Tag Archives: chiropractor

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. #mistake  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.*

The Feel-Good Week

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— 1 —

My new chiropractor is spectacular. His office runs like a well-oiled machine, everyone there is kind and sincere, and I’ve made incredible progress in just four visits. The stretches and strengthening exercises he recommended loosen my muscles up enough that some days I can actually do something productive before noon. Sadly, that’s a huge improvement.

— 2 —

John is working and hanging out with friends, staying up late and sleeping late. A movie theater job if perfect for my night owl. He’s got another LAN party coming up on a nearby college campus, and I’d love to host another one here this summer as well.

— 3 —

Things are finally falling into place for Michael at work. There have been a lot of small but incredibly annoying issues he’s had to deal with the past year or so, but the nice guys evidently don’t always finish last, because he’s now much more satisfied with his job, and under less stress. I wish he didn’t have to work six days a week, but I suspect that won’t change until SSI finally agrees with all my doctors that I cannot work and my condition will only deteriorate as time passes (as they’ve been documenting since 2012). Then and only then will I be able to receive disability benefits, which will include not only financial help, but access to facilities and treatments I can’t get otherwise.

— 4 —

We added my grandmother’s kitchen table and chairs to our house, which necessitated moving a few pieces of furniture. Really, just a few. But the dogs are not happy about the new furniture placement. We’re working on it. Goodness knows it’s all about keeping the dogs happy!

— 5 —

I’m really excited about Nerium’s latest announcements, one of which gives any new Brand Partners who sign up in June a chance to earn an all-expense paid trip to a resort in Mexico next summer! If you’ve even casually considered owning your own small business that you can put as much or as little time into as you like, that you can run from your phone (literally) and that provides not only financial freedom, but time freedom to do what you like when you like – this is it. Call me. It’s also perfect for Homeschooling families with at least one child doing middle-school level work in Math. The kids can learn Business skills, Marketing, Accounting, Public Speaking, Communications, and how to work together as a team in a real business.  And at age 18 they can sign up as a Brand Partner on their own. How great would owning your own business look on a college application? And lessons learned while working as a part of the family business would make for a compelling college entrance essay! Plus, instead of paying for a curriculum on these topics you actually make money. I’d love to help some homeschooling parents set this up, with a goal of creating a Private FB Group exclusively for Homeschooling Nerium families.

— 6 —

I’ve been fighting my first UTI in a decade this week. Yes, I know that’s oversharing, but I do have a reason for bringing it up. After being on broad-spectrum high-dose antibiotics both by mouth and via IV for an entire month between my third and fourth cervical disc surgeries I will do nearly anything to avoid antibiotics in general. Some situations make them necessary, but if I can avoid them I will. I tried cranberry juice, but a gallon later I was still fairly miserable. So I did some Pinterest research. Yeah, I know, not usually the best place to look for medical information. But I found a winner! Alka-seltzer. I sipped it very slowly because of my gastric sleeve, but evidently the Sodium Bicarbonate was enough to make the pH in my urinary tract more basic, and just two doses fixed me right up. Props to Pinterest!

— 7 —

Finally returning to babysitting tonight. I have missed those two sweet boys so much! I can’t wait to squeeze the stuffings out of them and hear all about their beach adventures from their GiGi. Team babysitting is the best 🙂

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The Good, the Bad, and the Yummy

— 1 —

Last Saturday I went to reconciliation.  I hadn’t been in years.  My sins were so trivial I figured God and I could work it all out between us in prayer.  But this sin was a big one, probably the biggest unless you happen to be a serial killer.  So I really felt a need to talk through it with a priest.  I wanted the comfort of church, but I didn’t feel right taking communion with this darkness on my soul.  So I did it, face-to-face with a priest I’d never met and a purse stuffed with handkerchiefs.  It was a wonderful experience.  One of the many insights I took away from my time in the confessional was a suggestion from the priest to “not waste my pain” – to try to help others who may be going through the same experience.  I took that to heart and was very active in my Intense Outpatient Therapy, which was in a group setting.  I’m also planning on attending a Chronic Pain Support Group once a month and meeting with a couple of other women I met in therapy to continue working on issues specific to us.  And, of course, I’m sharing on my blog.  If I can help just one person who is dealing with depression and/or chronic pain it’s worth it.

— 2 —

My outpatient group therapy is finished, and I have the first of many meetings with my personal therapist scheduled early next week.  The group dynamic was much more helpful than I ever would have imagined, but I’m looking forward to dedicating some time to learning to accept myself the way I am.

— 3 —

I got the most wonderful text from my daughter-in-law on Valentine’s Day.  She said, “He’s an awesome husband. Thanks for raising such a great man :)”  How’s that for a big ol’ stamp of approval on my parenting skills (and Michael’s of course!)?  That’s one of the goals all boy-moms are working toward.

— 4 —

I got a letter from a new company that will be handling my Medical Leave of Absence (and, therefore, my right to continue purchasing insurance for myself and my family through my last employer).  So that makes three, yes three, different entities that I have to contact every time I see a doctor, change a medication, or have a test or treatment.  And, of course, they all want documentation, which they are apt to lose at least once no matter what method I use to send it. *sigh*

— 5 —

I went to my chiropractor for a regularly scheduled check and adjustment, and not only was my herniated disc space back out of alignment, but x-rays showed I’d messed up C1-C2 as well (probably during the whole CPR-EMS-ER episode) which leaves me with only one cervical disc space I haven’t messed up yet.  I’m seeing my neurosurgeon this coming week as well, just to prove to all interested parties (see above) that I am not a surgical candidate.

— 6 —

I DVRd all the Olympic coverage and fast-forwarded through everything else just so I wouldn’t miss a minute of ice-dancing.  It cracks my husband up.  I’m like my mom watching a UK basketball game.  I know every pair, their strengths and weaknesses, their past performances.  I critique the costumes mercilessly, and call a less-than-perfect twizzle before the announcers.  I’m already looking forward to the 2018 games 🙂

— 7 —

I have a new favorite snack.  My friend MaryJo sent me a sweet card in the mail along with a package of these:
chocolate
I can’t even describe how wonderful they are!  And as a bonus, I don’t even have to share them! “Dark chocolate!” I announced.  “Yuck,” mumbled John.  “And pomegranate!” I squealed, ripping open the package.  “Ick,” said Michael.  Oh, yeah.  All. Mine.  Thanks, MJ!!

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