• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Daron Williams
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
  • Bryant RedHawk

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

 
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Really horrible night. In severe pain. I think I should be in the hospital.
 
steward
Posts: 5270
Location: Missoula, MT
875
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:Really horrible night. In severe pain. I think I should be in the hospital.



He's better now. It's a juggle with figuring out the meds. In general, we are not medication/prescription people so this is new to us. An urgent care nurse told us a couple over-the-counter things we were trying on top of prescriptions would send Paul down the path of Heath Ledger. (!) So I'm attempting to be the clear headed one and track what he's doing.

The thing that seemed to help the most this morning was an ice pack. When someone is in pain, or sick, it's soooo hard to think clearly, that some times we forget or can't think of the simplest things.
 
Posts: 74
Location: North Idaho at 975m elevation on steep western slope, 60cm annual precipitation, zone 4
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul! My dad is one of the most sought after cervical spine specialists in the nation- he takes care of the big wig athletes and rich guys and what not. I'm not bragging but I have a great opportunity for you if you're interested. I've talked to him about you I've been putting permaculture in his ear and he thinks it's awesome. I told him about your condition and the first thing he said was to let him know if you wanted to talk to him. If you want, PM me and I'll give you his contact info- he knows his shit about medicine (not alternative medicine mind you). No strings attached. FYI he lives in Minneapolis.
-Matthew
 
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I second the recommendation to see a specialist. It is easier to get past the acute pain before you start corrective therapy. If you cannot travel, look into a local pain specialist. You may need a nerve block to stop the pain. The downside to that is pain self-limits you from doing further damage. Take away the pain while damage still exists and you might do more damage. You need to know if there is disc damage or bone growth impinging on the spinal cord or root nerves. If you do get a nerve block, restrict your activity until you know if and where any damage exists. Pain is preferable to paralysis. Pain lets you know the nerves are still working, but that something is wrong. Numbness and muscle weakness or severe atrophy are signs that you need to get things taken care of immediately.

If imaging is negative and you have no paralysis, you probably just have some nerves twisted with muscle fiber. Still very painful, but conservative therapy ought to take care of it. Most mild to moderate disc bulges can also be taken care of with conservative therapy.

Conservative therapy takes a fair amount of time and it is not a lot of fun, but it is often very successful and is certainly worth a try, given the risks of surgical intervention.

I will warn you ahead of time that most neurosurgeons will not operate only to alleviate pain, no matter how bad the imaging looks. You usually must show signs of paralysis to be a candidate for surgery. Even, as in my case, when there is severe damage and considerable discomfort, but no paralysis, conservative therapy can get you to where you can function somewhat productively, though at a reduced level.

Don't dilly dally with this! Find a good neurologist, get imaging, a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Good luck and keep your spirits up.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 5270
Location: Missoula, MT
875
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brief update. I haven't ready everything, nor replied to everyone, but here's some of the short of it:
--Paul saw an orthopedic spinal surgeon on Thursday who specialized in neck issues.
--the MRI on Thursday showed a disc (disk?) bulge pinching his spinal cord between C6 and C7.
--Paul started a heavy-duty nerve pain prescription on Thursday which has some ramp up time, plus is on (or has been on) other things.
--the surgeon recommended cervical traction (only for now?) via a PT clinic which starts on Wednesday.

To be kind of blunt, I don't have the time to discuss much more here for a bit. I need to focus on helping Paul, meeting some tax deadlines for clients (still/today/Saturday-Monday), and facilitate care (and meds) with Paul's current caregivers.

Paul is very drugged, plus addled from the pain and lack of sleep, so his posts are a bit...incomplete at times.
 
gardener
Posts: 323
Location: AB, Canada (Zone 4a - Canadian Badlands)
55
bee chicken forest garden fungi rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A thought I wanted to share...
When you are not used to using pain meds (or prescribed meds, in general), the train of thought can be to use them only as necessary and only when the pain is unbearable.
Don't follow this train of thought.
Pain meds should be used so that there is no pain. Fiddle and figure out the balance so that he is taking the meds before the pain really kicks in (assuming Paul can get to that mostly painless point). It's much harder to get pain under control when it fluctuates. I imagine you were told this by the professionals, but wanted to share just in case no one said anything.
 
