Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,

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Headaches — pinched nerve and bonus maybes

I saw the neurologist today, and he determined that my headaches are being caused primarily by a pinched nerve on the left side of my neck. He poked the right side of my neck, and I had little reaction. He poked the same place on the left side of my neck, and I actually shouted out loud. It continued to hurt for about 5 minutes afterward.

He says he thinks I might be having two — possibly even three — kinds of headaches that are exacerbating each other. There's the pinched nerve, of course. Then he thinks that I may be unconsciously squinting my left eye due to the vision problem, and this may be causing muscle tension there. This seems very possible to me, since I have frequently caught myself actually watching tv with that eye closed without even realizing it. The third kind of headache he thought was possible was what he called a "rebound effect" being caused by the inconsistent way I'm taking the Tylenol #3 and Tylenol #4. He says I'm taking it often enough to have my body accustomed to it, and so when I go without it because I'm not having a headache, then my body rebounds with a headache because of a sort of withdrawal. This also seems very possible to me, since I did the same thing with the Xanax. I only take the Tylenol #3 or Tylenol #4 if my headache gets so bad that I can't stand it anymore, which is what I was doing with the Xanax and my anxiety. So I'm going to try to take the Tylenol before my headaches get that terrible.

He's sending me for an x-ray, because the pinched nerve can be caused by a bone spur on my spine. I'll be doing that tomorrow. He also wants me to wear a "soft collar" — kinda like a neck brace, but not as rigid — because apparently that can help prevent the headaches from the pinched nerve. It won't fix the problem, but it can help with the headaches. Now I just need to figure out where to buy this mythical "soft collar," because he told me I could get such a beast at any drugstore like Walgreens or CVS, but I went to both stores & they looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently I should go to a "medical supply store." Um ... right. So I'll stop by the big Walgreens tomorrow, and if they don't have it, then I'll look online. He's also sending me for physical therapy re: the pinched nerve, in case the cause is muscular rather than a bone spur.

He was also concerned because apparently my toes are a bit numb. He was poking me with a safety pin, and I said that maybe my socks were just thicker there at the toes, and he gave me a look that said, "Yeah, right." Later, I checked out my socks, and indeed they are the same thickness throughout. In fact, I wasn't even wearing matching socks, so the likelihood of their having the same pattern of greater toe thickness was slim. He's sending me for some blood tests re: this toe numbness, but I don't know what for. I'll look at the lab slip tomorrow & see if I can figure out what's written there. Right now I'm too tired. And I have a headache. Time for some Tylenol #4.

ETA: The neurologist I saw some months ago had also diagnosed a pinched nerve in the left side of my neck, which he said was causing the numbness on my left thigh and the increased reflex reactions. He said it was probably a bone spur caused by arthritis. At any rate, it's reassuring to see the two doctors who have had no contact with each other & haven't seen each other's records completely agreeing on something that's going on with me. So ... pinched nerve. The cause has yet to be determined, but the diagnosis seems likely to be correct.
Tags: central nervous system, doctors, headaches, neck, neurology, pinched nerve, tension, toes

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