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That’s my neck up there. Aren’t X-rays cool?!?

I had to go to the doctors after throwing my back out AGAIN. I simply moved the wrong way last night and fell to my knees in pain.

I’ve had back and neck issue for some time now, having maybe 1 or 2 spasms a year, but this time is different. This time the pain is unbearable. I’ve been up since 4AM trying to find a position that eases the pain a little. This morning I could barely wash my hair or get dressed as raising my arms above my head sent shooting pains to my back. I can’t look left, right, up or down and picking up Little Bean is near impossible :(

So this morning I headed to the Urgent Care center and got that x-ray. The Doctor told me I have degeneration in c5, c6, and c7. He sounded pretty serious and actually said at one point, "I don’t want to sugar coat it, you have a lot of damage."


For Pete’s sake, I’m only 35 years old!

He prescribed me a muscle relaxer, steroids and pain medication. Oh and this lovely contraption..

neck brace

Cute? Right?

I asked him about my workouts and he said the best thing I could do for myself is staying active ONCE I recover from this episode. He said running and weight training (my 2 favorites) were both fine but I need to avoid things like squats with the bar across my back (something I do a lot) and anything that causes stress on my neck and upper back.

You guys may think I’m crazy but "resting" actually makes me feel worse. I start to seize up and get real stiff. I feel best when walking. So that’s what I did after leaving the doctors today. It took me about an hour to walk 2 miles. I really enjoyed it. The weather is still mild here in the North East and it was nice to be outside with nothing but my thoughts.

Ok, that’s all I have. Not sure how much longer I can keep my eyes open with this muscle relaxer. I’m just hoping I can sleep through the night.

  • Sana

    Gah, back pain is no fun. I feel 80.

  • Amanda Lee Shields

    So sad to hear this news! You are awesome and inspire me so much! I hope you feel better very soon! Sending lots of love your way!! :D

  • Rose

    Roni, find yourself a good chiropractor who can help with these issues and possibly reverse it. I used to think they were wackos but now that I see one regularly, I fully believe in their practice. Praying for you.

  • Molly

    Get well Roni!

  • Alysa (InspiredRD)

    Oh no, not you too!!! I am so sorry that you are in pain. It’s the worst. If you need to vent, let me know. I’m in the same boat. Resting makes my body more sore too, but I am pretty limited in my exercise at this point. It can get frustrating, but I know you will handle it well :)

  • Paula osterloh

    I hope you feel better and heal fast!! You are right I love x-rays, MRI’s. I have a stack of them, as I have had cerical fusion done 4,5,6 I have hardware it looks so amazing to me. My hubby says I’m gross! It reminds of the terminator movies.
    Take care of yourself and heal.
    I had my surgery in 09 neurosurgeon told me it was have the surgery or become paralyzed.
    —take care Paula

  • Paula osterloh

    Oh yeah I almost forgot, you should have seen the neck brace that was my friend for many weeks!! I’ll see if I can find pix to post tomorrow. –fun

  • tj

    I’m sorry to hear this Roni. I have a long list of back issues that will only get worse as I age. Sitting around makes me look like a 90 year old- so the warm water pool is my drug of choice. Moving helps me tremendously! Make sure you take it easy!! Thinking of you & sending healing thoughts! :)

  • Paula osterloh

    Supposed to read cervical fusion surgery. 4,5,6
    Typos typing to fast for old brain :(

  • Eileen

    I’m sorry:( I have a herniated disc in my back and it SUCKS. At least you had a doctor that took you seriously. It was until I was in the hospital passing out from pain that they finally believed me enough to have me get an MRI. I just kept being told that I was too young at 22 (even though I’d fallen down marble stairs on my tailbone). Anyways–keep walking, it’ll at least keep your mind off of the pain.
    Funny story–the first time I took muscle relaxants I didn’t realize what a lightweight I was an ended up facedown, passed out on my bed DROOLING. It wasn’t my most glamorous moment.