Posts: 13
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
... 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.



Resorbing the disk (if it isn't ruptured) would be great! The idea is that it is kinda like trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube after it's been squished out. You have to do the correct movements (or have them done to you) to accomplish that goal. For example, just pulling on both ends of the tube of toothpaste doesn't usually work very well, and just letting the tube of toothpaste sit on the shelf doesn't do a lot either.

Did the surgeon say why he thought that it was unlikely? Is the disk is actually ruptured rather than bulging? That is a huge distinction.

On the plus side, permanent nerve damage doesn't happen instantly in this scenario.

When I worked for the chiropractor, he would refer people to surgeons after he failed to achieve success with more conservative methods, but (the best of both worlds) he wasn't totally anti "traditional" medicine like some are ... and the surgeons weren't totally anti "alternative" medicine either.

Acupuncture (by a Chinese Acupuncturist who studied Chinese medicine in China for 5 years) worked for my neck/arm pain after I had tried chiropractic, massage, cortisone injections, anti-inflammatories, etc., but it didn't work for my husband (who ended up having surgery), so YMMV for any of these more conservative therapies.

Spinal surgery is far less reversible, and frequently leads to more surgery down the road, even if it is successful.

Calming the pain to a tolerable level is the primary thing right now. And there are many suggestions in this thread. I've already made dietary / supplement suggestions as well as other therapeutic suggestions that I've used.

Otherwise, I suggest Ice as the first line of defense. If Paul tries anything that irritates the nerve, ice instantly afterwards.
 
master steward
Posts: 12541
Location: Left Coast Canada
2409
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Penny Dumelie wrote:A thought I wanted to share...
When you are not used to using pain meds (or prescribed meds, in general), the train of thought can be to use them only as necessary and only when the pain is unbearable.
Don't follow this train of thought.
Pain meds should be used so that there is no pain. Fiddle and figure out the balance so that he is taking the meds before the pain really kicks in (assuming Paul can get to that mostly painless point). It's much harder to get pain under control when it fluctuates. I imagine you were told this by the professionals, but wanted to share just in case no one said anything.



That's exactly the problem I have. The doctors here call it 'chasing the pain'.

Which means I don't like taking the pain meds because of the nasty side effects, so I only take them when the pain is bad enough, which means they don't really work that well, so I end up in the ER with a 9 or 12 on the pain scale (9 being please pull off my arm so it will distract me from this pain), 12 is whimpering in a little ball and wishing I could reach the sharp thing to cut out the pain and hopefully kill myself in the process, but hurts too much to move.

If I did what the doctors told me, things might go better. Take the pain pills when the pain starts, not when it gets bad, and take the dose on schedule or (under doctor's guidance - because drugs can be dangerous) take it when the pain starts to come back even if it's before schedule. Problem is, when it only hurts a bit (like a 7) it's hard to remember that the side effects of the meds aren't as bad as the pain.

With nerve pain - just my observation, not as a doctor or anything - it seems like it's really important not to chase the pain. It seems much more difficult to catch up with it than many other pains.

Sending good thoughts for Paul.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jocelyn,

Thanks for the information. That helps those of us who have gone through something similar to know where Paul is now. Looks like he is headed in the right direction. Stay hopeful.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 5270
Location: Missoula, MT
875
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marilyn de Queiroz wrote:
Resorbing the disk (if it isn't ruptured) would be great! The idea is that it is kinda like trying to get the toothpaste back into the tube after it's been squished out. You have to do the correct movements (or have them done to you) to accomplish that goal. For example, just pulling on both ends of the tube of toothpaste doesn't usually work very well, and just letting the tube of toothpaste sit on the shelf doesn't do a lot either.

Did the surgeon say why he thought that it was unlikely? Is the disk is actually ruptured rather than bulging? That is a huge distinction.

On the plus side, permanent nerve damage doesn't happen instantly in this scenario.



Howdy Marilyn! Paul was so pleased to see you reply in this thread - he wanted me to be sure to say "hello!" Thank you for all of your comments and tips - they are very helpful. The surgeon didn't say ruptured, so I'm hopeful it isn't, though we'll ask more about that next time.

