Living with Reversed Cervical Lordosis
hello friends, this is merely a blog post to document my journey to self healing. It is a moment for myself to reflect inwards. To reflect upon my past and observe what is currently happening in my mind and body.
On September 14th of 2018 (a Tuesday), I began taking two medications, NSAID and muscle relaxants as prescribed by my doctor for my muscle spasms, as indicated by clinical symptoms of chronic upper back and shoulder pains with tenderness upon palpation— a pain which has been ongoing for over a year or so. On that same day after work, I did an X-ray of my cervical spine to rule out possible underlying conditions that may be contributing to the pain. And the result was, my X-ray shows that I have a reversed cervical lordosis. In short, I have lost the natural curve of my cervical spine which is essential in providing support for our whole body, protects our nerves, and allows us to move freely. Looking at my X-ray, my neck appears to be pretty darn straight.
Prior to seeking help from medical health professionals. I thought my pains were contributed by overuse in my level of physical activities. Thinking that taking proper rest away from the gym, including yoga, a practice that I love and hold dearly to my life would resolve the issue. The pain actually worsened, traveling up towards my shoulders and even my neck, leading to throb-like headaches. It affected my sleep, my daily functions, and mood.
Seeking to heal, I turned to massage as therapy. I also tried acupuncture for the very first time but only once... because I find the experience of massages to feel so much more rewarding and therapeutic. Halleluya to those hard and painful ones! They’re my favs. Go hard or go home✌🏻. Anyways, weeks or months has gone by and towards the end of my massage package my pain remains. Dumbfounded, I seeked some personal advice from my chinese masseuse, and they advised me that massages alone won’t be enough. To loosen up the tight knots in my trapezius muscles and other surrounding areas, I needed to bring movement back into my life. And they were right. I went back to working out in the gym and felt some temporary relief. For once in a long while I actually began to feel hopeful towards my recovery again.
To be honest, getting myself to the gym was not easy. Everyday was a mental challenge. Fighting a body that is constantly holding stress and tention was like watching a mother trying to tame a rebellious child. I was only able to get through my workouts because in my mind I knew that my body will thank me once I finished it. And I did. I learned that the more my body tries to resist movement, the more I actually needed to push myself to do it. It was also the constant effort of remaining a positive mindset that gave me courage to face this not-so-well phase of my life.
I think it is also this positive mindset that has done me a disfavor, because a part of me refuses to admit and acknowledge my “imperfect” health condition. It takes great courage to admit my imperfection. To open up and be vulnerable like I am doing here. In the eyes of my friends and family and the public, I held an image of a girl who is always active and bubbly. One time, a lady at the gym even noted that I have a sponk to my walk... It is frustrating to realize that my health is not where it used to be. Nonetheless, whenever my pain didn’t increase any further. I felt extremely grateful and thankful for my body.
So how has it been like since I’ve recieved medical care and treatment?
The medications did wonders. Especially in the beginning that is. I actually woke up without feeling any pain! No joke. The pain has been persisting for so long that I almost forgot how it felt like to be pain free. I took NSAID after dinner and muscle relaxant right before bed. I also started to attend physical therapy sessions. Actually I’m not going to lie, I’ve been wanting to go to PT for awhile now. Not for the pain but simply because I have a general interest in other health professions that deals with anatomy and physiology, and all that good stuff. Upon the review of my X-ray report and physical examination by my PT, she told me that the result of my reversed cervical spine health are due to chronic stress related muscle spasms. Long hours of work and study time on the computer led to poor postural habits, and dealing with high stress volumes as a full-time college student and worker certainly did not help either. As you can see, whether you’re conscious of it or not, stress can wreak havoc in your health. I certainly wasn’t aware of it at the time.
Sometime last week I tried to wane myself off the meds, but two nights ago I found myself waking up in the middle of the night in pain. It took me awhile before I was able to fall back asleep again. Today at work, I also felt my head began to throb as I began to feel the tension in my back climb back again. I guess I need to be on the meds for a little longer then. I also made a last minute PT appointment after work. They’ve consistently been extremely welcome and gladly took me in. Huge gratitude to this amazing medical team!!
Receiving medical care in conjunction to maintaining a physically active lifestyle has been the best change that has happened in my recent life. Today, I promised myself that everyday I have to add some sort of physical activity, whether if it’s doing benches or squatting at the gym, yoga, or even walking around in the city. Any movement is encouraged and welcomed. Everyday I am experimenting and listening to my body. Checking in to see what my body needs and revising as needed.
For the past 6-7 weeks I focused mainly in training in the gym. During my days without the meds, the same weight as last weeks’ squats (105lbs) felt extremely heavy on my shoulders, so I made some new adjustments to my training. This week I committed myself to reintroduce an hour of yoga practice daily and slightly lowered my intensity (in terms of weight) in the gym. In addition, knowing from personal experience, the impact of stress on health. My yoga practice now has has an emphasis on the quality of breathing. Taking it nice and slow, and being present with every move and breath that I take, I allow myself to flow with ease and mindfulness. I will update my journey of healing in future blog post.
Wish you all good health and happiness. Thank you for reading! This is a very personal and intimate blog post that I am sharing with you today. I hope this brings you some inspiration to introduce movement into your daily life, for a more healthier and radiant you. Namaste!
Much love and smiles,