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Paul has cervical radiculopathy (from a bulging disc) - advice?  RSS feed

 
steward
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People seem to know that Paul likes, or what he wants, or what he believes. And it seems to me like people want to reinforce that in his life, and protect him from making any changes... Perhaps I have an advantage on this thread, because I am the shaman that's a stranger in Paul's village. I don't really know Paul or his village. I just travel through here sometimes because the company is generally excellent and the conversation brilliant. And I like apples, pie, and thumbs-up.

Paul: Since you are on the thread now I'll address you directly. Something in your life isn't working for you. It is manifesting as severe pain. If I have a hope for you, it's that you will find a way to get to the core issues of why you are hurting so that you can find healing... Some people are willing and able to look critically at their own lives, and take steps, no matter how faltering or tentative that lead towards improved well-being. Other people never even try, and stay stuck in the same pain their whole lives. I don't know which you are. Either way I'll continue to love you and contribute to the Empire. I imagine that there must be a lot of peer-pressure and groupie-pressure that keeps you doing familiar things in familiar ways. If that continues to serve you well, then great... If it's time for you to reconsider some of the ideas and habits that lead to where you are today, then that's great too.

Be well. My best wishes to you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

 
master steward
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So much outpouring of love, support and information - thank you everyone! Paul SO appreciates it! As do I, too.

Now that we're back home, I'll give updates and summaries of a few things.

Lifestyle or work/life balance:
Paul and I both agree that this situation is a sledgehammer of a message that the lifestyle he was (we both were) leading was not in balance. Lots of discussions have been happening in that space over the last year, actually; and, of course, renewed with a more intense focus since this pinched nerve happened. This is important. And not to be ignored.

Food and supplements and meds:
We are having Paul follow an anti-inflammatory diet (no pie and very low carb for now!), using spices/herbs, etc., plus all kinds of over-the-counter and prescription meds (we're learning some things there!), as well as ice packs, to reduce the inflammation. I'm looking forward to optimizing even more with all of the great suggestions here! Even before this happened, I had listened to the Perfect Health Diet, which renewed and rounded out some of my information on how we like to eat. Then the holidays happened (oy vey).

Physical / movement:
We overdid things when we tried a massage for Paul Saturday night, plus had to travel in a car for 8 hours yesterday, plus different meds this week, so Paul is recuperating today. We look forward to getting to him some regular, gentle movement and appropriate stretching and physical therapy as soon as he is able. The urgent care folks yesterday gave him a neck brace which helped provide a bit of traction for his neck so that he was able to travel and sleep a little better.

Sleep
Paul usually has the most routine and healthy sleep hygiene (weird to call it "sleep hygiene" but that's what it is!) of almost anyone I know. Then, if he is shorted sleep even a little, he is really off the next day; simply not happy, not himself, and not able to think as clearly as normal. This has been an entire week of horrendous sleep due to the pain and some of the meds that can interfere with sleep. So between that and the doping of other meds, he is extremely addled, and even hallucinated a bit the other night. He's resting as much as possible whenever he can, and I'm sure everything we're doing to reduce inflammation, relax the muscles, and get him out of pain will get him back on a more normal sleep routine soon.

Through it all, Paul has been amazingly cheerful, funny, apologetic for being a burden, and appreciative of any help; despite his misery. I've wished I could do even more for him, though I can only do so much. (Don't tell him I said any of that though! )

I have a new appreciation both for folks in intense pain, and those who care for them. It becomes a new kind of time suck, at the very least, with a very real danger of getting worse and worse and potentially making what were once ordinary lives, now all about pain and sickness (aka martyrdom and/or victimhood?). Neither of us wants that, to be sure.

Currently, I'm hopeful that we can get Paul thoroughly healed up. And, if we are able to keep sight of the higher issues (for lack of better words), I think this can be a very good thing on multiple fronts.




 
gardener
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Sounds really really rough. Blessings, empathy, namaste.

When there has been no impact or specific injury, this kind of pain can be a real puzzle.