We are being very consistent with pain meds, although due to being out of town the first 8 or 9 days, those meds (and the opinions on what over-the-counter stuff can augment them) have varied a LOT due to seeing an N.D., ER and urgent care folks - plus one massage and acupuncture attempt each. So 5 appointments really before seeing the spine surgeon and getting the MRI. It's been a lot. Paul is that miserable. I don't want to flail about even more. I want to get him as stabilized as possible.


 
Posts: 33
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know you got a lot of advice, and I didn't read it all, but I feel compelled to add the following. In addition to most Americans being grossly deficient in magnesium, we are also seriously deficient in potassium. An adult needs 4700 milligrams every day. This is easy to get if you eat 8 oz of raw mixed greens, no processed meat or other food in packages and sugar, and if you eat all your broth. In the meantime you can easily make up the difference by buying stuff like "Lo Salt" which substitutes KCl for some to all of the NaCl depending on brand and adding it to your water at a 1/2 tsp per glass of water until you meet the requirement. Good luck.
 
Posts: 36
Location: Southwest UK, Maritime Temperate climate, Zone 9, AHS Heat Zone 1
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Jocelyn.
Thanks for keeping us all updated with Paul's condition. Vertebral disc prolapses are very common, and in the neck it is usually the lower ones that experience this, which is unsurprising considering how most people are head forward in front of screens these days. Fortunately, they are usually self-limiting (resolve themselves) if not too severe, but often reoccur because the root causes are not dealt with. However awful it seems at the moment, it is still early days and this is when it is at its worst.
By the way, the disc does not need to resorb for symptoms to resolve - conservative treatment can produce significant reduction in symptoms without any changes in MRI. There are also many people out there who have a serious looking bulge (on MRI) who have never had any symptoms at all, while some with excruciating pain may have a very minor bulge or even none at all! Severe loss of sensation or arm weakness are better indicators of severity, and is usually what surgeons will use to decide whether to perform surgery or not. As Marilyn said, surgery often leads to further surgery down the road, but obviously it is sometimes necessary (but not as often as the surgeons make out!)
You've already had plenty of advice from the lovely folks here, so the only thing I would add is to keep Paul's head and neck well supported and as comfortable as possible. What I said previously about a reduction in arm symptoms being a good indicator of improvement still stands, so any position that achieves this is good. This position will change over time though, so be aware of this.
Hope things start to get better ASAP. Stress is one of those things that seem to amplify the problem, so have a relaxing recovery
Mike.
 
Posts: 131
Location: Dugger, IN Zone 6a
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A lot of people have found healing from excruciating pain through Dr. John Sarno's mind-body techniques (get one of his books). Typically it affects people who, by nature, are perfectionists and/or people pleasers (both fine traits, BTW) as well as people with severe trauma/abuse in their past.

I know other people will read through these things looking for ideas and I thought I would throw it out there. It helped me resolve some chronic issues in an unimaginably short timeframe. There was a 20-20 episode on it a good while back too.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another bad night. My mind is riddled with things I need to get done and I can't do anything. Grants the real problem is the pain. But the inability to get stuff done is maddening.

I've been able to have short, 5 minute conversations once or twice a day with folks like Cassie, Adrien or Sharla. So some stuff is getting taken care of.

With my pain addled obsession I thought that if there was one thing I could ask ask of the masses, I narrowed it down to the spiffy project. It is such a simple thing that I think will have a massive impact for permaculture. Possibly bringing permaculture to 1000 times more brains than we have already. The framework is in place, folks just need to fill it out a bit. And it is super easy to fill out.


99% of people will need to have that something will work. I think this is the first I'm asking people trust me. If nothing else : try 100 things, twould will work out and you never know in advance which two.

I really think that the spiffy project will make permaculture a household word. But only if it gets implemented. And implementation is just a few dozen people each putting in a few dozen links.
 
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
372
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a link to Paul's explanation of spiffy

http://www.permies.com/t/51512/Social-Justice/spiffy-Save-Planet-Injecting-Friendly
 
Posts: 70
Location: Eastern Mass, western Montana
52
bike hugelkultur tiny house trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A little while back Jocelyn put up a post about the benefits of cold showers, I have found that getting into a steaming hot shower and then turning the temperature down a bit at a time until it's cold cold water has helped my back loosen up tremendously
 
pollinator
Posts: 1193
Location: RRV of da Nort
100
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul,

Enjoying the website as somewhat of an outsider, but have been following this thread. As someone raised within a family and sub-culture of western medical practice, I agree with those already who support managing your pain and taking the least invasive approach at this point and giving time its due diligence in helping with the healing.

