So, last August 3rd, 2015, I felt this shooting pain up and down my left arm that woke me up on a cold Monday morning. It was so painful that the only solution I could think of for it to get better was to chop it off! Seriously!
For the record, I have been feeling that tingling and needle like pain on my left arm for quite some time now. It probably started when I was first learning how to play guitar. Actually, my left arm & hand feel numb most of the time since then, but I've been trying to ignore it. I was thinking I'm just tired from doing house chores and from practicing the guitar, it was nothing serious. It hurts more when I'm cooking and I'm holding the pan with my left hand. I'm sometimes scared that I wouldn't be able to endure the pain and that I would just drop the pan and everything on it. So, when I have to lift it up, I use both hands instead.
Back to the Monday morning pain...
I tried putting on ointment and doing hot compress to ease the pain, but when it won't subside, I finally gave myself permission to bawl like a baby in our living room. Haha!
I tried to get back to sleep since it was too early for me to get up, but it was really impossible to even shut up when you're in that kind of pain. If you've seen my previous post, I have mentioned that I am currently in my 'poverty month/s'. So, the timing of this painful attack couldn't be more perfect! Having no family or relatives in this town, I made a decision to contact my bosses to help me out instead. It didn't take long for them to respond to my SOS. When I got their instructions, I cried a little bit more before putting on my jeans and jacket. I didn't even comb my hair! I just put on my hat, grabbed my bag and rushed out.
While I was in the emergency room of the hospital, it felt so lovely when I had to say and spell my name out several times before the nurses could get it right. I'm not quite sure if they have clearly understood how painful my arm was that time. But, since it's a protocol to answer slum note type of questions, I had to let it go and trust that they would give me a medicine to ease the pain soon.
Flash forward to the diagnosis:
Apparently it's a shitty thing called Cervical Radiculopathy, or more commonly known as 'pinched nerve'.
- Repetitive motions (when you play sports)
- Keeping your elbows bent while sleeping/Sleeping on your side for too long
There could be more things on the list but these are the most common ones and basically these are the things I'm kinda guilty about. With the type of work that I do (or most jobs in the 21st century for that matter), I would really be prone to this evil shit. I work in front of a computer for several hours, that means I have to sit and stay in one position most of the time. But even before I got diagnosed for this, it's been my habit to get off my butt from time to time, usually to take a pee break or to just simply stretch. Turns out it was a good habit! Days after I was diagnosed, I educated myself with more simple exercises to relieve pinched nerve.
I also wanted to learn something from anyone who has been through this crappy experience so I read articles and blogs about it. There was this blog that got stuck in my mind the most; I deeply felt the agony she had to go through. However, it also gave me some sort of relief while I'm somewhere in the middle of pain and recovery. It's just nice to know you are not actually the only one who is going through this shit.
But wait! If you think you could only feel it from your neck, well, you're wrong. You could also feel that from your spine that runs down your leg or basically on your wrist or toes!
I was given a medical certificate before I left the hospital. The doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant called Lagaflex that I should take for 5 days and recommended a two-day bed rest. I made sure to ask the doctor to write down the exact details of when I should take the medicine and how much I should take. I didn't want to make the same mistake I did with Altrox years ago, haha!
Until now, I still remember what Altrox did to me. Taking Lagaflex was a huge reminder of that actually! I felt pretty much the same hours after I took the first one. I felt weak and dizzy and everything is just blurry and there's pretty much nothing you can do to fight it so you gotta stay horizontal for quite some time. It really took me down, but it's good somehow because I get to sleep tight and rest well especially at night.
It's been more than a month since that incident, but from time to time I still feel the numbness on my left arm. The doctor told me to come back should I still feel the pain even after I'm done taking my medicine. They said they could refer me to a physical therapist who could tell me what I should do next. I never went back for a check up though. But I have read from some articles that there are cases wherein you might really need to go through therapy to make sure the condition won't get worse. If oral medication, rest and therapy won't help, injecting cortisone (steroids) directly on your neck (and to the nerves) could also be done.
And for really serious beyond serious cases, a neck surgery could be performed. Now, that scared the crap out of me! There's no way I'm gonna take that shot on my neck and I'm definitely not in for a surgery, man!
So, as a (kinda late) prevention, I've been trying to remind myself not to completely fall into that shit hole. Now and then, in the middle of work or even when I'm just lazying around at home, I have to take a few minutes or so to get up and stretch my neck, shoulders, arms and wrists. If you think about it, it really won't hurt that much to get up and shake it off say after every hour, will it? And since I can't afford to get a massage these days, let alone a physical therapist, I have to take another option that won't cost much. Actually exercising and stretching won't cost anything at all - just pure determination to get better and feel better!
If you have been experiencing pretty much the same pain in the neck (or spine or leg), you might wanna have it checked. Early diagnosis and treatment would keep you from the excruciating pain I felt weeks ago. And if you are guilty of not moving too much and staying in one position for hours, you might wanna try to find some relief from that chronic neck, shoulder or back pain by doing some exercises/stretching.
Don't worry because they are not like cardio workouts wherein you would have to sweat a lot. You can do them before, during and after work and YES in the comforts of your own cubicle. You owe it to yourself to feel good while you are doing the things that you love to do!