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New to ASAP

Postby tjk5082 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:47 pm

Okay so here it goes:

I'm 22 studying Architectural Engineering and getting my integrated masters at the same time, projected to graduate in Fall 2012. Growing up I always played sports, hockey, soccer, golf, and I still do today. I was skinny growing up so I started lifting two years ago, lifting hard a consistently and put on 10 lbs fast, so summer of 2009 I was 145, in spring of 2010 I had a tingling feeling in my left arm, not sure what it was I ignored it and it went away for good. I lifted hard in summer of 2010, only being 160 lbs i could squat 315 and bench 225. But on July 26th I woke up and was eating a peanut butter sandwich before work and noticed my arm started to progressively get numb in the matter of 15 seconds. I stopped lifting completely maybe going like 10 times from July to december and my arm would only tingle when I was laying in awkward positions or hunched over doing homework for long periods of time.

My first move, went to a family doctor, bad move, they just referred me elsewhere, the chiropractor. I started going to him and the pain vanished, I had to go back every 4 weeks and around 3.5 weeks the pain would come back but in betweeen it was gone completely. I missed going for 8 weeks because of school and the pain was unbearable, I decided I needed a more permanent solution.

Second move, I got an MRI and did physical therapy. Right before I started physical therapy I felt a tingling in my toes, barely noticable, but it progressed and got worse. When my MRI results came back they found no herniation or anything however they found a small syrinx, of what size is unknown to me, and they requested I come back again in 6 months, this was in June. I did 2 months of PT with symptoms coming and going, and then finally I gave up and said I'm going to suck it up and live my life again.

Third move, suck it up and live life again, probably a bad move? Anyways I don't know if I made it worse but I started going to the gym again, only working my core muscles, abs and lower back, with some light weight upper back routines. Also every night I play pickup basketball for about an hour, this does not increase my symptoms at all. I felt when my arm was tingling or my neck was sore, that if I went to the gym, when I came back the symptoms would decrease dramatically, I felt loose and little to no pain or numbness. I started some heavy weights just doing 135 on the bench and squats, but my symptoms have increased, but nothing 2 ibuprofens can't take care of for 6 hours. I'm not doing heavy weights again but I probably will stick to my light weight exercise. ALso I can shoot my hunting bow which I have to pull back and it's 50lbs draw weight, and this does not increase the symptoms at all.

Things that decrease my symptoms:
-Laying down
-standing
-stretching cervical stretches and leg stretches
-exercising
-walking
-good posture
- 2 ibuprofens

Things that increase my symptoms:
-typing this, haha I'm on my bed hunched over
-writing for long periods of time
-thinking about it
-holding a phone to my ear
-stress

A little note on my leg tingling:
When I was in PT they said my leg tingling is due to my extremely tight hamstrings and it would make my hips sit irregular, I notice stretching my legs helps a lot to decrease the symptoms. They also found that my SI joint in my lower back was out of place sometimes, and I found a way to crack it myself and when my lower back hurts and my leg starts tingling I stretch until I hear and feel the joint do what ever it does and that alleviates the pain.

I am nervous about the future because I am so young, I wonder if I should get it checked out now instead of in December and get surgery, surgery scares the living day lights out of me, but also does living in a wheel chair. I don't know what to do or where to go next.

Thanks!
T.J.
tjk5082
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:49 pm

Re: New to ASAP

Postby karenb » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:36 am

T.J.

You mentioned that your first MRI found a small syrinx, but didn't mention what the second MRI showed (or was it the first MRI that was in June... I get confused these days! :lol: ). It's important to get a copy of your MRI report (and an actual copy of your MRI on disc, if possible) - that way any MD who treats you down the line can compare and see any progression.

My impression, from your note, is that it's probably time to lay off the weight training and focus on those things that make you feel better (with the possible exception of the ibuprofen, which only masks your symptoms...). If things continue to remain stable, it may just mean that you overdid it a bit (wait a decade or two... that word has more meaning then...).

My point is that your situation is hopefully a bumb back, aggravated by overdoing the weight training. If that's the case, then regular moderate exercise and activity in moderation, along with keeping your weight under control, should go a long way toward assuring your long-term health.