  • Kristal

    So sorry… hoping you feel better and can get into a groove but take care of yourself…

  • Nicole

    I’m so sorry to hear about your injury! I hope you are recovered very soon! Just an FYI: I have had major back issues, and the number one thing my doctors have told me is that walking is the best thing you can do for back pain; so it seems your instincts are leading you in the right direction…

  • Jenn@slim-shoppin

    That stinks Roni!! Hope you feel better soon!

  • Faith Plvan

    I was recently diagnosed with a herniated disk at C6/7. Not fun, but I have gotten relief from chiropractic care, acupuncture, and PT.

  • Reinaldo

    Just a word on the squatting thing (I’m a PT and a lifter, by the way). The bar should go in the upper, meaty part of your shoulder’s blades. C7 is the neck vertebrae that sticks out the most when you look down (wich you can’t do right now, but touch the husbund’s C7). There a good couples of inches between C7 and the meaty upper part of the shoulder’s blades. The weight at the squat should lay in the shoulder’s blades, and go DOWN from there. The neck doesn’t work AT ALL in the squat, unless you do something stupid and unnecessary like lookink up to the sky and bite hard and makes faces and contract every muscle in your face/neck (wich wont help the muscles that do the real work, way down in the hip, ya’know).

    Doctors just don’t get squats. They’re bad for the knees!! WHen done properly, the knee doesn’t work that much at all ¬¬’ That doctor, the one that said no squats.. did he looked like he knows what a squat is, from experience??? (please don’t say “no, but he’s a doc, He must know”).

    That being said… you’ll always find some degenerative damage in people over 30, at least at some joints.I guess your neck has a little bit more problems, tho. As a PT, you can’t go out in the street and not see posture problems and think stuff like “she breath from her mouth when she was a kid”, “Too much heels”, “short hamstrings” and the like. So yes, since has I been watching your vids (4-5 years now?) from day 1 I thought “Oops, watch the hunchback when you’re 70 y/o”. Of course that hurts your back, and neck. It happens mostly when young girls go to be a woman. Breast hurt, they feel ashame, back goes hunchback in an attempt to hide it and the pain from streching the pecs area.Or sometimes it just happens. I have a hunchback in the making too, BTW. My point is: yeah, I get that posture problem the minute I saw you on video because I have the same thing going on.

    If you ask me, as a PT, what can you do? Well, first rest. For like 3-4 weeks. Wear that white collar thingy but no more than 2-3 weeks, and NEVER more than 2 hours straight. Making your neck muscles stronger will make the problem go away. Making your neck muscles even more weak by wearing the neck piece all day long will make your muscles lazy (because the thing does all the work).
    Find a PT that knows best, and hopefully has some Pilates thing going on. PT person + Pilates person = neck heaven. I’m one of them. Trust me, I know. But one thing I won’t do is giving you specific advise over the net. You need a real PT, with real knowleadge, right there in front of you.

    Do you have neck damage? Sure, I can tell, but not from the X ray. It’s not that bad, The posture, however.. That’s where tre truth lies. Are you in pain? YES! Is it permanent? Oh, come on. Of course not. You just need to think about the little muscles in your back and neck the same way you think about your biceps or legs. Exercises are different, and slower… but you can make this rigth trough exercise. Just find a good PT/trainer.
    I’m rigth here if you need questions answered.

  • Elaine

    Stay strong and know that I am sending good thoughts your way. Pain like this is NO FUN AT ALL. I absolutely understand the feeling better while NOT resting….too much rest makes me stiff!

  • The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    I’m so sorry to hear that! Take care of yourself and hope you’re on the mend quickly!

  • Charlie Hills

    Holy crap! There’s a skeleton inside you!

  • Jessica

    ” Soft kitty, warm kitty. Little ball of fur…”

    Feel better yet?

