I've been unable to walk for nine years.

Hello Sarah

I just found you online here today... as I was reading an article from the Cleveland Clinic about my diagnosis. (Which is severe spinal stenosis)
I read with much interest your different articles here. Maybe I should first tell you a bit about myself and my problem. I had lumbar laminectomy diskectomy surgery back in January 2005. (L4/L5) I had worked for physicians for 30 years before my surgery. At the time of surgery I was 52 yrs old. I haven't worked a day since the surgery. Cannot walk across he street or stand up and hug my husband. I am in excruciating pain 24 hrs a day. I sleep (if you want to call it that in my recliner.) Haven't had 8 hrs sleep since before the surgery. Cannot sleep in my bed. The pain is too severe. When I walk I walk completely bent over. It is hell on my neck, my shoulders and my lungs...of all things...(I have asthma). I have a 7 yr old granddaughter and she has never seen her Meemah upright. She asked me the other day if I was ever able to stand up straight. The question about broke my heart. I'm sorry... I'm wandering here.

An orthopedic surgeon I went to for a consult recently told me that the only way I will ever get any relief is if I have fusion surgery. The thought of surgery again scares me to death. The first surgery I had left me in this horrid condition. I am frozen in fear contemplating surgery again. I recently bought an inversion table thinking that would help me. Didn't realize at that time that I am unable to lie flat on my back. It is totally impossible for me to do. And once I get down on the floor it's almost impossible for me to get up again.

My question to you is a two-fold one. What do you think of the orthopods suggestion that fusion is my only solution to finding a good quality of life again for myself...? and secondly do YOU know of anything I could try to give me back my quality of life...??... back to where I can be with my family again on all their activities...?? instead of always having to stay behind at home while they all go out and enjoy life??

P.S. I thought I'd just TRY it...I tried to get down on the floor and tried the 'knees rocking' exercise. OMG fuhgetta bout it! Will never happen. Couldn't even begin to get my arms wrapped around my knees... the pain was too intense just laying there on my side on the floor. Totally impossible.

So....in summing up my sordid state of affairs... I don't know if you can suggest anything to help me. I really want the rest of my years on this planet to be enjoyed with my family members. I want to be able to walk around the block. I want to be able to ride bikes with my kids, I want to be able to go shopping and be able to stand and look through the racks of clothes like I used to be able to do. So many things, so many activities I think about are just dreams nowadays.

Thank you Sarah for listening. I hope and pray you can suggest something that would actually help me to have a normal life again.

Just call me "Roberta in Clearwater, Florida".

Thank you for your time.


Roberta Allen

Comments for I've been unable to walk for nine years.

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 05, 2014
unable to walk
by: Sarah says

Hello Roberta,
This is indeed a sorry tale.
It does sound as if you have spinal stenosis, which in the list of low back disorders is a complex one.
I would suggest that getting down on the floor and lying flat on your back is perhaps the first thing you should try. Yes, I understand completely that this will be a struggle ~ and painful, certainly initially. But you have a build-up of engorgement around your spinal nerve at the base of your spinal column and this is what is interfering with the nerve conduction and messages to the muscles in your legs, making it difficult to walk. You can read about it here: spinal stenosis. And you can read about spinal stenosis treatment.
Only part of the space occupying junk at the base of your spine is bony (and therefore suitable for removal through surgery); the rest is more able to be moved on by conservative means ~ and this means gentle exercise coupled with gentle spinal decompression.
I'm talking here of dispersing the swelling and engorgement of the soft tissues and adhesions that have proliferated as a legacy of the previous surgery. To a degree these can be pumped away and the adhesions made to reabsorb by movement of the tissues. But it takes time and perseverance Roberta, and takes starting and giving a try. Lying flat on your back may be painful, but it is the first step forward because it creates a very mild form of spinal decompression.
I suggest you might also read my short e-book which is downloadabe before you go any further down the spinal surgery route. It is called 'Think Seriously About Spine Surgery!'
I hope this helps Roberta.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Ask Sarah.

Sarah Key Video Library

buying the books from amazon is a lot cheaper than buying from us!

Or Buy the Books from Amazon UK

Australian and New Zealand buyers can buy the books from Booktopia

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.