Pain in the NECK Next body part to repair
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ZARDOG
March 23, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Need an excuse for your limited performance?  

Look to your creator or the process.  At almost 58 I have learned medical science the hard way.  No way are any of us perfect.

MRI's prove this to me. The cervical Spinal canal of mine is smaller than normal. 

Many MRI will show problems but if there is no pain - no need to treat them. 

Most times a neck pinch can be fixed in a month or less, 85% recover with no intervention.

To make coordinating the medical team easy, I built a web page.   Have one for Diabetes, Heart, Hip, now neck.

https://skidome.org/ZardozRen/neck/ 

Posture is a  lifetime goal. If you keyboard for 40+ years the result can be NECK/Shoulder pain. 

The next 10 days will add- EMG Nerve conduction test - Very cool to see how nerves talk. 

Pain Mgmt Doctor who specializes in Cervical Spinal epidural injection. 

The goal is to reduce inflammation of nerve roots C7 - seen to have impinged roots on both sides.

Get off narcotic pain mgmt. ( Codeine I found to be less anti-motivating vs Hydro or Oxy) 

In 2008 - in dual axial traction, which worked well and prevented surgery. That time I  had numb thumbs and index fingers.

I need to try this again with a home setup.

1616495623_ttbbntcpymmn.jpg

Denis - DCSki Supporter 
March 23, 2021
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,281 posts
Very sorry to learn of this.  Sigh!
ZARDOG
April 3, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Hi, denis all good a learning experience.  I have gained more info. I can still ski and race just need to understand risks.

At 58 body is worn a bit.  Like a car needs more maint. 

        My mind coach from many years ago would say, no fairness in life, take what you have and make it better. 

Pretty much my body and MRIs prove GOD or whoever .... needs a quality improvement program.

Each of us is different down to our genetic level and we do not choose. Be blessed to be alive.

MORE DATA - MRI is a golden standard - Many have findings but if no pain and no symptoms no treatment.

Dr. Bernheimer my neurologist - EMG/Nerve test- Diabetic neuropathy masked some of the tests, but we did rule out:

MS, Parkinson's, lupus, autoimmune, etc a long list.  B12 was fine, 2  other blood tests for inflammation were very very low. 

He was really good and went out of his way to explain things. He could tell my desire to learn and wanted to know as much as possible about sports performance.

My speed of neuron activate to muscle engage time is 50 meters a sec. avg.

1 meter = 1/50 sec.   We race at 15.6 meters a sec. at the top maybe  7 meters a sec 

Ski racing this matters: 

    I think when to turn to make my first critical turn. Thinking clutters the sensors and the processing. You blow this turn it matters.

    Don't think, Just DO, Trust DO 

When late at gate rules, takes two gates to make up the rhythm, but the usual effect is getting later and later at each gate.

Pain Management Specialist - Dr. Coleman. Anest and Cervical A team doc. Notice I have a team and have a good idea who to use -

Thank my brother-in-law. 

The plan is least invasive, best practice, and diagnostics.  Avoid fusion and surgery if possible.

The plan is mid-Apr 3 to 4 injections. Called a medial branch block.  C2/3 (ear numb) C4/5 (side numb) C7/T1 (impingement and junk)

May work may not but is diagnostic and does not enter the spinal canal. 

1617447993_rubvqquguskd.jpg

The diagram explains where the nerve is located and under fluoroscopy less chance of issues.

Also - PAin mgmt -

Meloxicam. 

Tylenol #3 = 30 mg Codeine + 300 mg acetaminophen   every 8 to  12 hrs. can add extended-release 650 mg acetaminophen 

never go above 3000 mg acetaminophen in 24 hrs and do not drink alcohol

Codeine does not ruin my motivation like OXY or HYDRO.  I need the motivation to do my rehab with stretch bands.

 More info at ARP 19. 

MBB I can have 3 series of shots over 3 months. Again trial and error in science. 

Take care everyone. Get those physicals and lab work done. If you cannot afford there are ways to get it done. 

 Vitamin D deficient, Low HDL, only detected by blood labs. 

Zardog

ZARDOG
May 30, 2021 (edited May 30, 2021)
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Update:  Interesting findings. 

 My cervical spinal canal is 50% smaller than normal. Birth defect. 

The MBB (medial branch blocks) and RFA (radios frequency ablation)  treatments in April worked for pain relief and off narcotics,  but they have worn off and pain did go down to .1/10, now coming back to 2 or 3 /10. Still off narcotics. (narcotics opioids over the long term will change your brain structure and kill motivation and mood as it messes with the dopamine neurotransmitter.)   I had no issue coming off narcotics. 

