Thursday, November 23, 2006


I was rear-ended at a stoplight on a rainy evening; August 24, 2005 The impact was severe enough to cave in the "battle bumper" on my car and drive it into the bumper of the car. It felt something like this looks (but not as funny).

The next day, I had some pain I attributed to the same kind of pain I used to feel back in my high school football days after a good hard hit. A few days later when the pain did not go away as I thought it would, my wife insisted I go to the doctor. I was x-rayed and MRI'd. It was discovered that i had some cervical straightening and the MRI showed what looked like some slightly herniated discs. I was advised to check into the hospital. BAD IDEA! I actually felt WORSE after 5 days in the hospital than when i checked in. So for 6 months, I was barbecued, electrocuted, injected into my shoulder and back muscles (probably the most painful thing I ever felt), massaged by a vibrating table (reminded me of a few cheap motels in the states), poked with accupuncture needles, laid out on a table and neck-stretched and name it...i have probably done it.
Now, more than 1 year later, I still have almost daily pain. It feels about like someone has the short end of a baseballbat pressed against my shoulderblade and spine. I get headaches about once a week and about once a month I get a doosey of a headache that usually forces me to bed for a few hours. I have been taking pain medication now since the beginning of the year. The pain is not debilitating it is just annoying (How would you feel if somone were walking around behind you with a bad stuck in your back) but the worst thing is the numbness in my left arm and fingers. It comes and goes and it is worst at night when I lie down or when I am working at the computer (something do often for my job as well as for this blog) Sometimes it is a tingling or slight numbness and sometimes it feels like someone is sticking needles in my hands.
So the doctor says that I have an "Internal Disc Disruption" which is sort of like a cracked head gasket. The stuff inside the disc leaks out during certain movements and apparently, that fluid somehow causes the pain (More on IDD here). This condition is not visible on either X-Ray or MRI (not yet) and is apparently not as bad as it could be so I guess I should be thankful since some people have this problem and can't even move. On the Oswestry Scale I hit about a 23-25 most of the time which is a "moderate disability." I can't even imagine what it must be like to have a score above 40. So, when the pain is worse than usual, I take pain medications for pain; right now Zydone, which is really too mild to be much help so I take them with a couple of Tylenol ER and together that seems to help on the bad days.
The doctor told me that with this type of IDD case, 33% of people get better, 33% get worse and 33% stay the same...this doesn't seem too good to me because that means a 66% chance that I could have this pain or worse for the rest of my life and surgery is not recommended in this situation unless it gets worse (Oswestry close to 50)...So basically, I just have to bear it and hope it goes away.
There is one thing that really seems to relieve the pain long enough to make sleeping easier. At the recommendation of my doctor to apply "moist heat" to the effected area. A nighttime trip to the local public bath and a nice long turn in the jacuzzi bath does the trick. I am a regular at the local 'sauna' (which is how Koreans refer to certain kinds of public baths)and use every opportunity I can get to visit area Hot Springs for a bit of relief. Hooray for Balneotherapy! Unfortunately, I can't sit in a bath all day at work so it is only temporary relief.

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