Pain in the neck

Man clutching neck

C6… C7… You’ve sunk my spinal disc!

Well, I think I can safely say that 2012 hasn’t been the greatest year for my health.

After a recurrence in May of the same lower back pain that disabled me for nearly a month last autumn, I managed to trap a couple of nerves in my neck (cervical vertebrae C6 and C7, I am told) about a month ago.

It started as a really sore right shoulder and neck; to the point that I couldn’t move it. I now realise that this was swelling, to allow my body to protect the nerves. This lasted about 1-2 weeks… after which my right arm started to go numb.

I phoned NHS 24. “That sounds like a nerve problem, see your doctor tomorrow.”

I got an appointment with a GP the next morning. “That sounds like a trapped nerve, take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication and it should settle down in about 6 weeks or more.”

The next day my left arm started to go numb too.

A friend of mine, Andrew, at the University of St Andrews, recommended that I see Clayton Hardisty at the St Andrews Physiotherapy Practice.

He has been excellent. The numbness/pain has now been reduced to just my right thumb now, and occasionally my arm starts to go numb again but dropping my arms to my sides seems to help. Which makes it feel awkward to type but otherwise I’m getting by.

This week I even managed to get back to cycling, and set a personal best on the Home – Kilrenny – B9131 – Home circuit. And that was me taking it easy! But it may have had something to do with my posture.

I’ve never thought about my posture so much since I sang in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and we were introduced to elements of the Alexander Technique. At the time I foolishly dismissed it as being irrelevant to me because I wasn’t going into professional singing or drama.

I’ve noticed how often I slouch. I’ve noticed how often I sit (or cycle) with my shoulders pushed up and my head pulled down into it like a tortoise.

And occasionally, ever so occasionally, I get a glimpse of life before this, with no odd sensations. That’s what I’m aiming for…