About seven years ago, I started to get back pain. The first few visits to a doctor were him telling me to do exercise and lose weight. But this wasn’t just a pain. This was a sharp stinging that went right to the nerve. This prevented me from walking to the bathroom in the morning. This was scary at nineteen.
After a few months, I found a doctor who had an idea that it might be something called ankylosing spondylitis, or AS. I had blood tests to locate the HLA-B27 gene that was prominent in most sufferers. Then x-rays where the doctor confirmed the original suspicions. Then for 6 years and moving about the country, I just went about my days; Popping pills and exercising.
This June, the new rheumatologist I saw wanted me to have an MRI to double check the diagnosis; Apparently an x-ray is not enough to fully confirm it. I received a letter about two weeks ago about it saying that yes, I had AS, keep doing what you’re doing. Today I received another letter:
I reviewed the MRI scan of your back in our Radiology/Rheumatology meeting, as I was not entirely happy with the original report. Again we confirm that there is definitely inflammation, confirming your diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. However, at the thoraco lumbar junction, there is wedging of some of the vertebrae consistent with a previous diagnosis of Scheuermann’s. This is a condition that usually comes on in late teens/early 20’s with sudden severe mid back pain. It is a completely different cause of back pain. You therefore have 2 good reasons for having pain in your back. Physiotherapy, and regular exercises, are equally important for both these conditions.
At least I have 2 good reasons for having pain in my back.