neck problems?

Travis Bickle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Anybody else out there have to deal with neck problems that might either be related to playing pool or maybe worsened by spending hours at the table? Maybe you adjusted your stance to cope with it? Or took time off? I'm curious whether anybody here has gotten any medical advice on it.

My doc seems not to think pool playing is an issue, which would be great, but I'm not feeling right when I'm playing now (tingles, burning sensations). So I'm giving it a rest and trying to adjust.
 

conetip

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Travis Bickle said:
Anybody else out there have to deal with neck problems that might either be related to playing pool or maybe worsened by spending hours at the table? Maybe you adjusted your stance to cope with it? Or took time off? I'm curious whether anybody here has gotten any medical advice on it.

My doc seems not to think pool playing is an issue, which would be great, but I'm not feeling right when I'm playing now (tingles, burning sensations). So I'm giving it a rest and trying to adjust.
I broke my neck at 20 yrs old. I have a fusion neck 3-4, shifting 2-3 and 5-6. I know exactly the sensations you are discribing. IN a flexed situation I get real problems. So the best thing for me is now learning how to shoot pool from a stance that does not mean flexing my neck. I cannot get my chin on the cue and shoot all night. I can do 1 or 2 shots at most. So I am trying to shoot in a more upright manor.You have to do what you have to do. But for me, getting headaches, and tingly feelings in arms and legs means , change what I am doing.But I figure that playing any pool even badly due to stance is better than not playing any at all and making excuses.I am lucky. 24 years ago I was given a long list of what not to do. But just learn to adjust to your conditions.It is not going to be any better than it is now. So have fun.
Regards Neil Lickfold
 

mantis99

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
conetip said:
It is not going to be any better than it is now. So have fun.
Regards Neil Lickfold

While most of what was said in the above post is good, the last statement may not be true. While Conetips symptoms come from a cervical (neck) fracture and resultant fusion, the pain Travis is speaking of may be from an entirely different cause, and the cause will determine what he will need to do to be able to play pool. For example, a cervical herniated disk would cause pain when you flex your neck forward (in general), while peolpe with cervical stenosis have pain and tingling when extending their head backwards.

It is important for you to find out why you are having these symptoms. Obviously you have already been to at least your general practitioner. If he is unable to diagnose your problem, or recommend a treatment, then he will (or should) send you to a specialist (physiatrist, neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon with a spine fellowship). There are treatments that may be able to help. Normal starting places would be antiinflammatories and physical therapy. If this does not help, and MRI will often be taken, and possibly epidural or facet injections given.

I certainly would not assume that it is not going to get any better. Many people have these types of symptoms each year, and have them relieved with some form of treatment. On the other hand, if you do nothing about it, it may get worse. I certainly do not mean to contraindicate your Dr. but If you feel increased pain when playing pool, then that is probably a sign that pool is not completely ok. It may not be the cause, but is obviously irritating the symptoms. If I had a bruise, than I would not keep punching it. Whatever is going on, you are aggravating it when playing pool. A simple adjustment to stance or neck positioning may be all it takes to relieve the symptoms, or you may need to avoid playing until it is healed.

There are a lot of reasons why you might be having these symptoms, and no one can diagnose you without seeing you. The pool stance can put some stress on your neck, and may need some adjustment. I would try some different positions, but if it does not help, I would seek out further medical attention, especially if you have the symptoms with other daily activities besides pool.
 

conetip

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Mantis99 is correct. I have both the problems flex forward and backward. I have had done all that can be at the moment. When the other disk get worse then the options are usually more surgery. For me , my condition will not improve. But he is correct in saying get more than 1 opinion. Also now there is much better treatment available for neck injuries.Mine was the result of an accident.Xrays cannot determine series neck injuries. But a modern scans can .Discogram can also show herniated damage.
Neil
 

Travis Bickle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
conetip said:
I broke my neck at 20 yrs old. I have a fusion neck 3-4, shifting 2-3 and 5-6. I know exactly the sensations you are discribing. IN a flexed situation I get real problems. So the best thing for me is now learning how to shoot pool from a stance that does not mean flexing my neck. I cannot get my chin on the cue and shoot all night. I can do 1 or 2 shots at most. So I am trying to shoot in a more upright manner.

Neil, that's pretty rough. Makes my situation seem reasonable, by comparison. Yes, and as Mantis suggests, I have seen a neurologist, had a couple of MRIs and found some stuff. In my case, it's a narrowing at C5, or stenosis. It's not at the stage where they'd HAVE to do surgery, but if it gets worse, yes. And from what I've read, that can make things worse as often as it can make things better.

For a couple of months, I've been taking anti-inflammatories and they've taken the edge off. But yeah, I'm trying to shoot a little more upright, too, and see if that helps. So far, not so much. And I'm going to take a week off now and see how that feels.

And Randy, no, I don't wear glasses. Use contacts. So I could adjust my eye angle ... felt a little funky, but I guess I'd better get used to it!
 

Travis Bickle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Don't want to go on too much about my own situation here! Just trying to get a handle on how common this crap is among pool players and how they've dealt with it. Ran into another guy at my room who seems to be having similar problems, but I doubt pool is the original cause of this stuff. But I've been wrong before!

In my case, I'm sure there were some underlying problems and I think they got jangled up when I bashed my tailbone sledding in January.
 

TheBook

Ret Professional Goof Off
Silver Member
I occasionally get a stiff or sore neck. I don't know if it is from playing pool or from looking at the computer monitor. I do wear glasses and they are the transition type that are for close up at the bottom and distance at the top. So when looking at a monitor I have to tilt my head back.