    “Happy kitty, sleepy kitty. Purr, purr, purr”

    Anything? ( meh. It works for Sheldon…;D )

  • Lisa Jimas

    Roni, you have always helped us with our health and weight loss. I have no wise words of wisdom. Only sincere thoughts that you feel better soon. As a mom I know you will listen to your doctors for a better recovery. Make sure you listen to your body.

  • Reen

    :( Hope you feel better quickly and most of all, hope you were able to get some rest.

  • Dani

    That sounds so painful! I hope you feel better soon!

  • Katy Widrick

    Oh, honey…ouch! Glad you’re taking care of yourself :)

  • Bridget

    At least you have a positive attitude! When my back gives me issues, I feel the same way about staying moving, because it’s when I stop that it is unbearable again.

  • Laura James

    No advise from me, I am just very sad to hear this news. At least it is something that can be treated, so keep that in mind. I hope that you start to feel better soon!

  • ana myre

    Hope you get better soon!!!

  • Jamie

    I would really seek a wellness chiropractor. I know PTs and Doctors are not going to recommend that option for care. You may want to check out and do some searching on this website. I hope you feel better soon!

  • Kathy R.

    I have no advice for you, other then to take good care of yourself. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  • heather

    i like what reinaldo had to say. i have some of the same “damage”, roni. and every so often i get tinglies in my right hand b/c of it. but i go to my chiropractor, and it gets taken care of.

    some people start to lose their cervical curve as they get older. or car accidents or trauma to the neck/head area as a child can contribute to this. (i fell off the bars right onto my head while hanging upside down in elementary school, and i’m sure a bunch of other things ; )

    i understand that this curve can be restored through adjustments and exercises (my new chiro sends you home with this thing – i think it’s called – a dakota device.)

    women esp. can tend to hunch forward a bit. b/c of the breasts, if they’re tall, school/reading/computer posture, etc. i try to remember to pull my shoulders and head back. really i need to get back to yoga and incorporate some stretches that helps me do this. i have horrible range of motion when i try to do things behind my back with my arms, like clasp my fingers.

    i do hope you feel better soon! i think you will :) you’re young and in great shape. and btw, that’s a really cute pic of you!

  • Tina

    Sorry Roni, I will pray for you to recover soon! I know how you feel. I suffered this past year from two herniated disks and thank God finally after the meds I was on for a month, all the pain eased up. I’m not able to do hardcore exercise, but I’m happy with how I feel now compared to then. Hang in there.

  • Jeri Lyn

    Hi Roni,

    So sorry to hear about your injury & pain. SUCKS!! I know it’s hard for you not to exercise, especially when you’re told “you can’t”. Makes you want to do it even more, doesn’t it!! :) I feel the same way. Sometimes it’s hard to get up off the couch, but as soon as someone tell you “you can’t”, than you want nothing more.
    I’ve been having a hard time with motivation the past few weeks, but this week I was told “not to exercise” for the week because of a test i’m doing on Sunday. Now there is nothing I want to do more than go for a run!! :)
    Take care,
    Jeri Lyn

  • LG

    Where I live, there have been ads going around that go something like “back pain: don’t take it lying down”. Apparently movement is supposed to be good for that stuff, so maybe it’s no wonder you feel better when walking. Anyway, I hope you feel better soon!

  • heather

    oh, roni, i just thought of something! this week i saw a pic of you with bean in a bjorn. i used one with my daughter too, but truthfully it yanked on my neck/upper back something fierce, esp. as she got bigger. also, i cannot speak either way, but those really into babywearing don’t recommend bjorn’s for baby. maybe a new baby carrier would help once you feel better?

  • Christina

    Feel better soon! How terrible, I hope the meds are helping make you comfortable. Find a good PT when you are up for it….

