This is my story of dealing with mild herniation, bulging disc, cervical kyphosis, and subluxation at the same time. I’ll share with you how the pain emerged, more about my diagnosis, suspected culprits, and my home remedies for easing neck pain. I’m pouring my sorrow into this “piece of art”, with the hope that sharing my experience would serve as guidance and help at least a tiny bit to anyone who is fighting with cervical injury.
It’s been nine months already, since the first signs of my neck pain occurred in April 2020. At first, it began showing up in the bed — mostly when I was laying down on one side, or the other. This new irritating sensation felt just as something there was being pinched very, very nasty. The desire to crack this thing, and get my neck mobility back to normal build-up, as the pain advanced and moved into my practice on the mat, and later on in my daily life as well.
Things continued to escalate, when one beautiful morning I looked out the window and a sun-ray stroke back into my eyes. All of a sudden, I stopped seeing properly with my right eye, an intensified white flashing light occurred instead. “Hell no!” — I thought, “It’s gonna be a hard long day.”
This was the bad old indicator for an upcoming throbbing migraine, with which I’ve been diagnosed for fifteen years now, but haven’t had any for more than two. Continuing further, I ran into the bed, closed all curtains and submerged under my blanket, seeking quietness and darkness. In less than an hour or so, the flashing light faded away, but the sharp and heavy headache rooted in my head for a week. That was it, another indicator something there is wrong.
This misfortune of mine happened during the emerging pandemic situation in Mexico, where we remained until the end of June. I’ve ceased practicing all kinds of forwarding bends since they were increasing the pressure in my head. Unfortunately, in the middle of May, my condition worsened as I’ve experienced cervical radiculopathy symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in my right hand. Conditions such as herniated or bulging disc can trigger impingement on the C6 and C7 nerve roots. Nerve compression at the neck can make the nerves lower down more vulnerable, and that, my friends, was part of my case.
For this reason, and some others, we decided to go back to Europe at the end of June. Of course, I sought help immediately and went to the official representative of Yumeiho Therapy — Mr. Martin Myška, in the Czech Republic. His treatment relieved the pain, but only in the short term. The following month continued with suffering as well. My neck pain advanced, my jaw bone stiffened, I’ve experienced the strongest migraine in my life and the sense of low energy and dizziness accompanied me daily. On top of all, I’ve developed symptoms of tinnitus, ringing in the ears. It was time for a highly trained physician and therapist to step in!
I was referred to Ninov Spine and Pain Clinic in Sofia, Bulgaria. My first examination was held by Prof. Dr. Tchavdar Ninov, MD, Ph.D. He immediately found and felt displacement of my first cervical disc. This was probably the biggest culprit for the dizziness, low energy, and stiffness of my jaw. The displacement of the disc had caused pressure on my carotid artery on the right side, one of the main blood suppliers for the brain. These main arteries are located on each side of our neck, and we can feel their pulse under the jawline, but you can imagine how unhappy and alarming a brain with insufficient blood flow can be, right?
Prof. Tchavdar Ninov applied few therapeutical methods that very much resembled the Japanese Yumeiho therapy by incorporating cracking of the joints with the goals to correct my pelvis, adjust my spine, and eliminate the cause of this condition by bringing my whole body back to alignment. I felt incredible relief and relaxation in my jaw immediately after. However, I was conscious that my neck problems might not resolve from one treatment, and so it was.
The second time I was there, I was treated by Dr. Svetoslav Ninov, who did another treatment on my cervical spine and, if I’m not mistaken, used the treatment of myopuncture, which is advanced orthopedic acupuncture. My body did not like this one. It felt incredibly weird after. Along with that, I should mention that I have been to acupuncture before, for different issues, and my body had reacted similarly to them as well. Taking into consideration that my neck pain was not gone after the first treatment, he decided to send me on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of my cervical spine, to give me the exact diagnosis. However, after the second treatment, my neck pain worsen. The pressure in my head increased and the ringing in my right ear got louder. I was aware that we had pushed a trigger there.
My third appointment was week later. With lump in my throat and my MRI results in hand, I went to the doctor’s cabinet. Luckily for me, they were both there, and they both examined my results and performed treatment together. Once again, comforting and aligning my neck. To me my MRI diagnosis, which you can read below, sounded very complex. However, Prof. Tchavdar Ninov was mostly preoccupied with my light cervical kyphosis, which meant that my neck has begun to lose its natural curve, beginning to straighten. Later on, I found out that one of its emerging symptoms is noise in the ears. But don’t worry, contrary to many, I believe that both cervical kyphosis and tinnitus are curable, and I’ll share with you how to work with them!
