It’s Radical, It’s Radiculopathy! Oh freakin joy.

Yesterday I spent my morning in my doctor’s office.  Because I still can’t feel my middle finger and because of the type of work that I do, I really need to use it, and often.

flipping the bird

In all seriousness, it’s quite hard to type without the use of your dominate hand and especially one of your fingers and mine is still numb, so since urgent care didn’t help at all, I scheduled an appointment to visit my regular doctor.

I was also concerned because the pain is radiating down from my neck into my arm through my elbow and winding up in my hand so I knew it was originating from my spine and I have a lot of issues there.  But the final straw was that shortness of breath thing that I mentioned last week, it just wasn’t going away so I made the appointment and yesterday was that day hence my disappearance.

what happened

Well, you might have to.

The doctor pulled out my MRI’s from last July of my Cervical and Lumbar spine and she said that she didn’t feel it was necessary to have additional ones since the x-ray of my hand showed that it wasn’t broken.  She said that I have degenerative disc disease and moderate canal stenosis with severe narrowing and there are some bony areas, there is a medical term for the bony areas but I don’t remember it, osteophyte complex maybe?  Anyhow, she says I have Cervical Radiculopathy and in this case, it was probably caused by the heavy lifting and I have most likely herniated one of the bulging disc which has pinched the already narrowed nerve.

Son of a pinch

I feel your pain kid!

She did say that considering all the things on my MRI, (which by the way I was horrified by) she didn’t think it was all that bad and she thought that I just needed to work on my strength training and with the proper rest, and care, there should be no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get back to 100 percent.  Not that my spine will be 100 percent healthy but she said I could run again.

She was concerned by the shortness of breath and ordered a chest x-ray which I do not have the results of yet.  I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t somehow connected to the nerves in my neck.  The more I read about Cervical Radiculopathy it sort of makes a little sense.  In any event, I tend to be a bit more proactive than most when it comes to my health since I don’t entirely trust the healthcare system so I tried to go ahead and schedule some appointments with the physical therapist.

So I called up the therapist office and spoke with the receptionist and told her the diagnosis and told her what I was hoping to achieve through therapy and then she asked me if I had a prescription from my doctor for therapy and I said no but my insurance doesn’t require me to get a referral to see a specialist, can’t I just make an appointment?

um no

Dammit!

I called the doctor’s office back but since I have a follow up in two weeks they will discuss the next course of treatment with me then.  So, if you’re wondering what they did for me, they took a chest x-ray, looked at last year’s mri’s and since I have stomach issues and cannot take nsaids or high doses of inflammatory medications, they put me on a 6 day course of steroids.  Of course that comes with a whole set of other issues which we won’t go into because that would be another book but the doctor says the steroids should cause the inflammation to go down which will cause the pain to go away and then we can go from there.  (Do I sound irritated?  It’s more frustration.)

I’m more proactive so I guess I’m a little frustrated but I realize that I can’t really do anything until the inflammation goes down.  I do get that, it’s just super super frustrating.  So, in order to satisfy my need to do something, I’m looking into anti-inflammatory foods that I can eat to hurry this thing along.  So, that’s the long and the long of it.

The good news is, if there is any, is that the part of my spine that is affected is mainly affecting my shoulders, right arm and right hand.  Barring my right hip, my legs are good to go and I can fix the right hip with some conditioning and strength training!  See, I can always find the bright side, right?

Any runners out there with neck and back problems? 

Anyone out there with spinal stenosis?

How about Cervical Radiculopathy? 

Advice?  Should I see an Orthopedist?  Or is it too early?