Cervical degenerative disc disease without compression

by John Dooley
(Old Bridge, NJ)

I just ordered your DVD on carpal tunnel and have another issue.

Diagnosed with cervical degenerative disc disease without compression. Pain, mostly on head rotation, is not at all sharp and feels more like a muscle or tendon issue.

I wonder if the pain might be unrelated to the disc problem and whether you have any advice on neck pain.

I am inclined to try icing as I doubt it could hurt anything.


Joshua Answers:

Hi John. Your DVD will ship on Monday.

As far as neck issues, my first round of suggestions is to go out right now and get two books.

The first is '7 Steps To A Pain Free Life' by Dr. Robin McKenzie. I don't really like the title, but it's an absolute life saver for bulging and ruptured disc issues.

I don't know what you have going on specifically, but I'd do what it says in the cervical section of that book and see what happens.

The second book is 'Healing Back Pain' by Dr. John Sarno. He has a very interesting perspective on 'degenerative disc disease' that I find incredibly valuable.

They're both quick reads, and between the two of them, they got me off of two months on the floor, in two days.

So there's that.

Moving on, I don't put much weight on the 'degenerative' part. I do put a lot of weight on muscles and connective tissue structures being TOO TIGHT for TOO LONG. That's the Tendonitis dynamic, meaning a progressive
mechanism of increasing tightness and pain.

I'll have a Whiplash ebook out before too long here that you will find very helpful.

So yes, Ice. Frequently throughout the day, for just a couple minutes at a time. More repetitions is better than just leaving it on for a long time once or twice.

Also, start going through your cervical range of motion several times a day. Light, easy, don't push it, just explore where you move freely and where you don't. Stay in the freely range, and as your body sees you move without pain, it will let you go a little farther, then a little farther.

Tell me more about your Carpal Tunnel. I bet you a dollar your Carpal Tunnel Symptoms are a lot related to your neck issues.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Feb 22, 2010
PART 2 - carpal tunnel diagnosis - Cervical degenerative disc disease without compression
by: John

Thanks for your quick reply.

I have already ordered the books you recommended and begun ice dips.

My carpal tunnel was diagnosed after a nerve conduction test which went well and caused no pain.

I believe the carpal tunnel started with an injury to my fingers several years ago--which I ignored until recently. I attempted to grasp a falling dish which was wet so my fingers met no resistence and were wrenched in the process. As time went by numbness, without pain to speak of crept up my arm to the elbow which was also flagged as a problem by the nerve test.

Reading of the intense pain others experience I am fortunate to be dealing only with discomfort but it's not likely to improve without effort so I welcome any additional advice or comments--thanks.


Joshua Comments:

Well, in general, I agree that it's not going to improve all by itself. Not much anyway.

Did you have surgery on the wrist with numbness was all the way up to the elbow?

If the problem is at the carpal tunnel, that wouldn't cause numbness up higher, and again points up to constriction up at the neck/chest/shoulder.

I would put all immediate attention on slowly/gently stretching out the front and front/side of the neck.

Let me know how that feels when you do that.

Feb 22, 2010
PART 3 - more on the arms and neck - Cervical degenerative disc disease without compression
by: John

You've jogged my memory. After the nerve test I was told that there was a problem with the median nerve, that's the carpal tunnel I think, and another nerve at the elbow, the name of which I don't recall and that's for both arms.

The most disturbing symptom is that both arms go quite numb when I sleep at night which I thought was due to rolling around and sleeping on the arms but the same thing happens when I catch a nap in the reclining chair with my arms at my sides.

After four days of icing I think there is a little improvement. The doctor had recommended wrist splints which didn't sound very promising but I bought them today. I wouldn't consider surgery except as a last resort.

The neck pain, which can be quite sharp, had been easier to ignore and avoid since it mostly occurs at maximum rotation but the degree of comfortable rotation is decreasing as time goes by. As you said it may all be related.

I really do appreciate your excellent web site and individual advice. I had been resigned to accept what I thought were mostly just the ravages of time but am now greatly encouraged to believe that relief is possible.


Joshua Comments:

Hi John.

So, two questions.

1. How old are you?

2. Do you have any history of whiplash injury, car crash, anything traumatic to the neck?

I bet you anything your carpal tunnel issue is coming from your neck.

Thus I'm probably right when I say that there's nothing wrong with your median or ulnar nerves, except that they are being blocked further upstream.

I'm curious about your posture too. Can you email me a picture of you standing sideways, full body or knees up. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say.

If you, like most people, have forward shoulders, forward neck, upper arms that are medially rotated, then you are pinching off the nerves that feed the arms, even when 'at rest' in your recliner.

Add to that a heightened Pain Causing Dynamic, and PRESTO!, welcome to lots of pain and problem.

Feb 23, 2010
PART 4 - response to your questions - Cervical degenerative disc disease without compression
by: John

Hello Joshua,

I am 59 years old. I was involved in a severe accident, head through the windshield, as a teenager and 13 years ago rear ended by a huge dump truck resulting in brief unconsciousness from the whiplash. I had a mildly sore neck for a couple of days and did not seek any medical attention and never gave it another thought.

As to my posture I would send a photo in a flash but there is nothing so subtle as to engage your expertise. My arms are not medially rotated, shoulders are mildly forward but my neck is distinctly and obviously, perhaps severely, forward and has been since childhood.

It looks like you have identified the root cause of my problems from a few short e-mails--very impressive! The question is, what's next? Without much of an explanation a doctor once recommended that I look into Rolfing.

I very much appreciate your help and am anxious to hear any additional thoughts.


Joshua Comments:

Hi John.

Seeing a Rolfer I think would be a great idea for you.

One one level, your connective tissue is SUPER shortened, stuck, constrictive, too tight, and holding you in not the best place.

So any hands on work you get should be good, and Rolfer's are good at opening up structure (and they all have a lot of education to be able to call themselves a Rolfer, so you should be in good hands).

Having said that, they may or may not know what to do with Whiplash specifically. And you definitely have an old and constant Whiplash dynamic.

Which is a specific situation of too tight muscles, too tight connetive tissue, specific spots of ligament and tendon connection injury and scar tissue build up and constant pain signal.

And I'm guessing that you have some significant old damage in there from the car accidents.

And again, any hands on work is going to help. (Go see a Rolfer.)

And, I will have a Whiplash ebook done in the next two weeks, which will show you how to reverse your whiplash dynamic. I'm working on that today, actually.

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