I knew a chiropractor who gave up "adjustments" on his patients, the three - four times a week things that are the cash cow for so many in that profession. My friend came to the realization that if the bones are out of alignment, it is the soft tissue ie muscles PULLING them out of alignment. My friend gave up his practice and went to Europe or Israel or where ever he could learn "feldenkrais". Then he took up "gyrokenesis" and "gyrotonic expansion" and became trained in one or both. Gyrokenesis is an exercise discipline. Gyrotonic expansion is a therapeutic movement discipline that retrains the body to movements. I've searched, and it looks like the closest practitioners are : one in Spokane, WA and one in Bigfork Montana. Not all practitioners are created equal, so you would need the talented healer.

Once, when living on a wilderness island in an archipelago off the pacific coast side of Vancouver Island I was suddenly strickend by an excruciating lower back pain. I could not do anything at all. To roll over in bed took me half an hour and I was drenched in sweat, deep breathing, birthing type breathing, with tears soaking my face. There were no pain meds, but probably I would not have used them. I tried crawling to the BR, finally discovered rolling across the floor to be the easiest way to travel. I was in the home of an unsympathetic oyster farmer who was no help at all. There was no one else on the island. The only options were to be airlifted by helicopter, (for what? There had been no injury and suddenly I had no legs to stand on) or wait for it to get better. I had plenty of time to think about what I had learned in my friend's exercise classes, now so many miles away. I got to the point where I could get to the BR and back, could get to the boat that would take me on a 6 hour journey to the shore of Vancouver Island, where I could travel the barely better than logging road to the town where there was an acupuncturist.

You have to have the right acupuncturist, the skilled experienced healer kind of person, which by great luck is what I got. This was my first time trying acupuncture. From there, I was much MUCH better, still lots of pain but it had eased some.

THEN I traveled the 1000 miles to the gyrotonic expansion practitioner, and got my self back together. For me, this kind of thing always involves emotions/stress/spiritual or experiential or interpersonal challenges. I believe Paul's activities at his computer could sometimes be a similar experience, caring so much, experiencing as intensely as he does, having already lived through such tremendous difficulties in his life, I see a possible parallel here.

So, Jocelyn and others, if you have read this far, if you or Paul think there may be something of value in this for him, I'm happy to give more information. This is what worked for me.

Blessings and best wishes for the outcome of the MRI, for the difficulties and pain of the journeys to and from, and the process of the MRI.

Thekla
 
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I had nerve damage in my hip which caused me constant pain (to the point of nearly blacking out) and it puzzled doctors. Resting helped but as soon as I was on my feet for any period of time it would start aching again. What made it completely disappear oddly enough was Taekwondo. Now that obviously wouldn't work for Paul but perhaps the extreme and forceful extension of my legs was what helped. Is there something Paul could do that would help stretch or extend his spine?
 
gardener
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For extending the spine, my mother loves her inverser. Looks like a old fashioned hospital stretcher mounted on a pivot. You strap your legs to the bottom and then pivot until your head hangs towards the ground. Probably not complicated to make. I'd be extra cautious using it if I were already having issues with my spine, though.
 
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Im treading lightly due to potential social faux pas, and I certainly hope not to make anyone of a more sober persuasion uncomfortable -- but Ive always had an interest in "drugs", with a mind to find medicines that actually work, unlike anything youll find in a pill form. That being said, im often brushed off as an impassioned stoner... but whatever, Ive mastered MY pain management!

I know its fringe info from the shadows, but This. Stuff. Works.

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) (wiki link)
Its sold as "not for human consumption", but entire Asiatic cultures and myself will agree, it BEGS to be consumed. One usually orders a powder form.

A teaspoon is often compared to a vicodin or another opiate by its ability to lift mood, kill pain, and not fog the brain.
Ive got 2 coworkers, as well as my grandfather (an old fashioned conservative at that) who are rapidly abandoning handfuls of little pills the doctor recommended, because this substance is just blowing western medicines out of the water. Its fully legal, and although understudied, there are entire cultures that embrace this plant on the daily.

