At the beginning of August while walking through the woods at my family’s cabin I felt this sharp pain at the back of my neck that was so painful that I thought I was going to throw up. I thought it was a pinched nerve. However, two weeks later the pain did not go away. It started to come and go, but at times the pain was so bad during the day at times that I couldn’t think.
So I finally went to the doctor and got some X-rays a couple of weeks later. Apparently I had some wear and tear on my C3-C6 vertebrae and was sent to physical therapy: massage, chiropractic, and some exercises. I was starting to get better but that place suddenly closed down, so I went to another physical therapist that just did exercises. The hope was that by strengthening my back and neck muscles, the problem would correct itself. However, it got worse. I found myself unable to use my drawing board because it was too painful. I haven’t really drawn anything in weeks. I also could not sit at my desk grading papers for longer than half an hour without being in enough pain that I had to stop.
So I went to a different chiropractor and had some new X-rays taken. I fact I have pictures of them because I was actually able to view them this time.
As you can see, my spine is a little crooked. The chiropractor said that this was clearly due to an injury I sustained between one and five years ago – I’m guessing from when I slipped and fell on the stairs three years ago. While my spine is crooked where it’s not supposed to be, my neck, on the other hand is not curved like it should be. This, according to the chiropractor, was due to an injury that occurred between ten and twenty years ago. I can’t even imagine what that might have been.
So now I’m in chiropractic two times a week for five weeks to help things be the shape they are supposed to be.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when I tell people about my troubles they talk about how they sit in front of the desk all day and have a tired neck and shoulders when they come home. Or they talk about poor posture. You know, lifestyle problems that could be fixed with a different desk chair, different shoes, or a different job.
But this isn’t the case here. It’s a result of accidents (or perhaps poor choices). I buy the most expensive shoes I can because I know that, for someone who spends a lot of time on his feet, it’s a good investment. I don’t teach from a chair. I do yoga fairly often because while I was dealing with this injury, it was the one thing that made me feel better and I liked how my whole body felt like it was more limber and flexible. Before this, I worked out often, took the dog for long walks, and ate well. All things that contribute to overall health, and I’m guessing spine health.
So no lifestyle changes are needed, except for the ones that make my life more pleasant in the meantime. No grading at a desk (or sitting at a desk) for long periods of time (grading in bed is OK.) I probably won’t be spending too much time at the drawing board, either. I’ll be better in a few weeks, and back in good shape to do something else stupid that will require medical care.