Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What a nerve

I have had shoulder pains on and off for a couple of years now. I put it down to sleeping awkwardly when I awoke unable to turn my head to right of centre. In an extreme case one day, the only way I could get out of bed was to roll on to the floor and claw my way up the wall until I was on my hind legs. I always thought it was a strained trapezius muscle. It usually took a week or two to right itself.

Anyway, push came to shove recently. Beloved Wife instructed me to go and see a neurologist after my right thumb went numb. You do know that the Goat has opposable thumbs, don't you? Over at Welcare Hospital in Dubai, I was poked, prodded with sharp instruments, had my blood pressure taken and was quizzed about my dissolute lifestyle, smoking and drinking habits and so forth. Incidentally, 120/80 is apparently a good, if not surprising, blood pressure for a middle-aged, lardarsed stress-puppy.

Then it was off to X-ray to have my neck irradiated by röntgen rays. This was followed by something called a Nerve Conduction Test, in which up to 100mA was pushed into my fingers to see how much pain I could tolerate how the nerves in my hands and arms were performing. Apparently I have two pinched and inflamed nerves in my unnaturally-straight neck, all of which account for the aching shoulder, numb thumb and bouts of pins-and-needles in my right hand and forearm. The neurologist also said he reckoned I had carpal tunnel syndrome, although I don't believe it. He prescribed me some painkillers and also some new drug to bring down the nerve inflammation. The latter has a monstrous list of side effects that includes diarrhoea, constipation, drowsiness, sleeplessness, hunger pangs, loss of appetite, euphoria, depression... You get the picture. I was also prescribed a wrist splint to use whenever I bent my wrist: all day at work, and all night when asleep. Someone at the dive club noticed the splint and, for obscure and esoteric reasons, asked to borrow my DVD when I'd done with it. He mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like "winker's cramp."

After three days I gave up on the wrist splint. I am annoyed to discover that I'm allergic to neoprene if I wear it for 23 hours a day. A nasty attack of dermatitis wherever the splint had been has been giving me fun and games for a week. Not wishing to risk an infection, I treated the open sores - yes, really - with Betadine solution. This seems to have worked, but I'm now on moisturising hand cream with added vitamin B12 to get rid of the squamous skin caused by the iodine.

I trust wearing a wetsuit for an hour or two won't produce a similar effect over my entire body.

Meanwhile my right thumb is still numb. Partly to appease the carpal tunnel syndrome theory, I have moved my computer mouse over to the other side of the desk, reversed the buttons, and I'm forcing myself to use the mouse left-handed. On-screen targeting is slow and haphazard, but it's gradually getting better.

I'm rather hoping that a week away from my desk will relieve the pressure on my nerves - in all senses of the word.



Rose in Dubai said...

Go find yourself a chiropractor. They'll fix you in minutes..... well, maybe a few sessions but no nasty squitty side effects and no rubber either.

Gnomad said...

Always said you were a stiff necked old goat :)

the Gnomad emphatically seconds the motion that you go and see a chiropractor - not an osteopath or any other type but definitely a chiropractor.

On the first occasion the Gnomad went to a chiropractor he walked out a whole inch taller than he went in, such were the wrinkles and stresses that were relieved from the gnomadic spine. The process did feel like a no-holds-barred wrestling bout and lasted an hour and a half.

The ease of movement the Gnomad felt after the first treatment was very similar to the feeling of ease one experiences walking in fresh air having just waded through a swimming pool neck deep in water. It kept getting better with subsequent visits, although never again in quite such extraordinary amounts.

There is no guarantee that the exercise will be comfortable, the Gnomad rather suspects the reverse initially, but in the Gnomad's experience it will definitely be worthwhile.

Mars said...

get well soon :)

samuraisam said...

What mouse are you using? (only asking if you spend a long time on your computer)
You could try another one, I used to get hints of RSI until I spent a large sum on my mouse/keyboard/mousepad.

Seabee said...

The mouse moving strategy could help. I have a dodgy right shoulder that was giving me more regular problems than usual, I eventually moved the mouse position - voila, back to what passes for normal.

Mrs Seabee had similar problems, did most of the tests you did, then ignored the advice and simply moved her computer-working-positions. That did the trick.

Fingers crossed for you...

Grumpy Goat said...

Thanks for everyone's advice. If I'm not better after finishing the current course of drugs and having a holiday I'll seek out a chiropractor.

Holiday information, and photos too with any luck, will follow in a later blog post.

Sandie said...

Hope you feel better, you are not having a nice week at all!

Ian the Dog said...

So you're back then! I've just had a session with a highly recommended chiropractor, Dr Charles Jones at California Chiropractic & Sports Medicine (04.4298292). Very scientific, highly knowledgeable and has many exciting ways to inflict suffering, on the 'no pain, no gain' premise.

Anonymous said...

After years of suffering, the m-i-l has been going to physical therapy for the past 3 addition to exercises (am getting a bicep!!!) They use ultrasound and a neuroprobe. Don't know if such an approach would work with pinched nerves, but a lot less risky than chiropractor. Hopy you all had a great bumps, bruises, mysterious bug bites etc.


The opinions expressed in this weblog are the works of the Grumpy Goat, and are not necessarily the opinions shared by any person or organisation who may be referenced. Come to that, the opinions may not even be those of the Grumpy Goat, who could just be playing Devil's Advocate. Some posts may be of parody or satyrical [sic] nature. Nothing herein should be taken too seriously. The Grumpy Goat would prefer that offensive language or opinions not be posted in the comments. Offensive comments may be subject to deletion at the Grumpy Goat's sole discretion. The Grumpy Goat is not responsible for the content of other blogs or websites that are linked from this weblog. No goats were harmed in the making of this blog. Any resemblance to individuals or organisations mentioned herein and those that actually exist may or may not be intentional. May contain nuts.