Tag Archives: back pain

Neck and Back Pain 101

I felt guilty for years after my four-surgeries-within-two-years for having constant pain. I thought I was supposed to be “fixed”. Yes, I was a nurse, but I was clueless about neurosurgery. I was a cardiology nurse. If I’d had a heart attack I’d have been giving my cardiologist suggestions during my stent placement. Seriously, I would have.

But I was nearly as uneducated as a non-medical person since it had been more than twenty years since I’d studied neuro-anything. So I trusted my docs. #mistakeĀ  Always ask for a second opinion for any surgery unless it’s an emergency. Here’s why:

This is an example of a ball the weight of an adult head held in place with a normal cervical (neck) curvature. Reach back right now and feel how much your neck curves between your shoulders and skull when you are looking straight ahead. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

That’s quite a curve, isn’t it? Kinda like this:

Not a perfect example, but probably accurate if you’re looking up at a kiddo on a swing. With a normal cervical spine. Not hard to hold that ball, right? A bit lighter than the lightest kids’ bowling ball. Move your hand around a bit and you could hold it in your hand all day, right? Especially if it’s permanently attached to your palm.

But here’s what it looks like when you have three vertebrae fused together with enough hardware to make an X-ray tech say, “Oh, wow!” (C4-C6, for me)

Do you see how difficult it is for me to even sit upright? Want me to walk and hold my neck like this with increases in pressure each time I take a step?

Consider this the next time someone tells you they have back or neck pain. I now have moderate scoliosis because the rest of my spine is trying to compensate for the rigidity of my neck.

What are the other co-morbidities of constant, chronic pain? Depression. Opiate use/addiction (I’ll address this in a later post), Isolation, Increased risk of suicide, Obesity (who can exercise?), and many other illnesses.

*HUGE thank-you to my chiropractor for the visual a couple of years ago, and for his staff member for posing for the pics last week! A picture truly IS worth a thousand words in this situation.*

A Basket Full of Rowdy ~ Feel Good Friday

1.) This is one of the five things that make me happy today. My nephew dog Rowdy is visiting for the weekend, and this is what Aaron found when he reached into his laundry basket for clothes to wear to school this morning. That will teach him to put his laundry away, huh?
2.) My kiddos are officially on Spring Break, and I’m taking some time off from work as well. I’m looking forward to staying up late and sleeping in for the next few days.
3.) The weather is beautiful and everything’s blooming all at once. The winter I thought would never end is finally over!
4.) I had to kiss a lot of frogs, but at last I’ve found my prince in the “relief from neck pain” department. I’m looking forward to my next appointment and the trigger point injections or epidural injection that will keep me moving in the right direction.
5.) I got my grocery shopping done this afternoon before the mad rush of pre-Easter shoppers got there, so I’m ready to cook up a storm.
What made you happy this week? Drop by Feel Good Friday at The Girl Next Door Grows Up and share!

St. Gemma Galgani ~ Saints and Scriptures Sunday

St. Gemma is the patron saint of back pain and spinal illnesses, pharmacists, orphans, and those struggling with temptation and seeking purity of heart. She lived at the end of the nineteenth century and was miraculously cured of an spinal illness that had left her bedridden. She then joined a religious order. The religious order was hesitant to accept her because of her previous health problems, so she had to prove her recovery was complete by going without even her back brace only two months after she was so ill she was given Last Rites.

When I was going through RCIA (the process through which an adult converts to Catholicism) one of the questions people asked me most frequently was “So, what’s with the whole praying to a saint thing?” The best explanation I heard was from one of our RCIA speakers who described it as calling a friend who was a very devout Christian and asking them to pray for you. The Saints are all of our friends, and we can call on them at any time and ask for their prayers for a specific issue that they understood well during their mortal life. I figure I need all the friends praying for me I can get right now, so I’m gonna call my girlfriend Gemma. Drop by and visit Dianna today for Saints and Scripture Sunday – it’s good for the soul!

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