For many years I have lived with skeletal and nervous system issues. Namely, Neuropathy, Arthritis, subluxation, and disc degeneration mostly in the neck area. I had a car accident nearly 30-years ago and didn’t know I was injured until almost 20-years after the fact.
I woke up one morning and couldn’t move my head. I found a chiropractor who did a pretty thorough examination and found “damage that’s been there a long time”. My neck was curved backwards and kicked slightly to the left. There was subluxation and disc-degeneration in my neck and back. I saw this chiropractor regularly for adjustments and was living fairly comfortably with my damaged neck.
Then, 5 or 6 years ago I was diagnosed with neuropathy and arthritis in my neck. Still, it wasn’t “quality of life” threatening. My neck would threaten to seize up now and then, but a little time with a heat wrap would usually take care of it until the next time. I was not seeing a chiropractor, or any doctor, on a regular basis at that time. In the middle of all this I had surgery on my left shoulder (torn tendon and bone spurs), both wrists, and both arms (Carpal and Cubidal Tunnel respectively). I also received physical therapy for Frozen Shoulder in my right shoulder. During that physical therapy my therapist basically told me that I was a mess and would need physical therapy for the rest of my life. She was doing some deep tissue massage and kept connecting the shoulder damage to other damage in my neck and upper back. I already knew that I was pretty messed up and took what she said with a grain of salt. She was a good therapist and helped me tremendously.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I start to notice a lot of tightness in my shoulders and some involuntary movement of my neck. Any time I looked down, my neck would involuntarily turn to the left. It kept getting worse to the point that I didn’t even need to look down for my neck to turn involuntarily. I assumed it was a progression of the damage that was already there. I found a chiropractor. The chiropractor recommended a massage therapist and I saw both of them regularly for about six weeks. There was no improvement.
I started doing some research on my own and discovered a neurological disorder called “Cervical Dystonia”. It causes the muscles in the neck to contract involuntarily and spontaneously. (It’s more involved than that and apparently can affect more areas than just the neck. I’m still learning about it). The symptoms match mine perfectly. I talked to my chiropractor about it and she referred me to a neurologist who I see for the first time tomorrow.
I don’t necessarily believe in self-diagnosis on it’s own. I do, however, believe in intuition and that sometimes the doctors need our input. I suspected another condition years ago and asked my doctor to check it out. It turned out that my suspicion was correct. That’s not always the case though. Our self-diagnoses always need a second opinion. Thus, my appointment tomorrow.
I’ll be honest. I’m nervous. If this is what I think it is, it IS “quality of life” threatening. Having no control over my neck at times is both frustrating and embarrassing. I can’t do things I used to do, like working in the kitchen and scrapbooking, without wearing a neck brace and the neck brace drives me nuts after about 30 minutes. I sweat under it and my shoulders get sore. My shoulders are sore most of the time anyway because of what’s going on with my neck muscles; spasming and contracting whenever they feel like it. It makes me feel fatigued and gives me headaches. I just can’t function like I used to. This is just my reality right now, whatever the diagnosis turns out to be.
I have a firm faith in the sovereignty of God and the human ability to adapt and overcome. I believe that God knows the plans He has for me and they are plans to give me hope and a future, not for harm. Whatever physical challenges I face, I don’t face them alone and this I well know. That doesn’t mean I won’t face fear, doubt, maybe even depression. The thing is, I don’t face those alone either. I am actually eager to see what the Lord has planned for this part of my journey.
Stay tuned! 😊