Having searched the entries of the thread, I think I found only the original post mentioning meditation. Given my own family and cultural history, meditation was always placed in the realm of that "woo-woo" pseudo-science. Then, as a part of my health care plan and the enouragement of my health care provider, I decided to try it as part of an 8-week introductory course.....a "course" certainly not needed, but I did find a group meditation setting to be conducive to learning for a first timer in his 50s. I feel I can say it has provided quite a benefit to my life in terms of reduced catasrophizing and better prioritizing, all of which effect stress levels, judgement, and emotional/physical health. It seems that "mindful meditation" has become the catch-phrase for this type of meditation that is being promoted by our western health care industry, so if you are currently making visits to your local practitioner, there may be a chance to get more information about this. Nevertheless, two links are provided below, --the first, a video and the second, a forum site (Vipassana Meditation is the closest I found to what was introduced to me as mindfulness meditation).

Although many civilizations have had their technologies, I think some of the amazing things that have come out of western science cannot be ignored, much of which impacts the problem solving at Permies.com. But the east and many aboriginal cultures have excelled at certain health-related approaches that the west has been slow, or downright resistant, to adopt. Maybe something worth blending into your lifestyle in some way, shape, or form in the years ahead.




http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=5lfoku61srsuidscql2iehi6g1&page=2


On a side note, the SPIFFY project is indeed the way to go. A good example of this are the two guys running this website: http://www.estherthewonderpig.com/ ---Their premise being that you can be an animal rights activist that approaches the cause with anger or alternatively with something more life affirming. Just the other day I was talking to random check-out person at a store who was musing about getting a dog, was pondering about the breed, and then threw out that "Of course there are many in need of rescue....", to which I pounced with full encouragement of the latter. You could see the person brighten up at the encouragement..... a small thing, yes? But like the rain drops that fall and form a rivulet, that form a stream, that form a river, that flow to a large ocean, it's the grass-roots things that ultimately matter. To paraphrase the late P.D. James, "Everyone really at heart wants to be a valued member of team.....". People *want* to be involved, once you peel back the layers of negative conditioning, and want to be a part of a group doing good things.

Good luck and godspeed with the recovery.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 5270
Location: Missoula, MT
875
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mike Wong wrote:Hey Jocelyn.
Thanks for keeping us all updated with Paul's condition. Vertebral disc prolapses are very common, and in the neck it is usually the lower ones that experience this, which is unsurprising considering how most people are head forward in front of screens these days. Fortunately, they are usually self-limiting (resolve themselves) if not too severe, but often reoccur because the root causes are not dealt with. However awful it seems at the moment, it is still early days and this is when it is at its worst.
By the way, the disc does not need to resorb for symptoms to resolve - conservative treatment can produce significant reduction in symptoms without any changes in MRI. There are also many people out there who have a serious looking bulge (on MRI) who have never had any symptoms at all, while some with excruciating pain may have a very minor bulge or even none at all! Severe loss of sensation or arm weakness are better indicators of severity, and is usually what surgeons will use to decide whether to perform surgery or not. As Marilyn said, surgery often leads to further surgery down the road, but obviously it is sometimes necessary (but not as often as the surgeons make out!)
You've already had plenty of advice from the lovely folks here, so the only thing I would add is to keep Paul's head and neck well supported and as comfortable as possible. What I said previously about a reduction in arm symptoms being a good indicator of improvement still stands, so any position that achieves this is good. This position will change over time though, so be aware of this.
Hope things start to get better ASAP. Stress is one of those things that seem to amplify the problem, so have a relaxing recovery
Mike.



I found this extremely comforting and encouraging! Paul's had so much pain, and any reduction has seemed so fleeting and not consistent, that it's been difficult to imagine it resolving at all, let alone with time.