I have completed all non-invasive tricks to fix the issue. Chiro, PT, Medication, Nerve blocks.

I have multiple opinions and cervical fusion is the only way to address the issue.

This is my MRI and the docs taught me how to read them.

Side view MRI  - white is spinal fluid liquid cord is grey. you can see the discs all are bulging.1622375655_ohhuipfjikak.jpg

This is sorta good disc but still a bit compressed.

1622374627_cykpbvqtvfkc.jpgThis is the worst at C6 total compression ( 5.2 mm where it should be 14 mm.) No fluid (white an very squished ) 

1622374700_kpkaoituqpun.jpgThis affects fine motor skills, finger dexterity, balance.  called myelopathy.

My Goal was off narcotics, then the ability to ski regularly, if I have to give up racing I am ok with that I can still coach.

Downtime is 2 weeks - then 2 to 4 weeks ( during the 6 weeks lots of narcotics and no driving) 

I am ready mentally and I have an "A" team for doctors.   BTW my hip replacement was 150% success.

The plan now is to strengthen the neck, upper body, and arms for 30 days.  Stretch bands, lightweights, and bike riding for cardio.

I did not figure on 2 major surgeries and covid year all in one.

Life throws curves -- keep swinging. 

skidome.org  my link for tracking this journey. 

If you can send positive thoughts my way, it does help. 

I should invest in titanium :o) 

Feeling good and mentally prepared and motivated.  July Surgery and I hope to be on Snow by January 2022.

ZARDOG 

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bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter 
May 30, 2021
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
730 posts

Zardog,

Great attitude!  Sending prayers for your treatment, comfort, and recovery ... and for your A-Team of health professionals responsible for your diagnoses, treatments, therapy, and care.

Hoping to see you on the snow again in January.

Woody

Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter 
May 31, 2021
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,938 posts
Best wishes for a great outcome. Getting back on the snow is a good motivation.
ZARDOG
June 5, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Thanks all, Snow family is the best family!  Skiing has been a godsend for my energy level and exercise and mental health. 

Expensive not really vs owning a boat or 3 gun competition. 

Many have gone through the procedure and the ones with PREhab, mental toughness, and friends' family support do well.

I actually took a Stanford course on MRI how to read.  

https://youtu.be/mJVEtq5GsJk 

The cord compression can affect fine motor skills, diaphragm, brain fog, not just being number in hands fingers. I am not numb.

2008 I had numb of thumbs, index finger no MRI, and traction fixed the issue.  I got 13 years pain-free.

Thanks to the masters ski racing group on FB. many have the same issues I have. 

Epidural shot Jun 16 to keep me off narcotics, after Surgery narcotics are needed 6 to 12 weeks. 

Time to self-motivate to do the prehab. 

I even bought my pass for next season.  

The hard part is picking your team, a lot of great doctors but how to pick is not easy.

When I say a TEAM- PCP, Cardiologist, Chiropractic, PT, Neurologist, Cervical Surgeon, pain management anesthesiologist, 2ND opinion group.

Cost so far - MSRP 20K$ in 6 months,  actual paid is 8K insurance and 2K from my budget, In July I have Aflac, short term disability, and HSA ~ 300-400$  I figure surgery = 25- 30K$ 

ZARDOG 



Denis - DCSki Supporter 
June 7, 2021
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,281 posts

Ed,

I wish you all the best.   You’ll be ready for medical school by the time this is over. 😀

ZARDOG
June 15, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Denis,  I think so.  I can cover Heart, Diabetes, Hip now cervical. 

Updated the web page and with a 19 min vid on the surgery.

https://skidome.org/ZardozRen/neck/

The White block is the part the will become bone and fuse. 

1623801058_ysmgoatdqnrx.jpg

ZARDOG
June 22, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

HI I Updated the page for the neck now with spinal anatomy.  https://skidome.org/ZardozRen/neck/

very interesting knowledge I have gained.

Zardog 

ZARDOG
June 30, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

The Epidural has been effective at pain relief.  I need to update my page for the recovery 

Calcium, Vit D,B complex, Protein all this will help the bone fusion. 

It does look like I will be able to ski and most likely race a bit. 

Because of skiing I am strong and can handle pain and rehab.  Just think a real pro has 5 major surgeries.

