Bits & Pieces

After around twenty years of neck pain, I finally got around to having an MRI done last month. The physios and the one osteo I’ve been to over the years never suggested I get one. They’ve all said my problems are muscular, not spine-related. But after all the pain I had earlier this year, and the slow recovery, I figured it was time to have a closer look at what’s going on in there.

Though the MRI did reveal some minor spinal problems, like small bone spurs on one side and a slightly compressed and bulging disc, the assessment didn’t point to them as the major causes of pain. It is more likely it is soft tissue damage. The up side is that I can work on those. Bone and disc problems are much harder to treat.

It all means doing less of the things that cause the problems (typing, looking down or turning my head) and more stretches and exercise to strengthen the muscles. Actually I’ve been doing all of the above for years, just not to the degree I’m going to have to go to now. Since writing is the main culprit, it means cutting back on the activity that is my source of income. To put a more positive spin on that I’ll be calling myself ‘semi-retired’ for a while.

Does that meant more crafting time? Unfortunately, no. I need to avoid sitting for long periods, particularly when it involves extending my arms in front of me and making repetitive movements. What will I do with my time instead? Exercise, obviously. Short stints of gardening. Portrait painting. Helping Paul with his photography.

And maybe we’ll do some things we’ve talked about for ages, like travelling within Australia, cooking classes, learning a language and growing veges. I’m all for treating setbacks as opportunities. Who knows, I may like this lifestyle better!

6 thoughts on “Bits & Pieces

  1. I’m VERY glad that it’s *only* soft tissue, and hope that you can restructure your activities to reduce the prob. I do sympathise – I have very mild neck probs as a result of age, decades of bad posture etc., nothing like what you have to live with and not at all helped by being in a car that was rear-ended last Wednesday. (Unlike the driver, who had had her head turned to watch for traffic on the right and needed muscle relaxants etc. to treat her whiplash, I really can’t complain of more than a slight extra twinge and stiffness.)

  2. Several years ago after finishing 3 or 4 HUGE knitting projects and many days of blogging during the summer break, I ended up with a bulging disk in my neck. Talk about annoying! Numbness in hands, pain in arms and shoulders and headaches (I’d rather endure childbirth than have a headache.) It’s hard but when our bodies say stop, we just have to stop. Good luck with your exercises, hope they are just the trick.

  3. Hi… consider getting a blood test done for something called Anklosyling Spondylitis. It effects the neck and causes hugs amounts of pain. Additionally, it’s an auto immune disorder, which means you can have long periods of no pain followed by long periods of lots of pain.

    Be warned, tho, the blood test is quite expensive. But it’s a thought. I have it and we had to do a special test to even figure out what was wrong. I, too, had an MRI which showed no spinal issues. The spondylitis usually occurs at the bra line even tho the pain is in the neck and arms, so the MRI could have missed it because imaging wasn’t performed in the correct location.

    Just some thoughts… I love your work and seeing what you’re coming up with. Very, very creative. Fizz

    • Thanks for the advice! I think I looked into that at one stage, but it didn’t quite match what I was experiencing. But I’ll have a closer look.

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