Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What a pain in the neck!!

Literally.   :)  So last Thursday, I went horseback riding like I normally do.  The horse was distracted but never spooked or anything and it was certainly not a particularly hard ride.  After I was done, I did a few barn chores then came home, showered and was doing some cleaning up when my neck started to hurt.  Being sore after not riding for a few weeks is pretty normal so I didn't think anything of it but by the time I went to bed, the pain was pretty bad.  The next day I went into church to do my work and all day it hurt to turn my head, look up or anything like that and I began to suspect I had a herniated disc.  I didn't sleep well Thursday night and Friday night was the same so Saturday I went off to the doctors.  She suspected a herniated disc as well and gave me a prescription for an X-ray (to rule out anything else), Flexoril, Vicodin and Naproxin Sodium (prescription strength Aleve).  I had the X-ray Monday and all was clear so now she wants me to see a spine specialist and to have an MRI done.  So I did some more research.

What I found is that only 10% of herniated disc patients need surgery and the majority heal on their own in 6 weeks or so.  Most by 12 weeks are fine.  So why was I going to a specialist and having an expensive MRI when we were pretty sure what it was, I was beginning to feel better (only took the meds one day but did some other things that I'll mention in a bit) and I have some medical resources in good friends of mine? I told my husband I think the course I want to take is to take it easy, continue to ice my neck a few times a day, take the anti-inflamatory, no heavy lifting and sleeping with a body pillow and see if that will do the trick.  We have a high deductible insurance plan so we'd have to pay out the cost of all the doctors/tests.  I'd rather save that money for something REALLY important.  I then put in a Facebook message to a friend of mine who is a physical therapist (and professor and author) and asked her what she thought.  She agreed that I could absolutely do what I wanted to do but she did want to see me to be sure that there was no "gap" in the vertebrae and she can do that manually.  She said she'd like to see the disc settle down a bit so there's less inflamation and then she'd see me (should be about a week and a half when I see her).  So that's the plan I'm going to take.  The other thing she told me is to "get my head off my neck" three times a day.  That means lay down so that I can take the pressure of a heavy head off the affected disc.  OK - So I'll lay down 3 times a day with ice on my neck.  I can do that.  :)

So that's where I stand now.  It's not terrible but still not fun.  When it first happened, the shooting pain was intolerable but now it's kind of a dull burning sensation although today I can add a headache into the mix.  NOT fun.  I've been planted on my couch in between doing things I need to do and I can say I'm getting a lot of reading done!  LOL

I hope all is well with everyone else.  I can't believe it's September already - especially since it's in the high 90s here in NY.  But soon enough, the cool weather will hit and we'll be enjoying cider, warm pies, sweaters and fires in the fireplace.  I can't wait!

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