Hav ea happy 4th of July

Zardog

crgildart
July 2, 2021
Member since 07/13/2014 🔗
767 posts
Wow what a situation!  I'm glad to wee that the epidural has provided some relief.
ZARDOG
July 4, 2021
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Thanks, it did. but starting to wear off. No meloxicam 10 days before surg , It works well  I am in pain at my wrists I figured it would and have to stay off NSAIDs for 6 months to let bone grow in the cage. 

Saw the cardio doc for clearance and he said come back this tues for the Treadmill stress test.

Bruce Protocol  

I tested my legs sat in the gym but it maa incline at 15%  I need 16%

Every 3 mins the MPH goes up and incline. 

2015 I made 145 max HB and 10.30 in the time left calve gave out. >85% of max

2021 my test 140 max HB  10.40 in the time left calve gave out. no pain in the lungs or heart. >85% max

I can get winded riding my bike up a long and steady incline 1/4 mile .

Know wonder the pros quit at 5 surgeries lots of time in rehab and pain.  

1625418012_zwvvxxxluuwu.jpgHappy 4th

Always learning  Zardog

ZARDOG
11 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Good morning all,

It was good to pass the treadmill stress test and the echocardiogram.

The surgery went off without an issue midday Jul 7.

The worse part is swallowing but each day gets better. I can eat almost anything now, just cut up more and eat slowy.

Once the cages are set ( they replace the disk ) Stem Cells are harvested from the iliac left hip and used for bone growth fusion.

I add protein powder/food, Vita D3 10,000 iu, B Complex, And Calcium 1200 MG. All to help with bone growth/fusion.

I can walk stairs and walk 1/2 mile in 10 minutes on flat area. 2.5 mph.  PT will start at home today. 2x a week expect to be driving in 4 weeks. 

1626264882_pztwepiczzzr.jpg

Take care, everyone,

Sleep, Nutrition, exercise are key to a long life.

ZARDOG 

ZARDOG
11 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Sweet doing well rehab is all about time to heal and the body has a different clock than my full speed ahead.

14 days post-op photo. The incision will get better over a  year just add silicone gel for scars.

for Recovery - added protein, Vita D3, B Complex, and Calcium, good food.

take care  everyone ZARDOG

1626866202_yrwqbmlqgyku.jpg

ZARDOG
11 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Yall,  Doing well, Yesterday Wed was 21 days post-op.

The hard part is going turtle slow because I like to get R done.

Cross-section of the spinal cord - you can see ascending tracts sensors and descending motors.

Most of the neck issue was on the right side, the left side leg is affected because the signals cross over near the brain.

C4/5 C5/6 C6/7 were fused C6/7 had both sides compressed at the nerve root. 

Stem cells from my hip were used to promote fusion.  

Fascinating stuff 

1627563860_jxzhjqkxaidj.jpg

I have completed 6 in-home PT visits and my PT was very good and I learned many things. 

My balance the first week was so bad I was at risk for falls.  (dragging my left foot, hitting the back of a step with my heal while going downstairs) 

How to test for risk of fall. 

physio-pedia.com  Proprioception was off. where my body parts are in 3D space.

Simple boring exercises do work to restore balance and the body heals slower than you think.

I am still restricted to no driving, but I can go outside. Weight is restricted to 10 lbs for lift and no twist or bend. Soft collar 24x7.

Aug 10 is post-op with the surgeon. Get some x-ray and fluro photos.

Fusion has milestones - 4 weeks, 3 months (12 wk) and 6 months (24 wk)) and 1 year.

basic fusion starts at 3 months. 

I have mostly good days, swallowing is fine now, eating and sleeping well. Naps are always good.

A bad day would be pain 6/10 and constant. This happened Monday because I lifted groceries 20 lbs+, made the neck muscle (left ear to 1st rib, and my left traps muscle complain for 2 days). Heat, Ice, Tens, 30 mg of Oxy. pill for spasms.

20-day post-op. The scar will heal fine over a year. 

1627563217_thbhtyonqpoy.jpg

the web page for the neck journey is updated you can see the pre and post hab exercises. very minimal. 

The good news is learning more about the human body especially the sensor/motor system.

https://skidome.org/ZardozRen/neck/

All indications if I follow orders and do my rehab I will be able to ski in January. maybe the greens only as I relearn sensors/motor skills.

Skiing has been a way to exercise and learn things I would have not experienced if I had not participated.

Not to mention helping others. To Yall thanks for your tips and knowledge.

 

ZARDOG
10 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Yeah, 5 weeks post-op.

came out well and now I can lift 20 lbs but not overhead. Stationary bicycle and walking.

