The Ass-pocalypse, Part One

If you know me well at all, you know that last semester was THE most stressful semester of work I have ever had.  Major new responsibilities, a handful of major crises, and a LOT of very long hours.  I can’t count the number of times I worked straight through lunch and well into the night, not to mention the occasional weekend day.  All that time spent in my built-by-the-lowest-bidder, government-issue office chair has left me with some wicked pain that started just before Columbus Day and has gotten progressively worse ever since.

It started as a minor bout of back soreness and morphed into pain in my my butt and my leg.

At first I thought I had given myself tendonitis from walking funny while my back was sore.  Then I developed pain, numbness, and tingling all down my left leg, accompanied by serious muscle pain and tightness in my left butt cheek.  The inflamed muscle is the Piriformis, which runs from the sacrum to the top of the femur, right above the hip joint.  Because the sciatic nerve runs right under it (or if you’re really unlucky, right through it), it crushes the sciatic nerve.  So in addition to butt pain, you get leg pain as well.

Doctors call this condition Piriformis Syndrome.  I call it the Ass-pocalypse.

Here’s the thing with my chair:  I should have known it would rise up against me at some point.  I lean to the left.  My chair leans to the right.  In my case, it’s a political ideology thing.  In the case of my chair, it literally leans to the right a bit when I sit in it.  I’ve been sitting in it for three years, and it’s been getting more and more wobbly over time.  Nowadays, when I sit down in it, it wobbles to the right and stays there.  This means that, if I attempt to sit up straight, there is undue pressure on my spine and my left cheek.  Eventually, something had to give.

And so, the Asspocalypse.

Two years ago, I had my lower back x-rayed.  Everything looked copacetic except for my sacrum, which is apparently twisted a bit.  Wouldn’t you know it, sacral torsion is a risk factor for piriformis syndrome.  Basically, if you sit in a chair all day and your sacrum is twisted, chances are you may experience the Asspocalypse at some point.

I spent more than a month making frequent trips to Park Slope to see a very expensive chiropractor who does not take my insurance.  She is talented, and she helped a great deal in other ways, but in the end couldn’t do a thing to ease the pain in my butt and leg, even a little bit.  In fact, it was gradually getting worse.  I started to suspect there was more wrong with me than just an inflamed ass muscle, so I resolved to find a doctor steeped to the eyeballs in the evil ways of regular Western medicine so I could get a real diagnosis and find out what the heck was going on.

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