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Syringomyelia, Doing it DOC-cy Style

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I’m not a real doctor but I did play one in a movie once… Ha!  Actually people just call me Doc because of my initials being MD.  I know that doesn’t sound special but my mama say’s I’m Special.  🙂

What is DOC-cy Style… well it’s my own personal methods for dealing with symptoms related to my Syringomyelia.  Many of these methods have helped me at different times in different ways.

I’ve found that many different things put strain on my spinal cord and / or neurological system but it’s been over a long period of time.  I figured I would capture some details here so that maybe it could help some of my fellow Syringomyelia and Chiari warrior friends.

I’ve tried a lot of things.  Some have worked and most have had little to no noticeable result.  Here is a list of things I’ve researched, reviewed and tried.

Body Positioning / Exercises

Descriptions Results
Sitting straighter in chairs This has lowered the strain on my back and likely my spinal cord (lower pressure against my syrinx.)
Laying flatter in bed vs crooked neck Seems to have made my thoracic area of my spine less sensitive and sore.
Raised position of phone

Reduced phone use (texting, Facebook, etc.) should continue to provide relief due to not stretching the spinal cord.  Bad posture = bad SM days. <Read Article>

Not laying on stomach while sleeping. This has helped my arms and neck tremendously.  Also, if I laid on my stomach, this makes my neck twist to the side thus additional stress on vertebra and spinal cord. <Read Article>
Focused walking By focusing on my walking to make sure that I am lifting my legs properly allows me to better control the wobble and dropped foot issues.  This seems to help with joints not rocking that would cause even more pain and over corrections using my back.
Careful stretches I know that with my Syringomyelia, I can’t just sit around thinking it will go away, so I do some careful stretches.  I’ve had to be careful but it can definitely be overdone and I have.  Stretches have helped with spasms and cramping muscles.
Walking as much as possible I try to walk as much as possible each day at work and home.  Averaging about 2 1/2 miles a day up to 15 in one weekend.  This has helped with muscle cramps and avoiding or dealing with atrophy.
Swimming I love to scuba, snorkel and just float around.  Ocean surf works me out the most but it also moves my body around allowing for more flexibility. The weightlessness is always welcome with my back and spine.  OCEAN THERAPY!
Losing weight I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds while making several changes listed in this article.  The less weight I have, the less pressure on my back thus happy spinal cord.  <Read Article>

Herbs, Spice and Everything Nice

Descriptions Results
Turmeric This has helped a little when I remember to take it consistently.  When I do, the inflammation from my syrinx operations seems to be kept a bay vs. using ibuprofen.  We add this to food, juices, etc. 
Ginger Ginger seems to help the pain aspect.  It also has a calming effect on my stomach from when I have to take ibuprofen or other stuff.  I add it to juices as well.
Valerian This helps greatly with my muscle spasms and boy howdy it will knock your butt out.  Works like a charm and I’m generally relaxed and refreshed the next morning.  Stinks to high heaven though.  Kind of like wet gym socks.
Eucommia I noticed absolutely no noticeable results with this plus it spooked me a little because the name looks like you may end up asleep for a long time.
Potassium / Magnesium When I notice muscle cramps I first take potassium / magnesium since sometimes I’m bad at drinking as much water as I should.  Within an hour I’m usually good to go.  This has also helped calm my heart down at times.
Turmeric / ginger concoction called Inflammotion To be honest, this combination just didn’t seem to do much more than Turmeric by itself.  When stuff like this is combined then there is far less of any one ingredient unless you take a lot of it.  I HATE PILLS!
CBD Hemp Oil I have had some pretty amazing results with this.  Lowered pain, increased sensation, higher energy, etc… I documented all of my observations in this link.  AWESOME STUFF!

Kava Kava

This did absolutely nothing for my back but it did seem to help my tension headaches a little.  I’ll likely stay away from any more purchases.  However it does sound like a nice drink.

Pharmaceutical

Descriptions Results
Gabapentin There have been some positives results from this but they were short lived and a trend began with the doctor of continuously increase in dosage.  NOPE!!!  With the CBD Hemp Oil I’m already down to 1 of these evil pills.  The side effects and withdrawals are HORRID!
Flexeril I’d rather stick with the valerian.  I can wake up easier with valerian.  This stuff messes me up the next day but I sleep through EVERYTHING!  I almost even slept through our cat making biscuits on my head.
Hydrocodone This definitely helps from a ‘pain vacation’ perspective but causes horrible constipation and I have a hard time sleeping then I have to take some other something to counter that.  I HATE PILLS!!!
Pain / Inflammation patches This was as close to useless as I’ve tried so far.  It was localized but fell off easily, didn’t last long and cost $80 out of pocket. 
Back brace Yeah… this was stupid.  I’m not sure what the heck the doctor was thinking at all.  Guess what… His office charged the insurance company $998 for it.  I found the same one on Amazon between $90 and $120.  GO OBAMACARE! 
Ibuprofen / Acetaminophen Well these do help but they are never a good long term solution and play havoc with my internals.  I will continue to use them as needed but rarely have to because the CBD Hemp Oil seems to work better.  YAY!
TENS Unit This has helped with muscle locks, spasms and muscle strengthening.  This is a great part of my pain arsenal.

