Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TOS update - Exercise, Diet and Supplements...oh my!

Lately my TOS pain (nerve pull, sharp, aching, throbbing, a little twitchy, from base of my neck, down arm into hand, up neck into head) comes on sporadically, aggrivated by driving-especially when it's windy, or if I've had bad prolonged sitting posture (head forward).
The jaw/neck/head pain that I believe is partly a result of having anterior scalene muscle removed when my first rib was resected...that pain was better several weeks ago, but its been ramping back up lately. I think the cold weather is partly to blame. And I still feel like I want a kick-stand for my head by the end of most days because my head feels heavy, weaker, and unsupported on the resected side. I actually do prop my head up with my hand sometimes.

I'm down to p.t. every two weeks, for a few more visits, then I'm on my own for a bit. I'm curious to see how that is going to be. I'm hoping I can stay motivated to keep at it through the fall/winter seasons when all I really want to do is hunker down, read, or hybernate.

Here are couple new p.t. exercises I've been given to work on at home-

1. Roll exercise ball up wall with forearms, 20-40x
I don't roll up quite as high as pictured. When I first started doing this TOS symptoms started kicking in around 6 reps. After a couple weeks of doing this, I don't feel the heavy-tingly-arm ache until about 15 - 20 reps.

2. Push meduim size rubber ball against wall with back of head, turn slightly right and left while pushing.(center pic)

I've been walking 2-4 miles most every day, even on flareup days. I figure I'm going to have pain if I sit on the couch or if I go for a walk, and I've found I sometimes have less TOS pain after walking(sometimes more). I'm even ready for winter with a manual treadmill.

My diet remains pretty simple, and I DO believe losing weight and cutting sugar is helping reduce my pain levels tremendously! I  just eat real, whole foods, nothing artificial, no white flour or sugar, lots of water and green tea, and a handful of anti-inflammitory supplements morning and night.
Morning: Vit D, Vit C, Fish Oil, Tumeric, B complex, CoQ10.
Night: Magnesium Glycinate, Mag citrate/aspartate/maleate, Calcium citrate.

Other things that I've found helpful in alleviating some of my TOS pain- setting a few goals, volunteering for an organization weekly, helping others, continuing to challenge negative thinking and replace it with more positive and encouraging thoughts, getting involved in a suportive community/regular group meeting, attention to my relaxing/sitting posture, asking for what I need.

Things I am considering; injections of some sort into the back of my head/neck/upper trap on one side, and acupuncture. I looked into CBD oil, if it were not so expensive I'd give that a try. I am glad to be off all prescription meds currently, even ibuprophen. However, the pain ramps up to 'terrible' status 1-2x week, and it is moderately painful for several hours a few more days each week.

I do have some days virtually pain-free, but I'm still having enough pain that I'm wondering about going back to some type of medication. I need to be able to function and live and it's still hard for me to plan to do too much.
I sat for 1 hour for a college aptitude test recently, and half way through I was hurting and wondering how I could ever sit through a 2-3 hour class 2x week?! But I'm still signed up for Winter 2015...I won't know unless I try, right?!

So thats the current state of TOS in my life. I keep doing what I think may help, and stay open to any new ideas.

My fellow TOSers- Don't hang in there...and Gentle hugs~