. Finally, I called the OB on call and told her what had happened. She called in a prescription of the steroid that I usually take, but told me that because of the pregnancy the only other thing I could do was take Ty.le.nol, cuddle up with heat/ice packs and pray.
My step-mom helped me back out to my car and I went to pick up the prescription (thank heaven for drive-thru pharmacies). By the time I made it home, DH and LJ were home. Imagine the look on his face when he met me at the car and saw my crippled self sitting in the driver's seat. Poor guy. He didn't know what to do. It took me close to an hour to get in the house and situated in my bed.
Although this flare has been awful in a lot of ways, I think the physical therapy that I did after the last bad flare has taught my muscles how to support the structures in my spine well enough to heal faster. Monday, I stood in front of DH, thinking he'd be so proud that I was actually able to stand up straight. That was, until he pointed out that I wasn't straight. I was tipped to the right. My hips were so uneven that even though from a side view I was upright, looking straight on I was leaning. Apparently, this is what the muscle relaxers prevent. My Dr. told us that it is caused by a severe muscle spasm that essentially pulls the leg up, making it shorter. Funny thing is, I couldn't tell at all unless I looked in the mirror.
Luckily, I am improving. The steroids seem to be working, and I am getting a bit more mobile everyday. I really am lucky. The last flare that felt as bad as this did on Sunday, left me unable to walk for nearly 2 months. This is only my 4th day, and I think I will be back to at least sitting in the next day or so. I can walk short distances relatively normally. It's just that my legs aren't doing so well at supporting me when I stand. All of the sudden they give out, and falling is the LAST thing I want to do.
My orthopedic Dr. warned me that this is likely only the first flare that will happen during this pregnancy. As the baby gets heavier, she will be putting more pressure directly on my injured discs. I'm not going to lie. He warned me years ago that pregnancy was a "bad idea" and that I was "one bad lift" away from blowing the discs completely. But seriously? There was no way I was going to give up. This is not life-threatening. It is merely an inconvenience (albeit a painful one). I can take it. Worst case scenario is that it speeds up the deterioration of the discs and I have to have surgery sooner than I'd like. Big whoop. It's going to happen eventually anyway. And let's be real. This is NOT the worst thing that has happened to me in the last 8 years!
And she's SO worth it!