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Posted By : Artscotty - 8/4/2017 10:05 AM
Hi guys newbie here. Two months ago, after a weight-lifting routine and lifting some heavy boxes, my left arm and left legs went all wonky. Wife brought me to ER. (Stroke fear). 3 MRI and 2 CT scans later it seems I have DDD. My whole spine, mostly cervical, is pretty bad. But......NO pain. Weakness and wooden feeling in hands, tingling in face hands legs, and a bit of foot flop....very slight. Neuro-surgeon put me on conservative treatment thank God. Taking PT and after 8 sessions the symptoms are not much better. I guess it takes time friends?
My brain MRI showed no MS or stroke. about my thread title: When my blood sugar is low and also after a coffee or two my symptoms are worse. I was thinking scalene muscles getting tight? Stress also puts me in instant tingling. Like when someone cuts me off , driving.
My doctor and PT guy laugh when I tell them this, but when I drink a scotch or two or have a couple of beers, I am like a new man: No symptoms. I can't get a straight answer on why and don't want to become an alcoholic.
The booze helps me way more than muscle relaxers. Any ideas?????
Derek

Posted By : Alcie - 8/4/2017 4:32 PM
Idea 1 - don't become an alcoholic! Alcohol relaxes the muscles, but it's not a treatment or cure!!! Any idea what's causing the degeneration? I think most of us on the forum have some type of spine problem. I'm getting old and have just had too many accidents (not vehicle).

PT takes time, months or more. You have to keep up the work at home, not just at the sessions. I think I'd scrap the weight lifting at least until I had a reliable diagnosis and cure. You don't want to make things worse! Would taking calcium or a bone restoring pill help? You need other minerals in the diet to make the calcium work.

Ask your doctor about trying another muscle relaxant, maybe just at night. They tend to make you sleepy, so be careful when you take it, like before driving. I went through maybe 8 or ten before finding one that works for me and doesn't make me sleepy all day.

Speaking of driving, take a deep breath and let the guy in. You want to get in sometimes too. Pay it forward. People see my grey hair and let me in. It makes me smile. Maybe get a grey wig (Ha-ha.)

Maybe see a neurologist or a pain doc. They have different points of view from neurosurgeons. Pain docs, only the ones with the anesthesiologist training, are especially good with cervical spine issues.

Posted By : straydog - 8/4/2017 5:58 PM
Hi Derek, welcome aboard. Good to know all of your testing has checked out well. As far as DDD goes, millions of people have it & do not know it until they have an MRI or CT Scan. Like you, they have an incident happen & have scans done & there it is. Not sure if you have done a lot of lifting in the past or not, that can give cause.

Granted none of us are drs here & can't diagnose you for sure. However, reading between the lines I am picking up on some stress & anxiety here. Alcohol is calming you down & the symptoms go away. It relaxes you. But alcohol is not how to get past this.

PT doesn't give instant relief & you need to be doing home exercises. If you can ask the dr about aqua therapy. A warm pool can be beneficial & relaxing. Go online & look for relaxation techniques.

I hope you can find something that will help.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Posted By : Artscotty - 8/5/2017 7:07 AM
Hi Alcie and Susie:
Thanks for the replies.
Alcie: no need for the grey wig here. I have the real thing. Problem with a pain doc. is (and I thank God I really have no pain with this); just weakness tingling and numbness with a wee bit of an awkward gait. Also a steel band around forehead feeling.My degeneration comes from years of lifting and just getting old, I imagine.
Susie: you are right about the stress and anxiety. The least little symptom and it sends me into fear; fear of future surgery or the nerve finally getting crushed and paralysis.
I am pretty bad with keeping up home exercises. Certainly need everyday maintenance. I agree.
The flexeril my family doctor gave me makes me like a zombie all the next day after I use it before bed.
I am a piano player and fine art painter and I would hate to loose my dexterity. When symptoms flare I can't even button a shirt......fine motor skills dwindle.
Thanks again. Derek

Posted By : (Seashell) - 8/5/2017 8:02 AM
Derek:
Your post and post is interesting in that it gives clear evidence of the mind-body connection and how perceived stress and anxiety affect our physical body.

Alcohol will relax your mind by lowering incoming sensory nerve impulses and relaxing outgoing motor nerve impulses to muscles. But it is a poor choice for managing symptoms. Alcohol is a drug and developing tolerance and addiction is as real concern. My own father became an alcoholic - he took to alcohol to "numb" emotional pain after my brother was diagnosed with a grave grade IV gliovlastoma (the same as has been diagnosed in Senator Kohn McCain). My father was a Stanford Iniversity graduate with a brilliant mind. His life shattered due to effects of alcohol.

Anxiety and stress lead to increased muscle tension and co-contraction. The uptick in tingling and parathesia and numbness that you experience is likely correlated to the uptick in muscle tension and co-contraction brought about by heightened anxiety and stress. Especially in the cerbical aoine, muscle tension can cause pressure along nerve roots that decompressed nerve impulse transmission.

Your plight is analogous to stepping on a garden hose with running water. Stepping on the hose causes pressure that disrupts the flow of water through the hose. Sustained muscle contraction constricts nerve roots and disrupts the transmission of nerve impulses = heightened symptoms of tingling and sensory blunting.

I am a physical therapist by profession. A home program will be essential to your recovery and keeping neurological symptoms at bay.

Any surgical option should be viewed with concern and reservation. Surgery is rarely a quick "fix" and can cause more secondary problems than it corrects.

That you consistently feel better with taking of alcohol and sweets may be a sign of an underlying endocrine deficit. Puberty and middle age (early to late 50's) are both developmental life periods where the pituitary gland is under enormous physiological stress. It is not uncommon for previously unrecognized endocrine deficits to materialize during middle-age/50's.

I would have your primary care physician order blood laboratory work to evaluate for blood sugar and insulin and low cortisol. You may have undeterred pre-diabetes or low adrenal gland function.

Get a copy of the lab results for your own review. Blood chemistry scores are based on huge population statistics to define "normal." A low-normal score or a high-normal score may be life-affecting and symptomatic for any given individual. Too often, physicians can tell a patient that all is A-OK despite having a low-normal score for a particular blood chemistry value. Low normal or high normal may not reflect a state of well-being for any particular person.

Finding a new activity other than weight lifting may be necessary. Walking? Swimming or water aerobics? Tai Chi? Pilates? Ballroom dancing? Hula-hoop? No joke, Hula-hoops are making a come back. Weight lifting may place more strain on your spine than you can safely tolerate.
Karen
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

Posted By : Artscotty - 8/5/2017 12:16 PM
Karen: what a great and helpful post. I really appreciate it. As far as the sugar is concerned, I just had a it checked and the number was excellent (75). Probably due to the fact that I've been on the Mediterranean/low carb diet for 4 months and have lost about 35 pounds. Just when I was feeling wonderful.....BOOM, I get this spine problem. What I meant about the low blood sugar specifically: a couple of cups of coffee in the morning, I get busy and skip breakfast get very hungry.....symptoms increase.
My PT wants me to do very very light dumbbell work along with bands, McKenzie neck moves, mixed with some yoga type moves (cobra etc.) I also walk quite a bit on treadmill and my country roads.
How do you feel about traction? My PT does not like it. Also, is the pillow something I need to pay close attention to? I bought a wavy cervical pillow and can't stand it.
All the best. Derek

BY the way: The ER doc. put me on medrol dose pack 2 months ago and it really messed up my adrenals. I know that from research I did on that horrible drug. Some folks still get side effects after months and months of taking just the one dose pack......never again.

Post Edited (Artscotty) : 8/5/2017 12:19:04 PM (GMT-6)


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