I know it may seem like a gross, fringe suggestion, but I say it out of love for Fearless Leader.
If the doctors fail, maybe your ball is in the shamans hut~

 
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Hi. I haven't read through all responses so I don't know if this is suggested already, but after checking if anything is ruptured or broken I would highly recommend seeing a physical therapist (not chiropractor but physical therapist). I've had such great experiences with them, they are so well educated on the human body and what to do in situations like this to alleviate pain and restore function. In some states you can refer yourself, in others you need a referral from your doctor. I really recommend it highly. I would also second some of the suggestions I saw for magnesium. I've been helped by magnesium for muscle spasms although pinched nerve might be a different animal altogether. Either way a 500mg tablet daily probably won't hurt you (I'm not a doctor and other standard disclaimers...)
 
                      
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I would suggest traction, ice and find a good chiropractor. It's IMO most likely a disc, from what I've seen in personal and professional experience, or a facet. There must be a trustworthy chiropractor in Missoula. I suggest looking for one who does SOT. quick healing to you! !
 
master steward
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Tomorrow I go to a specialist. And my impression is that physical therapy will be a big part of it.

Yesterday we were at a hospital and they gave me a neck brace. That seems to be one of the smartest things I've had yet.

It has now been 8 days. And I think I got the most sleep today. I get the impression that this might be a few more weeks. I like the system where Sharla is nearby and when I'm awake for a few minutes I can talk to Sharla about what's going on and to be done.

I think we're all agreed that the cause is me working far too many hours for far too many years. In fact the first thing that the first doctor said was no computer for a week. I thought I might be able to sneak in a half an hour a day, but in the end I couldn't put any time each day. The most I've been able to do is a few minutes with my phone voice recognition stuff

I think I need to transition the way I do everything even when I'm all better. I think I should limit my computer time 2/6 hours a day. I like the idea that the rest of my day can be devoted to light carpentry possibly even passion I feel like never flushed out: art.

I used to devour many books in a day. And I rarely open a book anymore. I like the idea reading or. All of this while at the same time finding ways to expand the Empire in a higher velocity than what we have done in. I still feel strongly that it is important to tell hundreds of millions of people about permaculture. I'm plotting and scheming ways to do this while not wearing myself out.

I think the focus needs to be more about the permies community and less about the Paul Wheaton show.
 
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Back country chiropractic
Bozeman
4065850077
Michael Lebrecht, DC

Amazing guy. Did wonders for me. Not a bone cruncher. All pressure point therapy. I'd be surprised if he couldn't get you back on track. Got a friend of mine back from what sounds a lot like what you are going through. My two cents. Hope it helps. Best of luck.

By the way, first post here.
 
                      
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You may also want to be sure your have an EMF filter like Total Shield that blocks emf from tge computer and phones etc. Just another thought.
 
pollinator
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Sounds like you're learning your lessons, Paul. Amazing how many times I've had a proverbial '2x4 to the head' before I decided to pay attention and agree to explore changes... and they were all for the better!! Duh :) (Some of mine of were... "I might be wrong once in awhile!" and "I'm not God, i.e., responsible for everything")

I remember a couple of years ago when Jocelyn had gotten an agreement to take Sundays 'off' (I gave a sigh of relief :), but a broken arm got in the way. However, better late than never ;) Such adventures in store for you (starting with all the advice here to try out) ..... and a lesson for all of us! ;)

Thanks Jocelyn and Sharla ;)
 
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Lofthouse might have a point. You've got to be under a lot of stress from your projects and demanding people from the Kickstarter. This was helpful to many people I have known. And if no physical abnormally is found I really think you should take a look at healing back pain the mind body connection and this guy's other books: http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Back-Pain-Mind-Body-Connection/dp/0446557684

I also found some relief from his book

I wish you a speedy recovery
 
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Hi Paul and Jocelyn, I just wanted to drop by and wish you well. I hope you have a speedy recovery Paul.

All the best,
Tim
 
paul wheaton
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Lots of xrays. Getting an MRI tomorrow. These guys seem to be super knowledgeable about this kind of thing. It sounds like I should be doing much better in just a few days. There will be physical therapy drugs and other stuff.

