I'M A CIRCUS FREAK!
I had my second visit with a new doctor today. He's a licensed chiropractor and master acupuncturist. When I met with him on Thursday I was impressed, to say the least. For the first time in a year and a half I was filled with hope that I could finally be free from the neck pain that has dragged me down for too long. He said he knew exactly what was wrong with me and exactly how to treat it! He took some plain film x-rays and asked me to bring him a copy of my MRI. He assured me that he KNEW my pain was real and that I didn't have to live the rest of my life in pain. He told me about this decompression machine they have and use, and have had great success with, specifically with Degenerative Disc Disease.
I left the office Thursday close to excited at the prospect of finding real relief from my pain. Over the weekend the pain was almost unbearable; I managed to make it through though and went to my 11am appointment today hopeful that I would get some relief from the ultrasound therapy they had done on Thursday. I did feel slightly better after the ultrasound, but I still have a lot of stiffness and tension in my neck.
Today after the 'therapy' as they called it, I went down to talk to the doctor and go over my MRI and x-rays he had taken on Thursday. One of the first statements the chiropractor made to me was that I had a lot of things wrong! I'm thinking "No kidding!" But then again, we weren't talking about my mental health now were we? ;-)
As I sat down, the chiropractor told me that he wanted to show me something. He put the x-rays up on the wall and pointed to both sides of my neck. It would seem that I actually have 26 ribs, where MOST people only have 24. There are two extra ribs, one on each side of my neck. They are small...maybe about the size of a nickel each. The doctor jokingly called them 'riblets' (bringing to mind those delicious little morsels at Applebees) in an effort to explain to me that they were not a cause for concern, since they were small and likely full-grown already.
Dr. Hubbard (for that is my wonderful chiropractor's name) explained that these extra ribs weren't causing me pain and would not hurt me at all.
Side note, as you are beginning to see, I have a problem...I like to use parentheses. Perhaps it's better to say I like to 'overuse' them. OK, back to the topic at hand...
He told me that the 'spare ribs' (ha ha...) sit right around where the bottom of a helmet would lay. So, if I were a hockey or football player, or participated in another sport where helmets were required, my risk of becoming paralyzed would be great. He said that young football players who get hit hard in the head or knocked down and become paralyzed most likely have those extra ribs. When they are hit just right (say with a helmet pressing down on the ribs), they press against the spine and can cause irreversible damage. He explained that it was important for me to know this, since I am a carrier for this genetic anomaly and it is possible for my children to inherit it. But fortunately for me, the extra ribs are not contributing to my neck pain.
He also showed me my MRI (gee it would have been nice if one of the other 5 doctors had done this) and the spot where my spine is indented. The two discs that are bulging are pressing against my nerve and this is what is causing the pain. My spine has become indented because the discs are bulging and this has forced my body to overcompensate and put extra strain on my neck and spine.
If my body responds to the decompression treatment and therapy, we will move forward. If it does not, this may mean that what the MRI showed back in August has changed significantly and a new MRI will need to be performed. I am praying though that this treatment works. If the MRI shows significant changes, such as a herniated disc, it is likely that surgery would be the only option for treatment. And once you have discs removed, you lose flexibility in the neck and it will just create more disc problems. So I am hoping that we can reverse the deterioration, heal the discs and I can finally be free of this pain. It is the most hope I have had in quite some time. I am very thankful that I found this new chiropractor, and better still, he is located only 5 minutes away from my office.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Dr. Hubbard. He made me feel I was important and that my pain mattered. He made me believe that he truly wanted me to feel better and would do whatever he could to ensure that I did. So, if you are looking for a chiropractor in the St. Louis area, I cannot praise this man more.