Injury and degenerative conditions in neck? Any connection to asthma/allergies
Hi, i actually have three questions, related to course of treatment, if any, for degenerative disease in my neck and for some sort of injury, and as to whether degenerative conditions in my neck could contribute to my recent development of allergies and asthma.
Me: 6'0 tall generally healthy 43 year old woman, typically very active and pretty fit. Do a lot of long distance and hard core sea kayaking and enjoy hiking and backpacking, especially in the last several years, and would like to be able to keep it up/resume.
BAckground: I have a history of mild scoliosis and what several PTs have called loose ligaments--connective tissue isn't stabilizing my skeleton very effectively, and as a result I have a somewhat unstable spine and a history of back problems, mostly low back.. I had a whiplash injury in a car accident 20 years ago, when I was 23. A couple weeks ago I was in a kayaking in while paddling in big swell and surf. This put a lot of strain and torque on my upper body and shoulders, but no direct injuries. A week after the accident I was at a pilates class and while laying on my back on a mobile carriage w/ my arms extended to the side, pulled my arms down to my sides against spring tension. I felt a tearing and slightly crunchy sensation on the left rear side of my neck, but no pain. Several days later I developed deep and rather intense pain on the lefl side of my neck, through the left shoulder and arm, and down into my hand and finger tips.
I don't have a primary physician since I moved relatively recently, and made an appointment with a physical therapist I've seen a couple times. She diagnosed a bulging disk, and gave me some exercises which seem to help a bit, although i really can't relax/arch my head backwards without discomfort or pain on the lower L neck . NSAIDs and ice have helped a lot. I also went to a chiropractor because my neck felt really "out"--he took full spinal xrays and after looking at the neck xrays, expressed some concern. He described a lot of degeneration between C3 and C7, there is NO curvature in my cervical spine, there are a number of bone spurs, and lots of narrowing of space for the disk. (I saw the xray, and I can see what he's saying-- it really doesn't look like the xray of a "normal" neck. For lack of a better word, the vertebrae in the side view look like they're melting, with bony growths coming off the bottom of each one and "oozing" downward and a bit of a platform developing at the top of each one-- rather than looking relatively roundish or squarish..) The chiro didn't do any adjustments.
I still have some pain in my neck, especially if I try to pull my chin straight back, and don't have a full rotation of my head. The rotator cuff area and to a lesser extent the top of the shoulder on my left side is aches constantly--possibly a separate injury from the neck? or is that referred pain from the neck?-- and I still have occasional tingling in my fingers. If I do even light kayaking, my left arm and shoulder ache unbearably for hours. Its been about 2.5 weeks since the "tearing and crunching" incident.
so--my questions are: 1. re. the injury, do I need to go see someone again or will this just resolve itself with time? who should I go see? Back to the PT? If an MD, is there a specialty or training I should look for?
2. is the degeneration in my neck cause for concern, and if so is there anything I can do to stabilize it/prevent/slow further degeneration? AGain, who's the best sort of professional to see about this?
3. I developed allergies and asthma within the last 6 mos. Presumably the neck issues have been going on a long time, based on the bone spurs. Is it possible that a change in my neck 6-8 months ago contributed to the allergies and asthma via impacts on cervical nerves? I have NO idea, but it seems worth asking.
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