Pain in the neck

Man clutching neck
C6… C7… You’ve sunk my spinal disc!

Well, I think I can safely say that 2012 hasn’t been the greatest year for my health.

After a recurrence in May of the same lower back pain that disabled me for nearly a month last autumn, I managed to trap a couple of nerves in my neck (cervical vertebrae C6 and C7, I am told) about a month ago.

It started as a really sore right shoulder and neck; to the point that I couldn’t move it. I now realise that this was swelling, to allow my body to protect the nerves. This lasted about 1-2 weeks… after which my right arm started to go numb.

I phoned NHS 24. “That sounds like a nerve problem, see your doctor tomorrow.”

I got an appointment with a GP the next morning. “That sounds like a trapped nerve, take painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication and it should settle down in about 6 weeks or more.”

The next day my left arm started to go numb too.

A friend of mine, Andrew, at the University of St Andrews, recommended that I see Clayton Hardisty at the St Andrews Physiotherapy Practice.

He has been excellent. The numbness/pain has now been reduced to just my right thumb now, and occasionally my arm starts to go numb again but dropping my arms to my sides seems to help. Which makes it feel awkward to type but otherwise I’m getting by.

This week I even managed to get back to cycling, and set a personal best on the Home – Kilrenny – B9131 – Home circuit. And that was me taking it easy! But it may have had something to do with my posture.

I’ve never thought about my posture so much since I sang in the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and we were introduced to elements of the Alexander Technique. At the time I foolishly dismissed it as being irrelevant to me because I wasn’t going into professional singing or drama.

I’ve noticed how often I slouch. I’ve noticed how often I sit (or cycle) with my shoulders pushed up and my head pulled down into it like a tortoise.

And occasionally, ever so occasionally, I get a glimpse of life before this, with no odd sensations. That’s what I’m aiming for…

Cycling and sleeping

Sign beside road saying: deer for 2 miles
The B940 somewhere north-east of Anstruther

After a week off from cycling (to get over a tummy bug and to attend the IWMW 2012 conference in Edinburgh) I went back out on my bike again this morning just before 06:00.

I’ve done something to my right shoulder. Probably a combination of sleeping badly on it, and being jumped on by Reuben; I’ve started calling Reuben ‘Cato‘ because he attacks me at the most inconvenient moments!

It was good to get out again. Here’s to a slowly developing discipline of early morning cycles and to getting fit again.

Afternoon

When Jane and the boys returned from church at lunchtime (I’d been to All Saints, St Andrews for the 08:00, then retired to bed) Joshua was still asleep in the car, Reuben was asleep in the living room, and Isaac asleep in his pram in the front garden.

Joshua woke first so I brought him through into the study… where he promptly fell asleep again using his cuddly dog (Copper from Disney’s The Fox and the Hound) as a pillow.

He looked so lovely and peaceful.

Joshua asleep on a chair, his head resting on a cuddly dog
Everyone needs a Copper for a pillow.

Wimbledon is like the Tour

This is inspired by a Tweet from @jennybee that read:

Feel a bit lost with no tennis to watch at lunch time.

So Wimbledon is over for another year. But there are other major sporting events going on just now, such as the Tour de France.

In many ways Wimbledon is like the Tour. Except that instead of hitting a ball back and forth across a tennis court, they instead cycle around the court as quickly as they can. And instead of calling it a ‘court’ they call it France.

So with that brief introduction to the international sport of cycling over, head over to ITV4 for some Tour action.