Stress levels have been high, and we are attempting to work on that. Humor is helping the most, which is not a natural thing for me (being the ultimate "straight man") though we're doing our best. Humorous audio books have really helped (I might have mentioned that before), as have simple, funny shows that Paul watches on his phone suspended above his face.

I'm reminded of a dear friend who's guy is gradually going blind from glaucoma. She tells him, "hey, you better be nice to me when you can't see, otherwise, I'll move the furniture around on you!" > Sick, twisted humor that is!

I'm thawing copious bone broths to use in soups, and started more in the crockpot this morning. Now back to my work for a bit. I'm almost done with my busiest time of the year. Whew!

Thanks again folks for all the suggestions! We'll be reading and re-reading as we get over a few more humps.




 
Mike Wong
Posts: 36
Location: Southwest UK, Maritime Temperate climate, Zone 9, AHS Heat Zone 1
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Glad to be of some help. You guys have given me plenty of inspiration over the last few years
Hope the stress situation gets better. Sending lots of healing thoughts.
Mike.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Em. Are. J. Smith,

Voice recognition software can be funny.

Could you please send your dads contact information to Jocelyn.

Right now Jocelyn plans to contact our spine doctor guy here in Missoula on Monday morning to ask if my meds might not be quite right.

It sounds like the current plan is to medicate and wait. That this could go away in a few weeks. At the same time have moments of excruciating pain that will last for 8 - 12 hours. My guess is that there was some miscommunication between different people about meds.

Our current doctor guy seems to be a big fan of sports. I think he works of sports analogy into nearly every sentence. So to him I'm just a giant fat hillbilly. So if I was a football star, he might have gone over my meds notes a little more thoroughly. But that's just a guess on my part.

When I go 8 hours in excruciating pain, I think I really should be in a hospital. On the other hand it seems like if the meds are set right I should be able to ride this out at home.

I really have to leave all of the details all of these things to Jocelyn. It's all so confusing and I just don't have the brain power for it right now now.

I do wonder if my meds were set right if I could get back to work on my projects.

Today is day 14 of crazy ass pain.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I did the MRI imma I barely fit into the vagina shaped contraption. It is possible that I am the most giant person to ever go into it. I kind of wanted to coax the operator to utter the words quote you are the best she has ever had quote.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There ever been a lot of things that have come up but I need to take care of that can only be done on my computer. I would like to think that I can get the meds right to be able to spend at least one hour sitting in front of my computer giving a few things done.

As is, I can only eat about four bites of an email that Jocelyn prepares because that's about the amount of time I can stand to be out of bed on my back.

I support of the Kickstarter a few years ago for something called right arm. This thing has been awesome. Without it I don't think I could write this message or watch Rick and Morty. It sort of holds my cell phone over my head while I lay on my back. Suddenly my cell phone is kind of like a big screen TV, but, you know, up close.
 
Posts: 81
Location: SE Asia.
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry to hear , and hope you're well soon!

All I have to add to the suggestions, which may have been said or may be irrelevant, is this... and please note, I'm not a medical expert, and I've only used this on much more minor things with a pain level around 4 ("My pain is not fucking around") or 5 at most:

When there are muscle spasms, we often think we should stretch them out. Avoid this as it can make things worse, but tensing the muscles (for 30 seconds) then relaxing can be helpful for spasms. But ignore that if it contradicts an expert's advice.
 
pollinator
Posts: 132
Location: Basque Country, Spain-42N lat-Köppen Cfb-Zone8b-1035mm/41" rain: 118mm/5" Dec., 48mm/2" July
27
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, just thought since a picture is worth 1000 words I'd send along a photo of the homemade neck-stretching contraption I tried to describe in my first post way back on page one. Said contraption has been such a hit with the former sufferer that it is still used off and on almost 20 years after the "incident." (From what I'm reading, pretty much identical to what's happening to Paul btw.) If a doctor/PT approves, I'd get one of these contraptions set up right away.

Neurologist when saw the MRI way back when could not believe the patient was able to stand, move or function at all, with a vertebra way out of whack and pinching a nerve, with all the symptoms you're describing. Cause was probably as Mike and Jocelyn you have described, too much head-forward position computer use for hours and hours on end, you know the drill by now! But it DID get better, to the amazement of the neurologist, with good PT, home exercises and no surgery. It started getting better immediately and only once the PT sessions and home exercises started. Still took weeks to go away but it did, and in the meantime, there were things that brought lots of relief compared to the indescribably excruciating and world-swallowing pain that was felt beforehand.

