When I was in 7th grade gym class doing wrestling a fellow student had twisted my neck in a headlock and caused some damage to my discs in my neck. Ever since I’ve had yearly episodes of severe neck stiffness and pain that I treated with the rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and limited therapy including chiropractic and acupuncture. I was able to enjoy playing tennis, rollerblading, bike riding and performing orthopedic surgery most of the time.
Unfortunately, I noticed a gradual onset of heavy pressure and low grade deep pain starting to shoot from my neck down to my left arm. I had some numbness in my fingers. An MRI and CAT scan confirmed that I had developed cervical foraminal stenosis caused by the development of some small bone spurs pressing on the nerves to my left arm. When the usual conservative treatment I used to use did not work I had a cervical epidural injection which provided temporary relief of my symptoms.
I tried a repeat injection but the 2nd epidural injection did not help at all. I saw several different spine surgeons and decided to have the nerve roots decompressed with surgery to grind away the small bone spurs. When I woke up from the surgery my original pain was improved but I couldn’t lift my arm. The surgeon had bruised some of the nerve roots. It took about a year of watchful waiting and light weight lifting and fortunately, the nerves were able to recover on their own. My muscles have recovered their strength and I am happy to say that I’m back to playing tennis and golf.