A Jacked-Up Slinky
Head, Shoulders, and Oh….
It’s been two weeks since I’ve written anything and updated my tiny but loyal fanbase on our current happenings. We’ve been busy and I’ve been hurting quite a bit lately. In fact, I want to tell you a little bit about how my spine looks like a jacked-up slinky and what is actually on my Christmas list.
I had my evaluation at the chiropractor which included an examination, digital motion x-rays, and static x-rays on Monday. When I came back two days later for the prognosis and treatment plan, I expected to see “screwed-up,” it has been since I was a teenager, I didn’t expect to see what looked like an overused and abused slinky tossed at the bottom of some stairs.
Let’s start with from the neck and work our way down. (I would happily share the x-rays, but I don’t have a copy yet.) Here are some though that show what your neck should look like. Picture one is a person looking straight ahead, picture two showing the motions of looking down and then up.
When seeing the x-ray of my neck that is the same as picture one not only is the natural curve not there, my neck is curved in the wrong direction. During the digital motion x-rays, you can see that my neck is extremely hyper-mobile (my daughters was too,) with my head reaching my back on the extension. Then we get to the fun stuff — See those two vertebrae at the top of the neck, they are the C-1 and C-2, that’s where it all starts. Those top vertebrae are slanted, think of a see-saw tilted in one direction, and then rotated, or what they call a subluxation.
As we work our way down my spine, you see that I lovely s-curve, scoliosis. It’s not as curved as this example, but it is clearly visible. Then as you work your way down, the two of the lower vertebrae just above the pelvis area are compressed. But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there…one hip bone was visibility sitting higher than the other and you could see deterioration in both of my hip bones. I would like to remind you that I am only 36, and my body is behaving like that of average American in their 60’s.
The chiropractor has adjusted me three times now, and while my lower back and hips feel much better than had recently, my neck and shoulders are a whole other story. You see, it isn’t an easy fix, especially when your neck is hyper-mobile and in-stable. The bad part though is that pain has extended beyond my neck and shoulders and I’m now waiting for a neurologist referral with strict orders that if my symptoms get worse to immediately go to the ER.
The pain started in my right hand about a month or so ago. Particularly my fingers and wrist. It hurts to grip the steering wheel and drive, so much so that I have to shake my hand out every few minutes. I hoped it was carpel tunnel and waited for the pain to subside, as it had in the past. But, it started to hurt in my elbow, and then my shoulder. Now I can’t sleep more than a few hours at a time without pain radiating down my arm. There are periods of numbness/tingling and currently a loss of temperature control. (My left hand is room temperature, but my right feels like I’ve been standing in 30-degree weather for hours with no gloves on.)
I have alternated between my prescription anti-inflammatory and Tylenol arthritis, with neither providing relief. I’ve done heat, ice, pain relieving creams, PT exercises meant to strengthen my neck, and every pillow configuration imaginable — nothing is helping. My body is failing me and I can do nothing but wait, what will likely be months, to get into a neurologist.
Side Note: I’m beginning to suspect this may be why right ankle, the one I hurt in August, is still hurting despite braces, compression sleeves, and physical therapy.
That leads me to Christmas wish list for this year. I’ve told my kids I don’t need or want much, just things that can help me to feel comfortable and not so painful. The things that would make me incredibly happy…
- Thick, warm socks. My feet, especially my right foot (see the trend here,) are always cold.
- An orthotic pillow/support system for my bed. I have got to find a way to lay and sleep that doesn’t cause pain.
- A compression sleeve for my hand/wrist that covers my fingers too. Do those even exist?
- A neck/shoulder heating pad. I love my heating pad, but I can never get it adjusted on my neck right. While the heat and pressure from heat packs are nice on occasion, I would like to be able to snuggle up with one of these on my neck.
- Comfortable shoes (again, do these actually exist, I’ve tried so many) that don’t make me feel like they want to fall off after 30 min of wear.
Most of all, I hope for continued patience and understanding from my family this holiday season. I’m finding it more difficult to do the everyday task, I am always tired, and likely one flare-up of shooting pain away from being a grumpy bitch for a day.
That is is for the latest update on my fabulous life with chronic pain. I’ll save a full update on the kids for another day, but despite ongoing issues and pain, Ali is back at dance (for now at least) and loving it. Our oldest Matt has been experiencing more pain though and has yet to get an appointment with an ENT, even though we got the referral at the beginning of October.