I know that at this moment really the only thing Paul and you can focus on, of course, is stopping the pain. So just to recap the things that helped someone in this same situation years ago, who I've just consulted with about what really worked:

HELPED:

1. A good physical therapist
2. At the PTs: Being stretched on a thing like "the rack," medieval style
3. At the PTs: A kind of inflatable collar that stretched the neck out
4. Everything else the PT did
5. At home: The above-mentioned and below-pictured contraption for gentle neck traction
6. At home: A series of neck movement exercises the PT assigned
7. At home: A series of upper body movements assigned
8. At home: A series of 3 floor exercises assigned, actually designed for lower back pain sufferers, but still helped to the trick of getting the whole spine back in whack.
9. Long, hot showers
10. Constant massage
11. Codeine to an extent -- sufferer reports "just made me so high and la-la I couldn't feel anything"

DID NOT HELP MUCH:

1. Loads of visits to the chiropractor (sorry, no prejudice at all, it's just what happened)
2. Emergency room doctors
3. Regular doctors
4. Actually, the neurologist, except in his ability to prescribe PT and codeine
5. Almost any kind of pain reliever (codeine as described was a mixed blessing)
6. Fretting

I will PM you (Jocelyn) some diagrams of the above exercises that were prescribed by the PT and that helped a lot to reduce pain. I would post but I'm unsure about copyright status.

Maybe try to find a medical expert that is PT-friendly and not scalpel-happy and run the exercises by them to see if they seem right for your sitch and if so, maybe they're worth a try. Certainly worked in our case.

Also a random opinion: If you can find a great practitioner of anything in your area who a close friend says has provided them relief from really intense neck pain of this sort, it's probably worth a try. I had sciatica a few years back and had no real luck with 1.5 years at the osteopath. Two kick-ass sessions from a truly great practitioner of "bio-spinology," which I haven't heard of before or since, completely solved the problem. Go figure. So keep your ears peeled for great local anythings, I say.
IMG_1775.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1775.JPG]
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
Posts: 13
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:I support of the Kickstarter a few years ago for something called right arm. This thing has been awesome. Without it I don't think I could write this message or watch Rick and Morty. It sort of holds my cell phone over my head while I lay on my back.


Cool. I was wondering how you were doing that.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 5270
Location: Missoula, MT
875
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur purity
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's today's update. We think we know why Paul was doing worse (at times) over the weekend - it was a medication thing.

So, we'll see how the current plan works after getting these things ironed out a bit better. The lack of sleep has been almost as brutal as the pain. Paul slept a bit better last night, even without the meds as they should have been, so we'll see how things go from here.

The next step the doctor wants Paul to try is a steroid injection directly in the neck. This is done at a surgical center due to the delicacy of such a procedure. We don't have a date yet, though have been told it will be 2 or more weeks before they can fit him in.

In a perfect world, we'd get Paul's pain managed, take up other therapies with gusto (PT, stretching, healing food, healthy supplements, stress/mind-body work, etc.) and the disk bulge is resorbed in 2 weeks, cancelling the steroid injection and removing any thoughts of surgery.

I'm wanting that perfect world scene. As Paul likes to say "it's okay to want things. Want away!"
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 516
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jocelyn and Paul,

I have bulged discs at C4-5, 5-6 and 6-7, with severe stenosis at C5-6 (but for some reason, the mri still shows a strong signal, so I will take what I can get). I find that sleeping in a semi-soft neck brace helps to keep me from accidentally pinching something (I do not wear a brace during the day, unless I am very fatigued, so my neck muscles don't atrophy). I also find that sleeping position makes a huge difference. Sometimes being off by only a fraction of an inch, especially with head and neck angle, can make the difference between feeling o.k. or miserable the next day.

When my arm starts hurting bad, I put on a wrist brace to keep it stable. It usually helps. My theory is that there is some sort of feedback between the stenosis and an old wrist injury. Irritate one and the other flares up. I had to alter the pt for my wrist because of that phenomenon.
 
