Tuesday, 25 November 2014


For a long time I've been having trouble with back pain and numbness in my fingers - especially after lifting heavy shopping bags or performing tasks like sewing that require me to lean over and pinch my fingers together.  I attributed it to poor posture and the fact that I spend much of my time seated in front of a computer.

However recently there was a more alarming development: numbness in the skin across my shoulders that spread up to my neck and face.  It feels almost like the way one does after the jaw has been numbed for dental work.

So I went to a doctor to get a referral to a neurologist, who scheduled me for a procedure called an electromyogram.  Electrodes are placed on particular muscle groups and the patient is asked to flex their muscles voluntarily.  A computer analyzes the signals and determines if the muscles and associated nerves are working properly.

Even without such a test I can take an educated guess and say that my spine is out of kilter.  Just feeling my backbone shows that there's part of it that doesn't seem quite straight.  That implies a herniated disk or pinched nerve, both of which could cause the symptoms I'm experiencing.

As to how my spine got that way, the possibilities are numerous.  18 years ago I was a passenger in a car that was hit from behind and I was flung forward against my seat-belt.  As previously mentioned, I've spent most of my life using computers.  But whatever the reason I hope that the cause can be pinpointed and some sort of treatment is available.

I'm certainly not taking the same chance that a friend of mine took. She waited over 6 months to see a doctor about her numbness, which by that time had spread over her entire body, limited her motion, and was threatening her livelihood.  It turned out she had a herniated disk which required surgery to rectify, followed by months of rehab.

1 comment:

  1. I had a cracked disk in my neck that was seeping fluid. The fluid made a thread shape that touched my spinal cord and caused my shoulder to feel like glass in the socket and the whole left arm to spasm painfully. The correction involved surgery and removing a portion of the disk, implanting donor bone. Just be aware surgery may not be 100 percent like you were before. :(