  • Kristi

    Roni, I’m not a doctor, but two years ago had the most intense pain ever – seriously the worst pain I can ever remember being in (including childbirth), something just as you were describing, every move hurt I had to sleep sitting up, it brought me to tears and made me puke. It is serious. Not to mention, this c5, 6, 7 region is the most delicate part of the spine (from what I understand) I was in so much much pain I was considering surgery. I was seeing a chiropractor and he was the one that encouraged me to see a medical dr because chiropractic treatments in this area gone wrong, go horribly wrong. I’m not trying to scare you, just sharing what I was told. After an MRI it was found that I had a buldged disc in this area, which might be a little different than what you have, but I started traction physical therapy (in tears) but after my treatments and the use of this contraption from my brother, I have been pain free since. It is similar to what you have but it provides the “traction” to stretch your neck – the thing actually is so crazy looking it gives my girls a good laugh, but works miracles, I personally can feel it all along my back and provides much relief for headaches, stiff muscles etc. I rarely have chiropractic visits anymore, when I’m starting to feel off in my neck area, i just use it every night for awhile. I wouldn’t recommend using it before you are a little better and of course I’d talk to a dr or pt person, but it works! my husband tried it for the first time 2 nights ago and he said i would’ve never believed you, having not used it myself (i don’t know if he thought i was faking my relief before or what?!?!? :) ) – this is the one my brother had, i found the exact same on on (searching by dr ho) for 1/2 the price. Good luck! I sympathize with your pain, and inability to move. Take care of yourself first so you can have a pain-free 35 more (i was 35 when mine happened too…)

    PS… okay i was double checking the site and can’t get there while at work so maybe it’s not quite right, but I know it’s dr ho, so maybe just search by that. it’s purple, has 3 contected inflatable (hand pumped) “bladders” that velco around your neck – yes i know it sounds ridiculous – looks that way too, but I’m telling you, it does work.

  • Kristi


    neck comforter

  • Nancy

    I’m so sorry to hear about your pain……(frowny face). You’re young! You’ll heal fast! I was amazed at how long your neck it! Get well quick, sweetie!

  • Lynne

    Feel better soon!

  • Mehgann

    I have serious arthritis in my lower back (much of it stemming from an auto accident in 2000), so I can empathize. The only advice I can give is keep walking! Also, maybe consider acupuncture for the really painful days. I have found (despite an almost crippling fear of needles…let me tell you!) that it really does help relieve the pain. Oh, btw I am not allowed to take any NSAIDs at all due to the worst allergy on the planet, so that was why I tackled my fear to try the acupuncture. If NSAIDs work for you, then you may not need to try it.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • Nicole

    I agree with the PT who said that all doctors pretty much hate back squats. I have (err… had. Last session was today :( ) an excellent personal trainer who worked with my posture and flexibility and mobility limitations to help me improve my range of motion. I haven’t progressed to back squats yet, but I am perfectly happy doing goblet squats, DB split squats, Zercher squats, Bulgarian split squats, and Zercher split squats… just know that there are lots of weightlifting options besides back squats!

    I would check into working with a trainer who really knows what he/she is doing and will prescribe some corrective work for you… I think Neghar Fonooni is in your area:

    Strengthening my back and posterior chain has really helped with the neck issues I have, but I have also had good results (as some have suggested) working with a chiropractor. Not everyone is willing to go that route though… Honestly I would try to work with a good personal trainer before anyone else (well, maybe some physical therapy while you’re still in the acute phase.)

    I hope you heal quickly!

  • Lori

    :( Get well soon!

  • http://deleted Paula

    Sorry to hear about the neck. I hope you heal fast. I know exactly what you mean when you state you feel worse if you don’t exercise. I am the same way. I get stiff as a board. I just have to keep moving especially the older I get. Walking is a wonderful exercise.

  • AmandaRunz

    It really sucks you’re having back issues. BUT. You are the sexiest blogger I know in a neck brace. lol! Feel better!! Walking is a good way to “burn fat”. Between that and your A-ha moment, you’ll be down in no time! And then back to running and weight training!