Posts: 32
Location: Tacoma, Wa
1
hugelkultur purity wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the updates Jocelyn!
I was really hoping to hear things were getting better for Paul. Hopefully it gets better from here.
Justin
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26089
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is exactly what I have to do. I have now been limited to precisely to sleeping positions. One that makes my arm feel better but I have a really hard time sleeping. The other is where my arm hurts a lot but where I can sleep good.

I wore the neck brace about 6 days straight. That seemed to help in a lot of ways. I think I'm going to do what you do: where the neck brace at night and don't wear the neck brace during the day.

I'm forcing myself to get up and walk around the house about 3 times a day. I can stand it for about 2 or 3 minutes. If I'm doing good I can do 5 minutes. I can't even sit up for 3 minutes. And I can eat four bites and then I have to lie down again for a while until I can set up a date for more bites.

An upside is is that I have managed to quit coffee. What's the point of drinking coffee if you're not going to be productive anyway?

Along those lines, I'm exploring the idea of eating dairy again. I avoid dairy because it reduces my productivity. Jocelyn working hard to make sure that anything I eat is a low inflammatory food. There seems to be mixed information about dairy and inflammation. I'm hoping to bring cream cheese back into my life.

Mostly I'm just leaving all of this stuff to Jocelyn. I just don't seem to have the brain power you really figure it out. And I can only get little bits of work done in little spurts through the day.
 
Posts: 89
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
11
bike forest garden urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chiropractor, aerial yoga (yes, even Paul can do this...and it is awesome if you can find a good studio) and this thing: http://www.pressurepointer.com/
PressurePointerMain.jpg
[Thumbnail for PressurePointerMain.jpg]
Pressure pointer
 
Posts: 33
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
piles upon piles of comments so i'ma try to be brief:

PHYSICAL THERAPY

and don't go short term. this took years to build up. it could take a while to get better.

but like growing, don't just address the specific problem, heal the soil.

personally, i collapsed on the ground and could barely move without pain. eventually it subsided. saw a chiro. got massage. helped but didn't fix.

realized that chiro/massage/doctor just fixes the (current) symptom. PT gets into the whole mechanism and all that. or PT + yoga. or PT + whatever. keep thinking & experimenting.

oh and for what it's worth, i'm 6'1" and like 170 so, well, weight wasn't the issue.

lastly, certainly don't work at a computer _only_ sitting. keep moving.. i like working to dance music
 
pollinator
Posts: 300
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I second turmeric -it is an amazing painkiller, but you have to take enough - I took heaping teaspoon of powder in a bit of water every few hours, and it helped with some serious pain. Also 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar with mother in a glass of water with some honey for taste - kicks pain pretty good too.
My best wishes.
 
Posts: 107
Location: eastern panhandle of W.V.
10
books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have you heard of Rolfing? Hellerwork?
Ice and painkillers for a day or three while you get the inflammation down is a good idea if you get a doc recommending it. Then....
Finding a good structural body worker might help. When I have people in so much pain they can't move I find the affected nerves and follow them from the spine to the periphery of the body and start working the musculature there. By the time I get to the spine things have usually loosened to the point that movement with much less pain is possible. So for the cervical spine I would generally start in the hands and arms, forearms especially, ive found, to influence the upper ribs and shoulders. Pectoral or chest muscles to influence the upper back and sometimes the neck. Latisimus dorsi if there is pain lifting arms up and over the head, or mid to low back / rib pain. I find if I can create some space in an area not so inflamed it helps the stuff closer to the spine on that nerve to relax.
So now that I've said all of this- go easy and stay away from the neck and spine- let the pros handle that. And don't hammer at things for hours Little bits at a time, and then ice where you have worked.

My teacher is this guy http://www.capstonemethod.com/ he has some you tube videos up, check them out. maybe it will at least give you some alternative ideas for therapy. I've seen this type of bodywork work miracles. An osteopathic doc who does manual manipulations could also help a lot and be covered by insurance. Exploring the emotional connections to the throat chakra may be of use as well??? Wish I could be there to help out. Good luck!
 
            
Posts: 4
Location: United States
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

This will work
You can do it yourself or with others.
I have to blown knees and 4 blown discs.
I have had no 'real' problems since I found this.