Diet

Descriptions Results
Lowered sugar All of these sort of things can cause crazy stuff to muscles, joints, spinal cord pressure, blood pressure and more.  When my wife and I started changing our diet, we both have noticed beneficial results.  This stuff in high amounts isn’t even good for anybody when they are 100% healthy.  Add my Syringomyelia into the mix, well it’s pretty obvious that if I wasn’t willing to change then I couldn’t expect anything to get better.
Lowered caffeine
Lowered nicotine
Lowered alcohol
Lowered sodium
Lowered gluten
More water More water has helped me feel more energetic.  I poop more (TMI) and I assume more toxins are being flushed from my body and flushed down the toilet.  This is a win win by drinking more water.
Taking multi-vitamins I know this is something I should do regardless but alas it’s easy to forget.  However, I was taking ‘Alive’ multi-vitamins religiously for a few months.  If there were any difference, it was so gradual that I never noticed it.
Adding turmeric to food My wife and I add turmeric to as much stuff as we can.  I believe in turmeric very much for anti-inflammation.  You can find information all over the web about it and it can be purchased anywhere.  I noticed after short periods when I take it that I don’t seem to need ibuprofen.
Increased fish / chicken consumption vs beef and pork By reducing pork and beef, I haven’t really noticed a lot of differences other than not as many stomach aches and grogginess,  This means I get up and move more which is a good thing.  However, I HAVE TO HAVE MY STEAK AND BURGERS!!!
Juicing (Fruits and Veggies) This ROCKS!!!  There are lots of recipes on the internet for pain remedy juices.  They really freak’n work.  I always add ginger and turmeric to them.

Avoidances

Descriptions Results
Over flexing / stretching This tends to cause my body to catch on fire like Ricky Bobby.  It’s good to stretch and flex but knowing my limits has helped me avoid the body blaze.
Picking heavy stuff up This is pretty self explanatory.  Awkwardly weighted stuff is what causes most of my issues.  I still rough house with my daughter and wife.  Before you say it… I’m not saying they are heavy.
Straining while taking a poop Well, it’s a great excuse to relax.  Straining while dropping the kids off at the pool is not a good thing.  My body will have spasms like crazy if I strain.  So I sit and relax and there have been a couple time I thought my Syringomyelia got the best of me but my legs had simply fell asleep.  Thank goodness for Angry Birds.
Too much walking I assume that when I am over doing it when I walk too much, it can build pressure in my spinal cord and we all know what that means.  The crazy thing is that ever since I started the CBD Hemp Oil stuff I’ve been able to walk far more and longer.
Riding in a car for too long My wife and I have figured out that it’s best to just stop and stretch every couple of hours.  Otherwise my legs get jiggy with it, begin cramping and my thoracic area becomes sore.
Sitting or laying in one spot too long I simply can’t sit still for too long, but when I do it causes muscles to begin cramping and numbness takes over.  Ok, that actually sounded like a Dos XX commercial.

Medical Procedures: If you have read my ‘About Page‘ on SyrinGoWhat.com, you will see that I had 2 decompression operations with 2 corrective procedures.  These did stop the progression but alas it is causing other issues related to the operations themselves.  My syrinx has not grown in 13 years.


Syringomyelian Stay Strong - SyrinGoWhat.comTo make a long story longer, the above includes most of the things I’ve tried over several years along with my observations.  Some work well and some work not so much.  None of the above cures anything but for now it’s all about relief. 

I’d say always be careful with what you try.  Review, research and ask professionals.  For me, I can’t just sit around and hope that ‘poof it can be fixed’, so I try to help myself.

I hope that some of the stuff in this article may inspire you and possibly even help.  Life is about hope and faith.

Joshua 1:9 ESV Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Please feel free to send me your thoughts or more resource links using my contact page.   Peace, Love and Pancakes… oh yeah and wishes of many ocean waves — Michael Doc Davis (SyrinGoWhat.com)

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