By Mandy Erickson
James Ewing wasn’t surprised when, in his mid-60s, he began to feel chronic pain in his lower back. He had hurdled his way into the 1976 Olympic trials, played basketball throughout his 40s and ran 10-mile treks for years.
“I’ve always been very active, and I knew there was a lot of wear and tear,” the 68-year-old Modesto, California, resident said.
At first, painful flare-ups would improve after about a week. But, he said, “Every time I tweaked it, it took longer to recover. It got to the point where it wasn’t going away. I had to walk hunched over. Everything I did was to accommodate the constant pain.”
Ewing learned last year from his physicians in Modesto that he had lumbar spinal stenosis, in which the spinal canal narrows, compressing nerves. For relief, surgery is required to widen the canal.