I Think I Have A Protruding Disc

About seven years ago I was standing in a bar and noticed a deep, dull pain on the right side of my neck. I’ve had it ever since.

I was doing a considerable amount of running in those days and was accustomed to various aches and pains, at least from the waist down. Especially my hip and heel: it’s the damnedest thing but I’ve never had a knee problem.

Anyway, I did the smart thing and started stuffing toilet paper into my tennis shoes. My feet have very little arch and are completely “squishy”: when I stand the arch disappears entirely. My self-diagnosis was that my feet were protesting about the lay of the land and wanted new scenery and only toilet paper stuffed into my shoes could provide it.

After looking at my x-ray a doctor diagnosed me with what she called “military neck”: the vertebrae of my neck curve the wrong direction, like a soldier standing ramrod straight. I forget which direction your neck bones are supposed to curve but mine were definitely curved the wrong way, like a backward question mark at the beginning of an interrogative statement in Spanish. I suspect the reason is that the doctor and her assistant were attractive young women (this was in Boulder, Colorado) and as I stood there posing shirtless for the x-ray my male vanity kicked in. I remember it kicking in.

Among the the activities I avoid are push-ups. The day after doing push-ups (or later the same day) the pain becomes more pronounced. Sitting at the computer for extended periods also exacerbates the problem. I still do that, however. Priorities.

I just googled “disc, condition, back” and came upon this. The woman is holding the right side of her neck, which is the same side of as my neck pain, lending credibility to the site in my eyes. Stretching seems to provide temporary relief and also a sense of energy and relaxation. I rarely do it.

A friend of mine sometimes speaks to groups and asks people in the audience to raise their hand if they believe drinking 10 glasses of water each day would improve their health. Hands go up. Then he asks them to raise their hand if they actually drink 10 glasses of water each day. Hands go down.


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