Remember, even if you do have SM (which I hope you don't), that's not a sentence that you'll end up in a wheelchair. But you do need to take care of yourself and your spinal cord in the mean time. (This is coming from little miss "do what I say, not what I did..." - who's also the same lady who put up grab-bars in her attic while re-wiring her house so she wouldn't accidentally fall through the ceiling because she'd left her cane behind!)

My point - live every day to the fullest, but remember to use some moderation when it comes to weight and your spine. It already has some "issues"...

Best wishes, and please keep us posted about your progress!

Karen
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Posts: 645
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:41 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Re: New to ASAP

Postby tjk5082 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:38 am

Karen,

Thanks for all your support, I feel I need that more than anything because since I've only had one MRI (yeah I just had the one in june, a second will be in december) a second MRI will really tell me what's going on. But the numbness and tingling in just 3 out of the 5 fingers is that odd? I seem to wake up at night with dead arms, mostly because i roll on my stomach and fortunately my arms get stuck under my. This morning for the first time, I woke up an those same three fingers (middle, ring, and pinky) were completely numb and it was hard to move them, I just massage them lightly for a bit and they eventually came back. I never wake up with numbness, rarely, and if I do it's just like a dead arm or dead hand. I am just interested in seeing if this is a circulatory problem and not due to the syrinx, however that wouldn't explain the stiffness in my neck.

I think this site helps a lot because I write down what I am feeling and what has affected me instead of just thinking about it. It's like I'm documenting whats going on, I apologize if I ever get too wordy.

-T
tjk5082
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:49 pm

Re: New to ASAP

Postby karenb » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:05 pm

T.J.

Feel free to ramble... I know I do :lol:

The numbness you describe (middle, ring, & pinky) doesn't sound odd at all... it actually sounds like it could be something as basic as compression/irritation of the ulnar nerve. (Loosely speaking, the ulnar nerve connects those three fingers to the spinal cord, passing through the elbow area.) This irritation can occur if you rest weight on your elbows a lot (for example, putting pressure on your elbows when typing or reading). One way to try to alleviate the symptoms is as simple as to try to avoid putting so much pressure (or for so long a time) on those elbows. If it continues, of course, you'll need to mention it to your Neurologist - there are tests he can do to determine if that's what's going on and also the best way to treat it.

Your arms going to sleep at night sounds like one of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, but it is also common to other overuse injuries. You might want to evaluate the ergonomics of your typing & reading environments - are you really using good posture and have your hands positioned properly? If not, that can cause night-time numbness. The inflammation that develops during the day due to overuse or mis-use continues at night, but the excess fluid associated with the inflammation tends to collect/pool/"puddle". If the excess fluid collects in certain areas of the arm where the nerve has very little space already, it can cause the sensation of numbness or dead arm. Again, if evaluating your posture/typing/reading positions doesn't help, you probably need to discuss it with your Neurologist.

It really is possible to have SM and Carpal Tunnel Syndrom (and/or Ulnar Nerve Syndrome) together. I have lower-body symptoms from my syrinx, and had Carpal Tunnel symptoms in my left hand until I finally had to have surgery performed to release the compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Karen
karenb
 
Posts: 645
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 9:41 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Re: New to ASAP

Postby tjk5082 » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:24 pm

Well I think now I am more trying to just figure out the possibilities of it not being SM, I hear you can have a syrinx and not have SM, I'm kinda banking on that. What differs with me is most people say increased activity makes their symptoms flare up, mine is reversed, I feel looser and there isn't as much pain. However the stiffening of the left side of my neck isn't really explained by a circulatory disorder.

I feel this syrinx is making me into a hypochodriac, I research it all the time and I feel the more I do the more the pain happens, not once did the word syrinx cross my mind for like 3 weeks, this some time after my MRI, and I could barely recall having the symptoms. I feel when I get bored or agitated at work I start to ponder and then I think about it and then there are all the symptoms. I'm just trying to do my best to put it aside, and keep living and wait until my next MRI. Are there syrinx's that don't affect people as much as others? The one they found in me was found during a cervical MRI and they said it was very small, not sure exactly how big though.
tjk5082
 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:49 pm


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