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My Strange Condition, Part 2


After all, I was in my early 60's.  These things happened to one's spine and neck, didn't they?


When the MRI was ready, my doctor sent me to a pain specialist.   She offered no cure, just a visit to a pain doctor who could, at least, mitigate my suffering.   So, in May, I spent a few minutes with the pain specialist.  He listened to my best efforts to describe the strange buzzing in my head and looked at my MRI.  He pointed out the clearly visible collapsed discs.  Then he said the words that I had been waiting so long to hear. 


"I can help you."


He told me I was a lucky one.  Instead of real pain, I had this electrical feeling across the back of my head because the discs were pinching the occipital nerve that runs up the back of the head.  I had occipital neuralgia


The buzzing had a name! 


He informed me that I did not need pain killers or injections to the spine.   All I needed, he believed, was physical therapy.  He went on to explain that a good therapist could manipulate my neck and relieve the pressure on the nerve.  At that point, he wrote out a prescription for therapy exercises and I went off to locate a nearby therapist.


My first appointment was in June.  The therapist massaged my neck.  He had me perform some simple exercises.  He treated my neck with heat also.   A couple of times he actually put my head in a medieval looking device and stretched my neck.  I went to two or three appointments for a total of six weeks.   With each visit, I noticed less and less buzzing.  


It had been a long road, but I could finally see the end in sight!


When I was about 90% better, my therapist announced that he was opening his own practice up in the foothills of the Rockies and I could either continue with another therapist or stop therapy for the time being and see what happened.  He gave me some simple neck exercises I could do at home and wished me luck.


I did the simple neck exercises at home for months and coupled that with heat treatment.  My husband bought me some of those cute little rice bags that you heat in the microwave to use on my neck.   After a long journey I am now completely buzz free.   I use the rice (and corn bags also) every day.  When the home remodel was finished, we added a recliner in the living room and I use that and the rice bags as constant treatment.  


Most of the time I feel no electrical sensations.  If I do certain types of work, such as raking leaves, some buzzing does return.  However, I now have my strange medical mystery under my control.   It turned out to be something not so unusual in fact, just a condition that was very difficult to describe correctly to a professional.


I write this so that anyone with something similar may know where to start to get the correct diagnosis for his or her own unusual symptoms.   Maybe if I had been more proactive in the beginning I could have been diagnosed earlier than I was, but I did persist when I did not get any satisfaction. 


I pushed for more possibilities and in the end, the medical profession did come through for me.  And I still wish that there was some way I could truly describe the strange sensations that traversed the back of my head, but I still cannot.  It was like a buzzing, like a painless, low frequency