On my way to Skiing in 2022.

New Hip Fixed neck all in one year. 

ZARDOG 

ZARDOG
9 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

10 weeks post-op- Purrfect 100% successful. Will be skiing Jan 2022.

Hip replacement was 100% successful, both will add to my skiing abilities.

zardog

ZARDOG
6 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Sweet - 6 months post-op. Perfect result. Not everyone does well in this surgery. In my case spinal canal 50% smaller space. 

Can't wait to ski this season and have a left hip function and neck fix helps in balance and sensor issues to my brain.

 

MRI  last month.

You guessed it, L4/L5/S1 not looking good. At 6 mm in the worst case when it should be 22 mm.

I had an Epidural last Friday and looking at the symptoms to the lesson for the ski season.

The knot in the back of the left hamstring - 98% gone.

The 100% numb left sole foot and top of foot/calf side and back numb. That has been addressed.

In hindsight, I should have pushed for MRI years ago. Don't endure pain, address the root cause.

I get one more shot Dec 23. 

The spinal cord starts to look like nerve strands as they exit L4/L5/S1.

   We are all defective :o) Technically. 

1639485917_duiuopvcjvwx.jpg

Zardog 

ZARDOG
5 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

All,

The neck is 100% now. Skied one day with no issues. The lower Lumbar had 2 cort shots and 95% of left leg symptoms were gone.  Not a complete fix on the lumbar but no pain is great.

The hardest part is healing takes time and I hate waiting. Second, the loss of strength is limited to lifting weight for over a year. Limited to 50 lb now.  Being out of the normal routine is also hard to get back into the normal routine.

Self-motivation is key. 

Zardog 

 

Denis - DCSki Supporter 
5 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,281 posts

ZARDOG wrote:

All,

The neck is 100% now. Skied one day with no issues. The lower Lumbar had 2 cort shots and 95% of left leg symptoms were gone.  Not a complete fix on the lumbar but no pain is great.

The hardest part is healing takes time and I hate waiting. Second, the loss of strength is limited to lifting weight for over a year. Limited to 50 lb now.  Being out of the normal routine is also hard to get back into the normal routine.

Self-motivation is key. 

Zardog 

congrats.  Thanks for the inspiration.    Had my back surgery on December 20.   I am thrilled  at the immediate disappearance of pain and especially the numbness that started small and grew with walking as it affected my right leg down to the toes.  However I’m now facing what is going to be a long tough struggle to regain my former self or a reasonable facsimile, just as you mention.  It makes sense.  It will soon be 2 years since I could and did do much of anything.  That includes the hip replacement and recovery from that, then the frustration that it didn’t help that much, discovery of the spine problem, several delays due to Covid waves, and last but not least all the tests and waiting to get the surgery cleared and scheduled.  So, as you said, Ed, it’s self motivation and work going forward from here. 

 

 

ZARDOG
5 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Hi Yes I found out I am a 1% spinal canal space. I am very happy with the results so far. 

I have been out 3 days skiing and 1 fall (stupid me) The neck muscles had 1 day of minor whiplash. to be expected as my muscles grow and support. 

Neck is 5 mm where it should be 13 mm, lumbar back is at 6 mm vs normal 22 mm+.

I do wear my butt/hip pads. The only restrictions are no jumping and no landing on the butt. For hip reduce the very short turn radius. This build-ups heat in the hip joint.

Lumbar so far 2 series of Shots and the last one Dec 23.  Maybe able to avoid lumbar surgery.

Amazing. 

Heal well, my friend.

Zardog

ZARDOG
5 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Quick Update.  NO surprise the 2 cort shots worked well but after 30 days starting to wear off. Still not bad and the numb left leg sole of the foot does not happen when skiing. Happens when walking 2 blocks. 

Being pain-free for months was impressive first since 2008.

I see the surgeon in April and time to find out the best way to treat. I hope for minimally invasive. 

Been Skiing  5 days 100 runs 5 hours of training, my skiing has progressed with the multiple implants and decompression of the neck. 

ZARDOG 

ZARDOG
2 months ago
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
107 posts

Hi, For the Neck and Hip 100% successful and My skiing skills are better, go figure. Cervical compression was affecting my balance and 3 D Spacial perception.  The stance is tighter. 

I did work on drills 15 days for 1 hour each. 

At 9 Months Post OP - starting to fuse.

The next Surgery is Laminectomy L3-5. Will be able to ski Jan 2023.

I learned so much about the sensory system in our bodies very cool stuff. 

take care all Zardog. 

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