Today is day 10. Last night I think I might have gotten an hour and a half of sleep. I'm looking forward to getting past this.
 
steward
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If I could I would hand out spoons to you. Nice thoughts for you from the other side of the pond! get well soon
 
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Good luck, Paul. Having had immobilizing back pain myself, I feel for you.

Every back problem seems to be different (much like the line from Anna Karenina about unhappy families) so do pay attention to what the people who examine you say - they'll know far more about your particular case than any of us commenting from the sidelines.

That said, if your problem is mostly muscular, physical therapy can be very useful as a long-term treatment. A weak core can cause back problems to recur, so anything (PT, yoga, etc.) that helps with core strength and balance can help prevent a recurrence.
 
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A Walton wrote:There are some pretty long posts in this thread that argue various fine points of diet. IMO this situation is pretty simple. Paul needs to lose some weight.



There are also a bunch of similar suggestions about long term approaches. When you get to the point of considering your legacy and mortality, it is too acute a phase to take such suggestion seriously in the short term. To an extent they strike me as piling on insult. What fat people eventually figure out is that to thin people all they are is fat. If you loose a lot of weight and return to the herd you get an insight into how you were actually seen, which I would say is something one should consider, and over the long run deal with if one can.

Interestingly I recently had a heart attack. Virtually every single person in rehab is overweight. Women who have made the cut are almost all morbidly obese, it takes a lot more obesity for women to experience it as a significant risk factor for heart attack. What is interesting, if OT here, is that weight is not one of the more important risk factors for heart disease, though it is connected to other risk factors that are very significant.
 
Tam Deal
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While there will be lots of time later to think of life changes one might make, the reality is that if you are lucky, a minor shot of the right therapy could have you all better again, and like me 2-3 years out you may not suffer another bout of this misery. I wouldn't loose contact with the possibility you will put this so fully behind you in short order that making large changes will not be any more pressing than it has been in the past. Of course we can all do things to improve ourselves and that is wonderful. One of those things can be not loosing hope when there is ample reason to expect a full and speedy recovery.
 
paul wheaton
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I had an MRI today. For 20 minutes I sat in a space that I barely fit into and got to hear weird sounds that sounded like the foundation of a new Laurie Anderson single.

Later today a doctor will tell me what he found and hopefully we'll get a plan for making me better.

I slept a little better last night although I was still in a lot of pain.

Today is day 11. On day one my doctor told me that I couldn't use the computer for 7 days. I agree to that. And I've kept my word. So technically, I can use a computer today. But I don't want to. My right arm hurts so much the idea of typing is terrible. I have a hard time sitting for more than a minute or two to try to eat. And I'm so terribly right handed but eating with my left hand is the foundation for a comedy.

I think it might be another week or two until I can touch a computer. I suspect that when I get started I might use a computer for just a half an hour to an hour a day for awhile.

Fortunately I am surrounded by people who are working hard to help keep the empire thriving. I even kind of wonder if my being this sick for several weeks or several months might bring a new flavor people into the Empire to help move things forward.
 
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I had a c7 pinched nerve. The pain and tinglies ran in a strip down my arm and affected my thumb, pointer finger and half of my middle finger. I'm about Paul's age and I sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day.

Physical therapy helped somewhat, and I got a nifty at-home neck stretcher. I got modest improvements and numerous flare ups for 6 months. Then I went to a chiropractor (who is a patient of mine...) and in three visits, I was pain free. I had a minor flare up a year later, and again, three visits and I was good as new.


Chiropractic doesn't work for everybody. Surgery doesn't work for everybody. Physical therapy doesn't work for everybody. But I would damn sure try a good local chiropractor before I did any surgery. Try the PT first, it often works. If you don't get complete relief, then try chiropractic.

Good luck, and we're pulling for you.

 
paul wheaton
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Do you have an Amazon link for the neck stretcher?

