I Pinched a Nerve in my Neck

At the start of this month I pinched a nerve at the bottom of my neck. At the time I didn't know what had happened.

I went to bed as normal (albeit with a sore back from training) and when I woke up I had a severe pain down my left shoulder, arm and hand. It felt like pins and needles, so I assumed that I had just slept in a funny position and it would get better.

It took me about an hour to get out of bed and another 20 minutes or so to get dressed. I really had no idea what was wrong with it so didn't go to the hospital right away.

Thankfully I made the sensible decision the next day and went to the hospital in the afternoon. The two doctors who saw me took some x-rays and tried their best to figure out what was wrong but they really didn't have a clue and asked me to come back on the Friday to see the orthopaedic surgeon.

6 days later I was back. The surgeon x-rayed my neck and didn't find any problems. He then said that it is probably just nerve damage and I should be fine in 6 weeks. He started to walk out the room before I stopped him to ask some questions. When I asked if it was possible to do any exercise he said ‘yes just do what you can', and then left the room.

As you can imagine, I was a little pissed off with having to wait 5 days to see a doctor who clearly didn't care about how I was feeling. Around this time my own doctor prescribed pain killers. Unfortunately they were not strong enough so I was only getting 3 or 4 hours sleep a night.

After a few days I finally went to see a local chiropractor. They performed an EMG scan to determine where the pressure was on my spine. This illustrated the problem I had with the left side of my neck and shoulder and the lower back problem I had got from training. They gave me great advice as to what to do and what not to do. They also stressed that I should ice my neck and shoulder every hour because the inflamed tissue was causing most of the pain (something which 3 doctors at my local hospital failed to tell me).

My EMG levels can be seen in the image below. Mild pressure is shown in green, moderate in blue and severe in red. Black levels are beyond severe.

Pinched Nerve

I have since got stronger painkillers from the hospital as the original ones I got were doing nothing and this week began seeing the chiropractor 3 times a week. I've also managed to do some work this week. Which was good as the pain was so severe that I was unable to type (and hence, not do any work) for about 2-3 weeks.

I'm certainly a long way from recovery. I can't even think about when I can start training again, however I'm glad that I'm getting a good sleep now and I can do some work with all this free time I now have :)

If you are ever unfortunate enough to hurt your back or do some nerve damage, my advice to you is to go and see a chiropractor or an osteopath (and ice the problem area frequently). Your doctor is obviously your first port of call however I would encourage you to seek a second opinion from someone who specialises in the problem you have. It will cost you a lot of money but it will save you a lot of time, pain and energy in the long run :)

Kevin