  • joyce

    Stop carrying that baby around when you go for a walk…put him in a stroller!!! Your back and neck will thank you for it. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  • Melanie

    Poor YOu?!! That is awful honey, there is nothing worse than back pain. I though my husband and I were the only ones who had these probs (Im 35 too)?
    Ditto on giving up the baby carrier
    those things are just too hard once they get a certain age. Backpack carrier is a better option. You just get some rest and keep walking -the most natural from of excercise- even the Pros have to take time off for injuries. Good luck!! :) PS Heating Pad is my best friend at least once a month haha

  • Janelle

    Sorry to hear about your injury! I wanted to throw this out there because I hadn’t seen anyone suggest it yet. Look into massage therapy! I’m not talking about the froo froo Swedish massage relaxation crap, I’m talking about targeted treatment massage. If you go to a chiropractor (and you absolutely should! Second opinions are always great), they will likely either have someone like this in their practice, or be able to give you a referral.
    Good luck in your recovery! I know it’s probably driving you nuts not to be able to do what you want. Sending lots of healing vibes your way!

  • girliefriend

    Sorry you’re in pain Roni. I totally agree with the massage therapy suggestion. When I pinched the nerves in my neck (C6, I believe), a combination of chiropractic and massage therapy (positional release), saved my life. And the only time I wasn’t in severe pain and in tears was when I worked out. So Leslie Sansone and I became very good friends during that time, up to 4 sessions a day. Feel better girl!

  • Kathleen

    I’m just glad you got in and have a plan in place. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. Lots of hugs and keep that chin…. wherever it needs to be ;)

  • Jacqui

    I’m sorry you’re in pain, I know it’s got to be so hard when you have children that want your attention. I’ll be praying for quick healing for you and peace in the meantime! xo

  • Barbara

    this is what really helped me.
    lay on your bed on your back.
    let you head hang off the side or bottom of the bed.
    Have hubby or Ryan around to support the head.
    Then slowly and I mean slowly move your head to the left and then the right then slowly lower it.
    I will let you know it will hurt but it helped me so much.
    hope you feel better soon.

  • Vi

    Just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery Roni. Be patient with your body as it heals and be kind to yourself!!!! I have been derailed by serious illness for many years and I know what a marvel the human body is but I understand how frustrating it is to wait for it to recover as well.

    Sending positive thoughts your way ♥

  • Becky

    I’m so sorry! Heal up soon! I have arthritis in my back at 35 and still am able to run, can’t ramp up as hard as others, but I am sure you too will be back at it and learning what does and doesn’t work. If walking feels good, do it. :) I’m glad you found something so quickly. hope you can pick up Little Bean again soon. More healing vibes from here!

  • Lori

    Roni – I’m praying for a quick healing process. I can’t imagine with all you have going on…something to throw a bump in the road. Hang in there!

  • Kim (@zurichnee)

    I know how you feel! I was having major pain for a long time, got an x-ray and was told everything was fine. The Dr did however, send it to be read and sure enough DDD between C5 and C6. Irreversible of course. I understand your pain. With the meds I was given and following Dr’s orders it didn’t take too long to feel normal again. Praying that you recover quickly. Take care of yourself! With a busy life like yours you must remember to care for yourself with as much love as you care for boys and your hubby!

  • Tina

    Sorry to hear you’re injured :( The doctors news does sound scary. Hope you heal quickly. Is there a way to help? Calcium vitamins? In the meantime, enjoy those long walks… I bet they’ll put you in a great mood every time. PS, I loved your food journal the other day. It always inspires me to get back on track (and I’ve been WAY the heck off track lately and feel gross).

  • shari


    I feel ya. I am 33 and have had neck issues on and off for 6 years now. Mine are also C5, c6 and c7
    I have herniated disc and a lot of other issues.
    When i was 31 i went to a neck, pain and spine institute , they gave me a rx drug and told me to do 3 months of physical therapy or they could just do surgery on my neck now!!! WHAT? i am 31 yrs old and they want to cut my neck open!
    anyway – after ALOT of research over the years and after years of physical therapy i found a really good muscular therapist and a doctor who also tries to do the more natural approach first. I can honestly say this has been the best thing i have EVER EVER EVER done for my pain and my neck.
    I see the neck doctor once about every 3 months now and he gives me lidocaine shots in my neck. ( this helps the body heal on its one somehow, can’t rem everything he told me, but they use this treatment in germany a lot)
    I see the muscular therapist only when i flair up now.