I think what all of this is over I am going to have to come up with a schedule for myself but doesnt let me work so much but I get back to this state. We're going to have to work smarter as a community to move from a culture of forward so that we don't rely so heavily on me.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Here's a gently used one on ebay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SAUNDERS-CERVICAL-TRACTION-DELUXE-HOME-UNIT-FOR-YOUR-NECK-AND-SPINE-/301856327955?hash=item46480a0913:g:h2AAAOSwaA5Wjxzo

Here's a new one from amazon for a hundred bucks more, but not used...


http://www.amazon.com/Saunders-Cervical-Traction-Device/dp/B014RJEH8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454019286&sr=8-1&keywords=saunders+home+cervical+traction


Consult with your doctor. Do your own due diligence. I am a doctor, but not that kind of doctor, and I certainly haven't examined you. This does not constitute medical advice. Blah blah, lawyer stuff, blah blah...


Best of luck!

 
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Here a Link for a neck stretcher that Kyle uses. He got it from his chiropractor for his neck injury from a car accident. He uses it every day and It takes him out of pain.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D9CEP6Q/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687622&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B004O83JY8&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1KX7BVV4ED7GAAH6JBK4
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Thanks so much for the links, Troy and Samantha!

We met with the doctor (he's a surgeon by trade) to review the MRI images and there is a definite bulge/rupture between C6 and C7. It seems that resolving that bulge sooner rather than later helps the nerves that are being impinged return to normal function more quickly and possibly more completely. Some times there is permanent nerve damage from disc impingement.

The surgeon said Paul's bulge is one of the easiest to resolve surgically. He half-heartedly (?) agreed that physical therapy and other methods, including time, are worth trying to see if the body will resorb the bulge, though he didn't think that was very likely. I would like to think this is a professional bias on the surgeon's part, and that Paul could resolve and resorb (is that the word the doctor kept using?) the bulge with less invasive methods than surgery. Though I do think the doc honestly felt he could rid Paul of pain much more quickly with surgery than other methods. The important thing is that Paul is interested in trying non-surgical methods first.

The doctor thought just 11 days in to this is not bad, as he often sees patients who have suffered for far longer periods, and incurred much more damage, before coming to him.

It will likely be weekly doctor visits, at the very least, to monitor Paul's nerve function, checking for potential nerve damage.

We are also definitely looking at physical therapy and other things to support the healing process with this. Which means even more appointments. Being 40 minutes from town means almost 1.5 hours round trip, plus the appointment(s) time, so it's the better part of half a day sucked up.

Let's see, this week included Monday, 2 hours at urgent care about midway in the 8-hour drive home; Wednesday/yesterday, over 2 hours at the ortho clinic plus the 1.5 hours drive time; today/Thursday, 45 minutes at the MRI, an hour at the ortho clinic, plus 3 hours in between and the 1.5 hours drive time.

I suppose we have been really lucky that we don't know what it's like to have sooo many health care appointments! My goodness!


 
paul wheaton
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So I get really poor sleep at night which makes it so that I end up napping through the day when I can. So rather than working 10 to 16 hours a day, I might be able to get an hour to an hour and a half a day. And the all of that is when I'm laying on my back using my cell phone.

Oh yeah that's another thing. I have a hard time eating meals because it requires me to sit up and I can only do it for a few minutes. But somehow if I get in the bed and lie on my back then it's not so bad. So Jocelyn and Sharla have rigged up all sorts of Comedy contraptions to make it so I can do things when I'm awake.

Terrible grammar is going to come from the voice recognition contraption on my phone. It makes it tolerable to be able to post stuff. My fingers are way too freaky big to make much use of the teeny tiny little screen keyboards.

After visiting with the doctor yesterday, I kind of get the impression that this is something that could be weeks or months until its resolved. But I think that this community is grown enough that it will do awesome stuff without needing me to be always pushing.

In fact, considering how I got this we came from working too hard I am putting a lot of thought into changes I need to make when I do get better. I think my role should be more to guide then to push. So this medical junk kind forces this path for now. Maybe it will be for the best.
 
paul wheaton
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I just spent one minute on my computer and my arm is now killing me.

Apparently my facebook account got hacked and advertisements got posted under my name. So I fired up my laptop logged into Facebook and changed my password. I can't find any more evidence of spamming but I really don't know much about Facebook.

I turned off my laptop and got back into bed. My arm still really hurts.

Is there anybody out there that knows a lot about Facebook and can see if there's any other Facebook spam out there with my name on it?
 
steward
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It probably was not hacked.

