Little did I know when I awoke on that wee hour Sunday morning hanging upside down, held up by a lap seat belt, that it was the beginning of years of headaches and pain from a severe neck strain/whiplash. Being 23 years old at the time had it's positives and negatives. I healed quickly on the surface and did not experience any pain or problems for years. Had I known the damage that was done at the time, there may have been something that could have been done to minimize the damage. I didn't even get my neck x-rayed at the hospital. The emergency team was more concerned about the multiple head injuries and bone deep gash on my face.
35 years later, I find myself in daily severe pain and limited range of motion due to 5 foraminal narrowings, 4 bulging discs, a foraminal peri-neural cyst, and degenerating discs with arthritis from C-2 through C-7. After many attempts to restore more range of motion and minimal pain such as anti-inflammatory and pain medications, chiropractic, traction, inversion table, meditation, deep breathing, massage, exercise, relaxation, imagery, and heat, my PCP ordered an MRI. When the extent of damage was discovered I was referred to the Spine Center at St. John's in Springfield.
Dr. Ellis has me scheduled me for a diagnostic bilateral facet block on Tuesday, October 13th. This is a temporary deadening of the facet nerves to determine if the pain is coming from the nerves. If so, about a week later I will undergo a bilateral facet cauterization. The nerve endings on each side of the discs (C-3 to C-7) will be cauterized so they will not send pain signals to the brain. This procedure is known to last from 6 months to 2 years.
Although I will be under the influence of a drug similar to Versad I will write the second part of this blog series to report how this procedure went. Until sometime Tuesday, I'll be hurting and relying on good old Tramadol. Stay tuned.