Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A medical mystery unraveled

For years, I've suffered from neck and back pain, cramps and muscle spasms. Massage therapists have noted how hard my muscles get. That, of course, is because I'm such a musclebound stud (in a fat, non-muscular kind of way).

Recently, I've again been having neck and shoulder pain, and Marc finally talked me into going to see a doctor. The doctor sent me for x-rays which I had done in my hospital's radiology department today. Since I work there, they had a radiologist look at the x-rays and provide a report right away. Normally, the radiologist just reports to the referring doctor, but, under the circumstances, he was nice enough to tell me his findings directly.

Radiologist: So you've been having some neck pain?

Me: Yes, for a while, so I decided to finally have it checked out.

Radiologist: [Indicating screen where x-rays were] Well, that'll do it.

He then proceeded to show me my x-rays and a "normal" x-ray of a cervical spine, so I could see the difference.

Apparently, despite my having pretty normal "range of motion" in my neck, I've been working with some hidden challenges. It seems that I was born with some problems in my spinal column that no one has detected until now.

Specifically, quoting from doctor's report, "fusion of the C2 and C3 vertebrae . . . fusion of the C4 and C5 vertebrae . . . [and there] may also be a small area of fusion between the C3 and C4 vertebrae." All of these issues have existed from birth.

In other words, a number of the bones in my neck and upper back that should move independently of each other are instead, in essence, welded together.

Fortunately, there's nothing life-threatening or even crippling in any of this, but it does mean that the pain I've lived with for so many years is likely to go on and can only be treated, not fully resolved. He also said that there's a good chance that there are disc herniations, but they can only tell that with an MRI. Even if there are herniations, it doesn't mean we necessarily need to do anything about them just now.

In a way, I'm glad to have these results. Yes, something that could be resolved simply would be better, but at least I now know why I've had so many painful problems. Hey, if not for this, maybe I would have been a star athlete! :)

Most importantly, this news makes for good blog fodder, and what could be more important than that?


Lee said...

Hello Muddah, hello Fodder,
here I am at Camp Granada...

OOPS! Sorry! Channeling Allen Sherman there for a sec.

Sorry to hear of yer...::ahem::...pain in the neck but glad you found out what it is and it's on the minor side.

Another blogger (Chase at http://chase.inthebasement.us/)had a bad neck and skull problem to deal with last year.

CoffeeDog said...

, I had a herniated disc a few years ago, never felt pain like that in my entire life. I was lucky and it was treated with one epidural and poof I was healed. When you have fused verts, not much can be done. Meds, lots of pain meds and massages!

Wayne said...

Aiyo, at least you know what caused the pain.
My spin, is also not normal. I went to a doc about 2 years ago, and he was like.."uh, did you know that your spin curves down toward your left side?" I was like..."Huh? I'm a mermaid?"

Eric said...

Sign number one that you blog too much: you instantly take any life event and ponder how you'll blog it. :-)
Glad you finally got some answers. That's always a good way forward.

Greg said...

You know, I think it's better to finally understand what's causing the problem, even if you can't really do anything about it. Not knowing causes even more problems and frustration.

about a boy said...

doctors diagnosis are great blog fodder!

plus its great knowing what exactly is wrong with you. even if its not such great news.

my thoughts are with you.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Hope you get it all squared away! That way you can blog about that gymnastics championship and that kinda fodder...

MzOuiser said...

Ah... so that's the culprit. My Mom has that. Get the MRI - it's good to know the whole picture.

And, as coffeedog says, massages are great for symptomatic relief!