Sometimes when you like things on Facebook, they show "related" advertisements featuring you. Not sure exactly how it works.

http://www.techlicious.com/blog/facebook-may-be-posting-controversial-messages-on-your-behalf/
 
gardener
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Hope you learned your lesson Paul and that you are feeling better soon. I think you're on the right track and good things will come out of it.


For when you are feeling better:
Kelly Starrett is one of my favorites as far as fixing wacky computer posture/body/flexibility issues. He has a youtube channel called MobilityWOD (Workout Of the Day) where you can search for what ails you.

Great place to start:


His explanations of stuff has helped me fix some major back issues I've been suffering with for YEARS. These issues would, literally, take me to my knees in pain.
Haven't had an issue in a couple years. Not even a twinge/inkling of the problem in a year and a half.

-Ryan
 
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Damn. I wish I'd seen this thread sooner. I'm a physical therapist so would like to humbly chime in with my advice.
Regarding the advice that has already been given, I can't comment on the dietary stuff, but regarding physical exercises - DON'T CRACK YOUR NECK!
The neck stretcher might be a good idea, but make sure you do it gently and don't worsen symptoms while doing so. A very good exercise is neck retraction. Here's a video of it:

If doing it when upright is too painful or worsens things, then try doing it lying on your back, with pillow supporting your head and neck (NOT under shoulders), with the head resting in a neutral position (ie. facing the ceiling, in line with trunk, not turned or tilted). You know it is working if the symptoms move away from your arm and back towards the neck. Sometimes the neck pain worsens when you do this, but centralisation (where the symptoms move away from the extremities) is seen to be indicative of lessening of neural irritation.
As for surgery, I'm afraid the doctor is wrong about surgery being very successful. Spinal surgery of any kind is very risky and has maybe a 50% success rate (I don't have a reference for that but it is roughly true). Anyway, a radiculopathy is a self-limiting problem provided the right management plan is followed.
This kind of problem is usually caused or triggered by poor posture and heavy labour. The head forward posture causes increased compression of the lower cervical vertebral discs, and over a long-term period can cause disc prolapse and/or irritation of the neural tissue. Working on stretching out your front (chest and shoulders back) and strengthening your back and core (yoga or pilates) would be helpful in remedying this. Losing some weight would also help, but I'm sure you'll be on top of that with all the advice you've been given already!
Anyway, hope that helps and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Mike
 
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I like drinking raw apple cider vinegar for pain. Helps your blood circulate to heal the cause of the problem. 1part vinegar to 15 parts water add some honey and cinnamon and exchange half of the water with apple juice for a delicious medicine. Works for my back pains and headaches.
 
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I'm really sorry to hear of your suffering,Paul. I pray you find successful treatment soon. Though it may be Apples and Oranges I will share that I endured chronic pain much longer than I should have (from a quite different orthopedic problem) by avoiding surgery. I experienced immediate relief after the surgery.
Again, I hope you get the relief you need and make the long term body mechanics/lifestyle adjustments to stay well. I'm really looking forward to being up at the Lab this summer and expect you'll be hale and hearty and giving us all Hell heartily.
Be of good cheer.You have a lot of people sending love your way.
 
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Matu Collins wrote:

A Walton wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In the short term, marijuana and alcohol can be useful for soothing temporary aches and pains.



Ugh no! marijuana maybe but alcohol promotes inflammation.



I think, from many previous discussions, that Paul would not be very interested in either.



I think, from what Paul's been saying lately, that he'd be very interested in anything that might give him some relief.
 
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I find myself wondering if one of those inverting deals would help relieve pressure, like the kind you strap your ankles in and hang upside down......even if it's temporary relief I bet it would be worth it.....?
 
pollinator
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paul wheaton wrote:art.



I hope so!

 
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Regarding supplements / diet :

Curcumin is the active ingredient in tumeric root but the quantity of curcumin in turmeric is pretty low. I use powdered (capsules) curcumin, one to two grams (2000 mg) per day. And, as someone previously mentioned, taking it with a pinch of black pepper is helpful.

