neck-in-plane

A Slip Disc – And not at the Lower Back (Part 1)

I have a slip disc. And now, I’m scheduled to go for an op to remove the disc because it’s touching my nerve and it risks touching my spinal cord.

I thought I’ll put into words what happened, and do some reflection, and along the way, hopefully tell you a thing or two about posture. #NotSponsored #PublicService

That day, I woke up with a very bad muscle ache on my shoulder. It felt like a wrong turn on the pillow, or simply waking up on a wrong angle. It just happened. Possibly I did something at the gym… or The pain lasted a few days. I decided to put on some Salonpas and I must say it did bring some temporary relief. I mean the heat really distracted me from the pain! But like I said, it was temporal. By the end of week 2, I was developing low grade fever and was honestly tired of trying Salonpas, Tiger Balm, Panaflex.

I remember it was late afternoon, that I decided enough was enough, I will walk into a clinic and see a GP and just get some medical help. The doctor saw me, told me my shoulder looked really swollen, and I would need Arcoxia (a strong anti-inflammation painkiller for muscle pain relief) and Paracetemol to help with the fever. Alas, 5 days passed and the pain was still there.

Many well meaning friends advised me to seek TCM help. By then, my left arm was starting to hurt, and it was spreading down to my wrist. The pain was a very very dull pain… I told everyone, it’s like the same pain you get after taking the Hepatitis Jab. Deep, dull pain.

So that Sat, I went to a TCM doctor. Surprise Surprise, he was a bone-setter! He cracked bones (think CRACK left, CRACK right) and it did bring relief, but only for 10 min. My husband has a frozen shoulder, and it brought relief for nearly a week! I think my problem just wasn’t something cracking would help! On Monday, I went to another TCM. This one did deep tissue massage and nerve massage using a thin metal rod. It was very good, brought relief. He was gentle and very sensitive to the parts that were hurting. Alas, this lasted about an hour.

That evening, I messaged a doctor friend and told him every symptom I was experiencing. I wanted to see a specialist, but I’m not sure who! Do I see an Orthopedic? Or a Sports Medicine Doctor? Or a Neurologist? He recommended a Neurologist. I made an appointment for the next day and that’s the beginning of the end of this journey!

He ordered an MRI straightaway just to rule out anything serious in the nerves. And there it was, a very obvious slipped disc at C6. That’s upper neck, not the usual lower back position. And we found out there’s a weakness in my left arm, caused by the nerve compression.

The doctor told me, it’s not an absolute must to have the Op now, but the disc may slip further tomorrow, next month, 6 months time or next Christmas. There was no way of knowing when it would slip more and touch the spinal cord. So I went for a 2nd and 3rd opinion. (I really wanted some assurance if going for the Op is the way!) And surprise surprise… the two Orthopedic surgeons both said my Slip Disc is not serious, but it is moderate. Removal would be the way to go, or I would have to endure the pain on my arm. In fact, the last doctor even said, “Go for the op now, when you are walking in the clinic… or would you prefer your husband to wheel you in, via the wheelchair, when you are paralysed from neck down?”

And so I’m going for my Op on 4 Jan, and I can’t really type more, even though I started out wanting to. You see, I’ve to lie down after about half a day. I can’t look down to button my shirt and I can’t look up to see the clouds too. The Op is short: 1.5 hours, and if you are game, here’s what they will do: (Just watch the first 4 min… the 2nd part is unrelated!)

I’ll tell you more after the op.. the why and how it happened… leaving you with one of the latest picture I took of myself when we went Bangkok after Christmas. (the last doctor said, be careful the disc may slip further during air turbulence!!) I told some friends I look so pathetic for a short Bangkok flight! 

neck-in-plane

 

Follow me to find out how the op went, and how did I even get that disc to slip!