3-years chronic neck pain more or less fixed by wearing posturology prism glasses

Discussion in 'Eye-Care' started by vermeer, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. vermeer

    vermeer

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    I'm suffering from chronic neck and occipital pain since I am 33 year old, 3 years ago. Before that I never had a neck issue in my life. I live an IT life (computer engineer) and as a teenager the only notable issues I had were 1) frequent otitis 2) strabismus.

    During 3 years I consulted litterally a hundred doctors. Of all specialties I could find: traumatology, spine surgeons, osteopathy, chiropractology, psychiatry (in case it came from stress), physiotherapy (including McKenzie specialists), neurology, massage therapy, acupuncture, physical rehabilitation (cervical traction, electrodes etc...), ORL (wrong diagnostic of labyrinthitis), dentists, ophtalmologists... I made all possible exams: xrays, MRI (cervical, cranial, ORL), TAC.

    I have cervical rectification and 3 herniated discs and made all the relevant tests, but my symptoms just do not match the usual symptoms of those hernia, thus this is a false lead IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
    vermeer, Aug 18, 2018
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  2. vermeer

    vermeer

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    Some (irresponsible) doctors made me take some medicines (Benzodiazepines and Amiltryptiline) and I regret very very much having gone in that direction.

    They solved nothing, just made things worse and I had to go through hell to quit them (horrible withdrawal symptoms, neck pain worse than ever). This was the darkest point of my story, when I was withdrawing from Valium I almost ended it all. This was approx 1 year after the beginning of my issue, and it made me much more skeptical about what doctors would tell me to do.

    I was forced to make major changes to my life. I could not sit anymore, the sitting position in general was exacerbating my neck pain. I just quit the sitting position (just imagine how difficult this is in social life, all the consequences, no table, no car, no desk...), and switched to a standing life, standing desk etc... I cannot run anymore, I can only walk slowly. (Remember, 33 years old!...) I quit biking. I quit wearing backpacks at all, I now only wear my stuff in a hand bag. I worked out a lot to get a stronger back and a more flexible body (calisthenics, yoga, balance sports such as paddle surfing...). I improved a lot my posture in all situations and the ergonomy of my work stations. All that helped a little, but only a little.

    I spent a lot of money of all cervical-related accessories you could find on the internet. Bought litterally everything I could find. I was in desperate mode. None made a significative improvement.

    At some point the only thing which would actually help was shaving the whole back of my head, and covering it in kinesiology tapes. That relieved occipital muscles a lot, alleviated the pain a lot. I wore those all the time for a while. But imagine how socially awkward this was.
     
    vermeer, Aug 18, 2018
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  3. vermeer

    vermeer

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    Then I found a better "black magic" thing which actually helped: wearing a "Gokhale head cushion" on my head all the time. This forced me to keep a good (I assume) cervical posture, and really really helped. Thanks to that, and only thanks to that, I was able to quit all medications forever since. I wore this thing for 9 months (!) but no doctor at that time understood why or how it worked. The later likely explanation I got for why it worked was that it repositioned my head in its proper spot.

    After 2.5 years of pain (!) as I was constantly fighting to not give up and to keep regularly consulting new doctors and new specialties, I randomly encountered a team of posturologists (an osteopath, a dentist and a behavioral optometrist). Their diagnostic was that the root cause was my visual system. It was a theory I never thought of, and they were right, to my big surprise. Here are two proofs of that:

    1) I had a try at wearing prism glasses (slight prisms of 2/3 diopters only) supposed to fix the position of my head, and it worked since day one. I was able to replace my "Gokhale head cushion" by those glasses forever since.

    2) A few months later, as I was doing a ton of visual therapy and experimenting stuff about my eyes, I tested 48 hours without watching any screen at all (no smartphone, tablet, computer, tv...) and it was a revelation. My pain was almost gone. The next day I watched again a screen for work, and the nightmare was back. The root cause was watching screens! It had nothing to do with posture, to my big surprise. I would get pain from watching any screen, whatever the posture. The screen was the problem.

    Shocking fact: during those 2.5 years, I did routinely consult some ophtalmologists and mention to them my chronic neck pain. None of them ever said anything about a potential link between the two :-(

    Since this major milestone in my story I consulted a ton of eye-related specialties (VT, optometrists, (neuro-)ophtalmologists etc...) to find why watching screens trigger my occipital pain. Every one has a slightly different theory and things are not clear yet.

    And now are my facts and questions to you guys in case you have some ideas...
     
    vermeer, Aug 18, 2018
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  4. vermeer

    vermeer

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    Facts
    - I have a slight exotropia and a quite important exophoria (20 degrees at the beginning, only 12 now, still going down with VT) thus a convergence insufficiency
    - My accomodation is not great (ARP less than 2 diopters, now almost 6 diopters thanks to VT / accomodation flippers)
    - My depth perception is not great, even if I can pass all the standard stereopsis tests.
    - When I converge on the first item of a "lifesaver card" (classic VT exercise, just google it), I cannot "locate" the virtual item floating between me and the card. Instead, I locate it in the same plane as the card. If I use a pen near the virtual item, then I can locate it correctly next to the pen.
    - When I watch a 3D movie in the theater, I can see the 3D but the objects never actually come very close to me. This activity does not trigger any pain. But the commercials in 2D just before the 3D movie actually do (I just close my eyes for 20 minutes). I remember seeing "Gravity" in 3D 6 years ago and having a better 3D experience.
    - I experience 3D very well in VR. This actually helps alleviate the residual pain of hours of screens before. Exact same thing for Nintendo 3DS.
    - Watching any 2D screen (smartphone, tablet, computer, tv, 2D mode of Nintendo 3DS) even a few seconds triggers occipital pain which will last for hours.
    - Pain does not come from "blue light" because I have put filters everywhere and it does not make a difference.
    - Reading books / paper / e-ink does not trigger pain as quickly as screens. But after 30 minutes or so it will get uncomfortable.

    Key fact
    - Watching a Nintendo 3DS screen is very comfortable, causes no pain and actually helps alleviate the residual pain of hours of screens before. As soon as I switch to 2D mode, occipital pain occurs. Back to 3D mode, no more pain. This also proves that blue light has nothing to do with my pain.

    Questions
    - do you have any idea about what causes my pain, consistent with all facts above?
    - any additional direction worth exploring for me?
    - is my case unique? I tried very hard to find similar cases, no luck yet.

    Theories I have heard so far (SPOILER ALERT - make your guesses before reading them...)
    - I "overuse" my accomodative system to compensate for my convergence insufficiency.
    - I "use my accomodation to converge" i.e. my acc-conv reflex does not make me converge enough, so I have the habit to accomodate more so that I converge more.
    - I must fix my depth perception issues (especially the lifesaver card location issue described above) and then everything will be better.
    - When watching 2d screens, my exotropia kicks in i.e. one of the eyes diverge and I suppress it.
     
    vermeer, Aug 18, 2018
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