Like I said I use it on myself , others my animals

It is called REIKI on steroids

http://www.quantumtouch.com/index.php?lang=en

this is the basic book
http://www.quantumtouch.com/images/Free/powertohealsample.pdf

Best to you

J

 
Posts: 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dear Paul,

Dr Eric Goodman is a spine specialist that has been interviewed by Dr. Mercola and many others. He is a doctor to professional athletes etc.
He says EVERY spine problems starts at the Foundation of our spine, our pelvis and stacks from there. Our head and neck are the last to balance.
Work on the foundation and the rest falls into place. Here are two Youtube searches to get the Foundation excersice. It works!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dr+eric+goodman+foundation+exercises
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dr+eric+goodman+

God bless you!
 
Posts: 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Update? Sorry to hear you're feeling broken. I thought of Mullien root, not a common remedy, but has some precedence: http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html
Specifically for back pain and misalignment. I don't know if mullien is common in Missoula though. Also advise the chiropractor. Anyways, hope you're up and around soon.
 
Posts: 4
Location: Northern California
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh I know this pain. My sympathies.

The most awesome way I have found to treat this kind of pain or any of my injuries or swelling etc. is with earthing or grounding. As we speak I have a patch stuck to my knee. I injured it recently tromping through a deluge of rain in heavy boots where I failed to keep my footing on the mud and rocks. https://www.earthing.com/active-recovery/patches.html?___SID=U The earthing patches are the most inexpensive way to go I think. You can use them over and over. When they don't stick anymore just tape them on. I have a sheet too so I wrap my recently injured part in that also.

Last year I had a log roll out of my wood stove and as I jumped out of the way I leaned a hand heavily on the 400 degree door. Smelling singed flesh I continued to the freezer to grab a round can of frozen juice. About 20 minutes later I opened my hand and could see huge blisters on red flesh. I then took an earthing sheet, plugged it into the ground of my electrical out let, and wrapped it around my hand and the still cold juice can. Ten minute later I unwrapped my hand and the blisters were gone!! Since I could feel them coming back without contact with the grounding sheet I wrapped it up again. I did that few more times then stuck the juice back in the freezer and cut a bit of aloe for good measure and slathered it on my hand and put the sheet back on my bed. So within an hour except for a slight tenderness it was as though it never happened. Pretty amazing! Who'd a thought, connect with mother earth and she will literally heal me.

Of course you could do like a guy in Alaska and scrape the snow and ice off the ground and lie directly on the earth. That's free. The patches are more comfortable I think.

There is also a lovely homeopathic ointment called Inflamyar by BioResource Inc. Cotati, CA, that works nicely and even better with earthing.
 
Jon Stoski
Posts: 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oops, sorry, I thought it was weird that the last post was six days ago. I need to learn how to switch pages, <next> will probably clear that up for me. <embarrassed>
I'm not sure why, I'm not able to edit my own post either.
 
Posts: 2306
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
107
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Get/Build one of the standing computer desk, preferable adjustable that way you can adjust it to each person that uses it and you don't have to be forced in a uncomfortable position all day.
 
Posts: 37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've seen a lot of good advice here, but I admit there was so much I couldn't read it all. Joseph Lofthouse gave some of the best advice that I read here, from my experience he is spot on, but there is still a big missing piece...

  • Mineral Supplements - This is necessary because you cannot get enough from your food.


  • And to echo the other advice I've seen already...

  • Reduce the weight! You won't be healthy unless you do. A good mineral supplement will help you achieve this. It causes you to not be so hungry making it easy to eat less and fast.
  • Yoga - Take a class to learn what your body needs to fix itself, then you can reduce the time you give to it to what you need to get the job done. But that will be down the road when you are feeling good enough to do the yoga...this is a long term prevention and cure for many physical ailments.
  • Reduce all carbs, not just wheat...which really is a bigger problem than people want to admit, but rice, potatoes and SUGARS


  • MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
    I highly recommend Youngevity's Tangy Tangerine Products. They taste good and are derived from natural chelated mineral sources. This one mineral and vitamin supplement has made a huge difference in the health of our entire family.


     
    When people don’t understand what you are doing they call you crazy. But this tiny ad just doesn't care:
    Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
    https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!