    THis is the best thing i have ever done. I spent years in docs offices, and all they did was give me a drug and send me to therapy. Im sure this is great for something but it only made it worse for me.

    I actually also live in maryland so if you would ever want more info I could tell u where i went.
    The neck doctor ( pain specialist) does take my insurance and its pretty inexpensive to see him. He is the one that gives me the shots. He told me not to try cortisone first bc that can do further damage and break down the tissues.

    Anyway- long story short! I can honestly say I am now back to being active but I can no longer do any push/pull workouts or push ups. These things just flare my neck up. I can do however spin class, walking and I do body pump at GOLDS and just motify things i know will mess me up.

    Take care
    if you want more info on these doctors u can email me and at least call and check them out yourself.

  • Sara (Ms. Adventures in Italy / Food Blogger on a Diet)

    Argh, I go away for a week and miss all the important stuff! So what exactly is the recovery? How long do you have to wear the brace? :(

  • Laura

    Oh lordy, my sympathies. I used to be a fairly active person but have been suffering from a herniated disc in my lower back for the last year and half that sidelined me. I’m very familiar with the weird combination of advice where they tell you to rest, and exercise to strengthen your muscles. (Pick one! Can’t do both at the same time!) I also have had a really tough time with the advice to exercise to get my core muscles strong, which I need in order to prevent further disc herniation problems, but every time I do much exercise that would help strengthen my core, I throw my back out. FOR THE LOVE.

    I basically avoided all exercise for the better part of a year, waiting until I was recovered enough to go back to my strength training and hard workouts. I’ve finally started to make peace with the idea that I may never recover to that point, and I cannot keep just avoiding exercise entirely, so I’m doing gentler things my body can handle instead, like swimming and yoga. I sincerely hope you don’t have a problem that proves as long-lasting as mine, because it’s very frustrating. I would suggest chiropractic and massage therapy to help work through it though, it’s immensely helpful with any pain.

  • shari

    I left u a really long reply last night but i don’t see it now….so weird….ill have to write it again later.

    Love ur blog and have been following for years.

  • Reinaldo

    +1000 for @shari response. Here in my area, in Chile, some docs treat (very few, sadly) treat even BIRTH PAINS with shots of lidocaine IN THE SKIN. They work wonders in after-surgical procidures as well. And no, no witch doctors. The same doc that gives you the anesteshia for a surgery. The idea is relatevly new, but it works.
    Of corse, it doesn’t make the root problem OK. But it helps to be pain free so you can work in the real issue (in my point of view, posture in this case).
    Best wishes, I’ll pray for ya when I decide what God I believe in. So for right now, my prayers are FW to whatever is up there ;) (I’m pretty sure SOMETHING is up there)

  • shari

    REINALDO- this doc tells me to muscular therapy ( massage) chiropractor and the shots and then stretching.
    The problem will not ever be completely fixed but it avoids surgery at my age and has done wonders for me as far as being able to be active again and not be in pain.

  • Gail

    Welcome to the Crap Neck Club! I read your post on Tough Mudder and saw your comment about checking w/the doctor about your neck so I found this post.

    I got diagnosed with “military neck” in my late 30s — I think most of it is genetic and a lot stems from computer time. There also are herniated disks in there, too.

    Best thing I do is monthly massages — it really loosens up the neck and shoulder muscles, which have to do the heavy lifting since my neck is improperly aligned.

    And I feel your pain on the barbell thing. I loved doing BodyPump classes but that barbell squat thing is the WORST for bad necks.

  • roni

    I took BodyPump today and did squats sans-weight.. it was STILL freakin’ hard!


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