A week later, this tiny pinched bastard was still there, mostly when flexing my neck. Anyhow, the displaced vertebrae was aligned and proper blood flow to my brain was restored. This gave me a bit of hope and a small smile on my face. Even though, the noise in my ear was still present I’ve realized that this was the beginning of my big personal fight to gain my health back.
My Complete MRI Diagnosis:
- Vertebral subluxation C1-C2
- Small median disc herniation C4-C5
- Light symmetrical disk bulging C5-C6
- Light Cervical kyphosis C4-C6
Tha Battle of Easing My Neck Pain:
My mother, like any other mother, would make me crazy until I didn’t change my pillow for an orthopedic one. You can see the pillow and brand that I bought here — mine is the millenium pillow. It supports my neck greatly and encourages cervical lordosis, the natural curvature of the neck. It is specially shaped to relieve discomfort in the head, neck, and shoulders, plus it somehow adjusts to your body temperature. I began sleeping more often on my back and I’m sure that thanks to the support of this pillow my neck pain got relieved. I’m indeed in love with it and can certainly recommend it to anyone! However, I would advise you to search for a shop nearby and try different orthopedic pillows as there might be something more comfortable for you than this one, at least I did so. Anyway, I certainly recommend the brand, it’s pure quality!
One thing that helps me through this nightmare is Vipassana Meditation. Whenever I can’t fall asleep due to the pain in my neck or the noise in my ear, I would just get up and try to meditate. The idea of never hearing silence again terrifies me, but I found out that even an hour of meditation helps to lower the noise and brings a sense of relaxation. If you don’t have any experience with meditation, don’t worry, I’ve figured out this one for you too! I’ve read a lot about cervical kyphosis and many people complain from the same noise symptom known as tinnitus. During my research, how to cope with tinnitus, I landed on Seeking Balance. The founder Joey Remenyi teaches with an integrative medicine approach how to become our experts and recover our sensory system from the comfort of our home. Her free starter kit will help you start with meditation practice as well. You can read more about “Heal Chronic Dizziness or Tinnitus with Neuroplasticity” here.
Prof. Tchavdar Ninov advised me to do these neck exercises. For four months now, I’ve been doing them almost every day. I did them for a full month and the sense of the pinched nerve on my neck got soothed, and my sternocleidomastoid muscle relaxed. This is one of the largest and most superficial cervical muscles. However, after skipping a few days in a row the pain started alarming again, so I still do them regularly till today and I’m planning to do them for much longer. I recommend you give them a chance for a month at least, in order to feel real pain easing.
Ever since my neck pain emerged, I’ve modified my yoga practice. At first, I stopped completely. It felt like giving up an addiction, I was frustrated and anxious. But I realized that I had to slow down and give my neck some time to heal. After receiving my diagnosis, my practice included only the above-mentioned neck exercises and some very light yoga asanas such as — Table Top, Cat/Cow, Sphynx, and Cobra.
After three-four months of being “still”, I started to include more postures with backward bending and spinal extension such as Anjaneyasana, King Pigeon, and sometimes full Wheel Pose. I’ve been very prudent of my neck injury and stopped pushing through my body limits. Instead, I began doing the asanas somewhere in the middle with the idea to find comfort and stability, rather than focus on extension and flexibility.
To me, my symptoms appeared out of nowhere and progressed with the speed of light as well. However, certain reasons emerge when I’m thinking about it. For example, sitting a long time in the car can be one of them. For six months, we were driving 600km per day, and even though, I was rarely the driver, I was still seated for 7–8 hours per day, sometimes even more. Another culprit, that might have added some tension on my neck is too much forward bending, though I’ve always made counter stretches. The third one, as much as I don’t want to say it, is probably excessive workouts. Now add some emotional stress and instability, and voila. My neck pain hasn’t appeared over night and I’m aware that it wont dissapear over night either, but I sure will fight it till the end.
It’s nice months since the first signs of my neck pain occurred in April 2020. I was really low on energy and very anxious that this injury happened, and if you are feeling so as well, I can only advise you — don’t. Learn to accept the position that life circumstances put you in and live with them in peace. Physical or psychosomatic, once we learn the lessons that come with the pain, it can eventually transcend into something very beautiful. Everything happens for a reason, in my case, it probably happened to teach me to relax my body and to engage in things I always wanted, but never had time for. I don’t accept it as a blessing, neither as a curse, I simply try to follow the clues and take the new opportunities that it has brought into my life.
If you have any questions, or if you would like to share your personal experience with your neck injury, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment in this post! Whatever it is that you choose, I wish you to get well and keep the hope that better days are coming!