Also, a quality grade fish oil (non-rancid EPA/DHA 1500 mg) from cold water fish (like trout, salmon, mackerel) is helpful. If you want brand recommendations for quality fish oil, please email me. Dr Mercola recommended some other oils (like Borage Oil) also, but they didn't seem to help my pain much. Some people think that essential oils like marjoram and oregano help, but they didn't do much for me.

And don't forget the vitamin D3, especially since you live so far north where sunshine produces inadequate vitamin D for half the year due to the low angle of the sun.

Regarding stretching / exercising :
http://www.do-it-yourself-joint-pain-relief.com/neck-pain-relief.html

Regarding passive stretching (massage) :
Be careful that you find a good, certified massage therapist who knows how to work with injuries and not just for "relaxation". The muscles are tight to "protect" the spine that they "think" is in danger.

I started with Physical Therapy and "graduated" to an osteopath. She does a "cranial / sacral" therapy that doesn't hurt but helps release the muscles (slowly).
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Mike Wong wrote:As for surgery, I'm afraid the doctor is wrong about surgery being very successful. Spinal surgery of any kind is very risky and has maybe a 50% success rate (I don't have a reference for that but it is roughly true). Anyway, a radiculopathy is a self-limiting problem provided the right management plan is followed.

This kind of problem is usually caused or triggered by poor posture and heavy labour. The head forward posture causes increased compression of the lower cervical vertebral discs, and over a long-term period can cause disc prolapse and/or irritation of the neural tissue. Working on stretching out your front (chest and shoulders back) and strengthening your back and core (yoga or pilates) would be helpful in remedying this. Losing some weight would also help, but I'm sure you'll be on top of that with all the advice you've been given already!
Anyway, hope that helps and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Mike


I agree. I would delay surgery until there was no other alternative. It may (or may not) fix the immediate problem, but usually causes other problems in its wake.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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Chadwick Holmes wrote:I find myself wondering if one of those inverting deals would help relieve pressure, like the kind you strap your ankles in and hang upside down......even if it's temporary relief I bet it would be worth it.....?


I think this would be better for low back pain rather than neck pain.
 
Chadwick Holmes
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I just see a big head being heavy, and going from a big heavy head pressing on the nerve to a big heavy head working to relieve pressure on the nerve. I am sure it is better the more body wieght that is above the effected area, but I can't see the harm in trying it if the pain is that great.....right?
 
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Paul,

Sorry to learn of your complications. I have been dealing with "ridiculous" pain associated with stenosis in my lower cervical spine for many years now. I hope you are only having to deal with a temporary inflammation.

Anyway, I have found that proper posture makes a big difference. Core exercises are also important. I wouldn't recommend anything strenuous until after the mri (and also avoid chiropractors or any kind of severe manipulation until you have eliminated physical damage from the equation). Also, don't use a neck stretcher without consulting your neurologist first.

Try some simple shoulder shrug exercises. Go slow and be methodical, taking care to keep your head in the right place (feel free to read more into that than I meant).

Those muscle stimulators they sell at the malls and in drug stores can help to get knots out of your muscles. Be careful with pad placement, as you can aggravate things if you get too close to any damage and keep the intensity to below the level that causes involuntary movement.

Natural anti-inflammatories are probably a good idea. I have been taking high doses of fish oil. (Be careful with ibuprofen. Long term use can damage your heart. It does help a lot to reduce inflammation in the nerves and I do use it once in awhile, maybe once a month, when I get bad flareups.)

I have also found the capsaicin ointment (I buy the Capsaicin No-Fuss Applicator) sold at places like Walgreen's and other stores helps me a lot. I have a lot of arthritis in my spine as well (possibly caused by the disc damage). The no-fuss applicator keeps the pepper oil off my fingers and I can tape one on the end of a a length of pvc pipe, like a back-scratcher, to get to the places I can't reach, and I don't have to ask my wife for help. Once(if) you get used to the burn, it feels quite soothing, like a hot pad. If you get the ointment on your fingers, wash it off immediately with a lot of soap. It is much, much worse than what you get from slicing jalapenos.

Good luck and get well soon.
 
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