Not everything is Parkinson's. I have to keep reminding myself of this. Remember when I said the pain in my neck, shoulders, upper back and arms was getting better? It wasn't. It's back, and worse than before. I went to a bright young doctor in physical medicine, and he ordered xrays of my neck and shoulder. My shoulder was fine; here's what the report on my neck said:
"Prominent degenerative changes at C5-6, primarily characterized by marked disc narrowing, endplate sclerosis and moderate marginal hypertrophic spurring. Mild disc narrowing at C3-4 and C4-5. Mild scoliosis convex to the left and scattered bilateral facet hypertrohy."
I, of course, had to look all this up to find out what it meant in English. Turns out, the "C" numbers refer to the 7 vertebrae in the neck (cervical vertebrae). "Disc narrowing" (AKA "Cervical Stenosis") means narrowing of the channel in the vertebrae where the spinal chord goes, sometimes causing pressure on the spinal chord, which, of course can wreak havoc on your body. "Endplate Sclerosis" is a thickening of the bone in the upper and lower ends of the vertebrae. Why this is a problem, I don't know. "Hypertrophic spurring" means bone spurs; growths of bone which sometimes impinge on nerves or the spinal chord or something which shouldn't be impinged on. "Scoliosis" is a tendency for the spine to curve in the horizontal direction one way or another. "facet hypertrophy" is an enlarging of the facet joints of the spine sometimes causing pressure on adjacent nerves.
None of this sounds good to me, especially disc narrowing, which often has to be treated with surgery.
i thought my pain was parkinson's related. Guess not. It's all in my neck...
Saturday, September 7, 2013
This is the first morning in 6 months that I have woken up with hardly any pain and no Parkinson's symptoms at all. I went in to Stanford for a DBS adjustment last week, and not only did they adjust it so that the right and left sides of my body match, they also gave me the power of adjusting it myself a little bit. I took advantage of this yesterday and bumped up the signal on the left side of my body just 0.1V (from 2.9V to 3.0V). What a difference! The pain in my neck, arms and shoulders slowly faded away. Walking became easier. Tremor disappeared entirely, rigidity melted to almost nothing. I hope this lasts!
- I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.