Yep, that is basically the gist of my appointments this week. I laugh, as people I know look at pictures of me and comment that I haven’t aged since high school. Well, even though my face may appear the same, apparently my delicate skeleton is telling a different story.
After dealing with shoulder/neck/back pain for…oh let’s just say way too long, I decided to return to a chiropractor. I saw one a few years ago after experiencing a piercing pain that wouldn’t allow me to move my arm one day at work. Things went well, except for my bank account, so the appointments stopped once I felt I returned to “normal”. Fast forward to now and I find myself returning because I can’t seem to shake the pain I am having in my neck and shoulders. Ironically, the day of my first appointment, I wasn’t having any pain. Sounds a lot like taking your car into the mechanic, right? Well, even though I felt there was nothing wrong that day, my chiropractor noticed something. She went ahead and took some x-rays. I wasn’t very pleased with the results, to say the least.
To sum up my x-ray readings – If I were, say in my 60’s, what we are looking at wouldn’t be so out of the ordinary. But I’m not in my 60’s.
The first x-ray is of my thoracic spine. My x-ray is on the left. The x-ray on the right is a normal thoracic x-ray. Notice the slight angle of my spine to the left? Yeah, I was standing straight up.
The second x-ray is taken of my cervical spine through the mouth cavity. The first x-ray is mine. The labeled one is a normal x-ray. See the Bifid Spinous Process labeled on the normal x-ray and how it is centered? Mine is not. (That’s the little bone that looks like it may be my tongue…it is not my tongue.)
My third x-ray was the worst of the three. It is a side view of my cervical spine. Looking at the first picture, it seems normal, except the “C” shape it should have isn’t as quite pronounced. But when you look at the second picture, the zoomed in x-ray, you should notice a difference. In the normal x-ray (the labeled one), the vertebrae are somewhat even-spaced, and by spaced I mean there are defined SPACES between each one. If you go back to mine, the top two vertebrae seem ok. But the next two…well they are starting to fuse together and have osteophyte formations (aka bone spurs). I was told I am in Phase 3 (out of 4 phases) of Degenerative Disc Disease. If I reach phase 4, well let’s just say that’s a really bad thing that comes with many problems.
So as I sat there taking all of this in, I thought back to the job I just left. A job I held for six years and absolutely loved. The job that initially sent me to a chiropractor a few years back. Well, let’s say that desk setup wasn’t very ideal. The portion of the desk I worked on was to my left. I leaned to my left often. Too often. In fact, regularly. I leaned left to fill out paperwork and turned my head to the right to see my computer. Six years of bad posture. Six years of slowly warping my skeleton into that of a sixty-something-year-old.
So now I begin regular treatment in the hopes that the majority of this damage can be undone. Of course it is impossible to undo all of the damage, but if I can remain disciplined with my therapy, there is a good chance I can not only keep myself from limited mobility, but can also progressively return this delicate frame I rely on back to a somewhat normal state. The first challenge…changing the way I have slept for 42 years. Yeah, this is gonna be fun!