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   I regret to report that I am again experiencing back problems, this time a ruptured disc.  I have worked very little the past three weeks and have had two visits to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the last one lasting three days.

   You will perhaps recall that I experienced back problems last summer for six months before finally undergoing a triple laminectomy on October 26.  The problem was diagnosed as Spinal Stenosis, a shrinkage of the canal in the spine placing pressure on the nerves.  It is an inherited condition that worsens over time and is extremely painful.

   I had immediate and complete relief following the surgery and was released from the Doctor's care within three weeks and put on a six month rehabilitation schedule.  Less than two weeks after completing the rehab, I ruptured the disc at L-4 in my lower spine, unfortunately right in the middle of the area that had just been operated on.

   The Doctor's are very reluctant to operate again so quickly in this same area and we are trying "pain management".  Put simply, that means "the more drugs you take, the less pain(or anything else for that matter) you feel or the less drugs you take the more pain".  The Doctor's hope that the disc will degenerate or move off the nerve and relieve the pain over time on its own and it's just a matter of how much pain you can stand for how long.  If the disc doesn't cooperate or the pain becomes unbearable, surgery is the only option. 

   I attended the show last night for two hours and will be there for the final two nights. I thank everyone for their cards and calls of concern and will hopefully put this all behind me in the not too distant future.

David L. Howard 

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