In May 2009 I participated in a mountain bike maintenance project which involved the clearance of large rocks from a trail. The group worked for several hours moving heavy rocks from the trail. I felt very stiff following day.
Within 2-3 days a deep, severe stabbing pain developed deep into my right shoulder blade. At the same time, a significant painful ache developed in my right triceps and bicep. My right forearm began aching, pins & needles developed as well as numbness was felt in my right hand.
Two weeks later, while massaging my right arm I noticed that the rear head of triceps had begun to waste. Strength tests of triceps at home confirmed an approx 50% loss of strength in right arm versus left. Significant tingling sensation also developed in out right mid pectoral muscle. Bicep wasting began as well and a burning sensation in shoulder began. Pain morphed to more general crushing/burning sensation in entire arm.
In August 2009 I had a 3 level cervical foraminotomy performed at another Hospital. I recovered from surgery very well but unfortunately within a few weeks it was evident that the procedure did not change pain levels. Weakness in triceps, shoulder, bicep, handgrip, continued. It became difficult to hold writing instrument or shake hands. Pain levels increased significantly and were constant.
By November 2009 my condition was notably worse and I began researching other options. Today, I consider myself very fortunate that I was referred by a friend to Dr. James Farmer of HSS. My friend had been a patient of Dr. Farmers and had a positive surgical experience.
In January 2010, I had a 3 level Anterior Cervical Disc Fusion performed by Dr Farmer. While relief for me was not overnight (At the time of the surgery the nerve damage/ disc compression had been ongoing for 8 months so I knew it could take some time) there came a day about six weeks post surgery when I felt notably better. After that, I began to get my life back.
While very careful, I began to bike and exercise again. I did make adjustments to my bikes geometry so as not to put my neck in an uncomfortable position. I also have no issue walking the bike through technical sections of a trail. I do not jump the bike as I used to. All that said, I’ve attached a picture of a mountain biking trip I took to Sun Valley Idaho in the summer of 2013. I believe that I would not have been able to function at that level again had it not been for Dr. Farmer, his staff, and HSS. I found folks there, without exception, to be warm, considerate and professional.
In all sincerity, the HSS team helped me though a very difficult time. Thank you.