If you know me well you have most probably heard me talk about my sometimes debilitating neck pain and migraines. What you may not know is that I was in two accidents as a child that damaged my neck.
The first was when I fell down stairs and woke up two days later with a bump on the occipital and a bruise on the brain. It caused me great pain to think or to talk at first and ever since the area is super sensitive to touch and very tender.
If I put my hair up I would instantly get headaches. I remember crying a lot from pain and discomfort similar to migraines plus nausea, sound and light sensitivity. I didn’t realise at the time but I was later diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia.
The second accident I was in when a pre-teen was a car accident. I was sleeping in a sleeping bag on the back seat and the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Because I wasn’t secured my head hit the roof (which was not carpeted) several times and caused a great crunching noise and left me with a huge headache for days .
When I walked my neck would click click click and I started to have problems sleeping at night due to stiff neck and pinched nerves. Migraines were common and the neuralgia flared up a lot when I was physically or emotionally stressed or especially when I carried heavy items.
When I moved to Tasmania the cold weather made everything worse as my body tensed in the cold weather. I kept getting sick and spent most of my day in bed to keep warm.
My husband’s 92 year old aunt was petrified that the 100 year old house made of horse hair and plaster was going to burn down due to dodgy wiring and she wouldn’t allow us to heat the home.
I would work on the computer from my bed with electric blanket and soon developed sciatica pain as well as pinched nerves in the neck.
Whilst I was in Tasmania I started going to a Chiropractor for manipulations three days a week. It made me so dizzy and confused afterwards and the trip home on public transport wasn’t fun.
After two years in Tasmania I moved back to my home town of Wollongong New South Wales where it was warmer and my health improved but my neck and occipitals issue grew progressively worse.
My chiropractor told me not to carry anything heavier than a piece of paper and that I was not to carry Shopping home from the supermarkets.
When I did it felt as if there was a tearing feeling and the pain was unbearable. I had muscle wastage from the neck problems and some days I didn’t get out of bed.
In 2007 or so I bought my first Mobility Scooter with money loaned to me from my paternal Grandmother. It was $2100 and came with a three wheeler for my husband. It was a god send and gave me a feeling of liberation that I was missing.
I would use it to visit my mother and go shopping or on the train. We have bought two more since then, including one small three wheeler which we can take on a bus.
In November 2011 I moved with my husband to Cleveland in Brisbane South-East. At first I was visiting with my aunt and uncle and then we found accommodation for 3 months and we decided to extend the lease because we loved it here so much.
I work part time as a website developer and provide social media services. I spend up to 18-20 hours a day at times at a computer and manage neck pain with heat, vibration and ibuprofen when I can’t tolerate the pain any longer.
My mother also suffered from severe neck pain and I would often massage her and she taught me how to release some of the tension in the muscles in her and she helped me to train my husband how to do so on me. Unfortunately Philip can only do a few minutes at a time now due to arthritis but in the past he provided great relief.
I am fortunate enough to receive three free Physio appointments every six month for free as part of chronic disease management plan. I love when they do occipitals massage and apply heat. It is the only time when I don’t feel pain or discomfort. Bliss.
Recently I had an X-ray of my skull and you can see the lump on my occipital region from the accident when I was a child.
I am to have a cat scan in preparation for my appointment with a neurologist that I have been referred to. I saw the neurologist when he had an appointment with my husband and I described my fall down the stairs as a child and the bruise on my brain and he said I should be referred to see him.
If I cancel an event or appointment due to ‘neck ache’ please understand that it is chronic neck pain and a condition I try my best to manage. I have some days when the pinched nerves and inflammation is worse and I just cannot function.
I know some people are sick of hearing about my neck pain and annoyed when it interferes but it is just a part and parcel of my life now. I am spending less time now on the computer, I am paying off a $2000 vibrating heat pad and hopefully soon I can see the Physio on a regular basis.
Thanks for reading and for being a friend.