Some years back there was a article in the paper showing a pool player and I think it was Earl. The article was about 9 Ball Neck. It said that players were straining their necks from constant 9 Ball playing.
 

mantis99

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Travis,
Stenosis in general gets worse when you have to move your head backwards, extending your neck, or if you side bend your neck to the side that your symptoms are on. This causes the holes where the nerves come out to become smaller. Most of the time, when we shoot pool, we bend forwrd at out waist, and then tilt our head up to see the ball which generally extends the neck. My first thought would be a more upright stance with an understanding that extending your neck will likely bring on your symptoms. Also, when this problem occurs, it often causes a lot of muscle guarding. Many people get a lot of tightness in the muscles of the neck and upper shoulders, which can irritate your symptoms more. There are some specific stretches and movements that can generally help stenosis, and at least allow you tolerate play more. How old are you? This usually occurs with aging (generally around 60, but not always), unless you are genetically predisposed to it.
I treat people with this quite often. There results really depend on how advanced the symptoms are. If the holes have become too small, there is not a lot that can be done, but if not, there are stretches, ex's, and manual techniques, as well as traction that can help relieve the symptoms. Also, really undrestading what positions will bring it on will help you manage it.
 
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conetip

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for the insight Mantis99. The info has helped me already. I now just have to learn a new way of shooting. Thanks again, Neil Lickfold
 

Travis Bickle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Mantis, thanks for the ideas on this. Are you a doctor or a therapist? Anyway, I'm 48, but I guess my neck is a little older! Tried to send you a PM, but your box is full ...
 
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HollyWood

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
no joke bobble head advice

Try sleeping without a pillow, I have for over 12 yrs. that little camping pillow that comes with your sleeping bag. (is 6"-6") almost too much, neck pillow is another option. You should video tape your self because you will possibly look frozen, not correctly low enough- It will help mentally as well. You will need some cardo- bicycle- swimming- salt water is best because of floatation, snorkling with fins. Rehab yourself in hawaii or someplace with calm,cool blowing tropical weather. it will make the slow going more enjoyable. And don't be afraid to tell the doc- somedays are too much pain and some medication is needed. without pain relief- we will never recover. mark have a great day
 

cuejoey

25 mm chain guns matter
Silver Member
I was involved in an accident 10 years ago in which i am lucky that i am not dead or paralyzed..After neck surgery from which i now have a metal plate supporting my spinal cord i have to take about 6 Lortab 10/500 per day to function...When laying down on a bed i found that it puts too much pressure on my neck which then causes migrain headaches....I have found it best to sleep in a LazyBoy chair sitting in an upright position... It took me a long time to find just the right chair that was ergonomically correct for me..............I remember reading about a man with similiar probems and could not sleep for many years...He went on his first plane ride and slept thru the 8 hour flight !!! He was so excited about finally sleeping that he purchased a new airline passenger seat for about $3,500 and has been sleeping well since then...Good luck to all of those with this medical problem...:)
 

Luxury

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Two words: Massage chair.

I bought the top of the line model and it loosens up my back and neck. It gives a killer foot massage too. Its the ht1650 from human touch. Retails for 4800 I got it for 2500 on craigslist. I think getting your neck loosened up might help.
 

av84fun

Banned
mantis99 said:
Travis,
Also, when this problem occurs, it often causes a lot of muscle guarding. Many people get a lot of tightness in the muscles of the neck and upper shoulders, which can irritate your symptoms more. There are some specific stretches and movements that can generally help stenosis, and at least allow you tolerate play more.

I was a classic "neck guarding" person. As neck pain became more and more of an issue with me...due largely to age and not truama...I began to move my neck less and less to the point that I almost had to quit playing pool.

A friend who is a PT for one of our local major league sports teams recommended I get a type of physical therapy called "mayofascial release therapy."

This is not one of those "voodoo cures" but rather is becoming increasingly utilized in major hospital PT clinics including one of the largest hospitals here in Nashville.

Basically, it involves a series of VERY SLOW stretching moves that stretches the fascia or connective tissue that tends to lose its elasticity and literally binds up the neck muscles and causes pain.

When beginning my treatment, (6 sessions) I had only about 65% of normal range of motion and was in constant paid...causing restricted neck movement and decreasing range of motion.

After the therapy, I was restored to 90% of normal range of motion for my age and was PAIN FREE. There are a few stretches I still need to do on my own that take about 5 minutes while I watch TV.

It has been 2 years since I took the therapy and can vouch for its effectiveness...at least for MY symptoms.

I would strongly urge you to consult your doctor...who may or may not have become informed about this approach...and/or a respected physical therapy clinic.

Good luck.

Regards,
Jim

PS: I was also instructed to obtain a countoured "memory foam" pillow of the Temper-Pedic variety and highly recommend them as well.
 
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Travis Bickle

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Jim,

Yeah, that "neck guarding" business wasn't an issue for me, until I got the diagnosis. Now, I get paranoid and want to keep it from getting worse, of course. But I think I'm getting an idea on what moves to avoid, at least.

Seems wrecks do it for a lot of people, and who hasn't had them when they were young and foolish? Had about 3 myself, never hospitalized or got medical treatment after, but was surely banged up some and I guess your spine doesn't necessarily forgive and forget.
 
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Billy_Bob

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When I first started playing I frequently lost and seldom broke.

Then I practiced a ton every day and learned all I could. Then I started winning a bunch of games all of a sudden. Therefore I suddenly started breaking a LOT.

This gave me neck problems and a stiff right upper shoulder. It gets better with time. It helped me when this first happened to break more softly or ask my opponent to break for me if we were playing for fun (give it a rest).
 

mantis99

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I am a physical therapist. I will clear my PM's so you can send me one.

Myofascial release really is not all that new. It became popular in the 80's, and has since died down, but is still useful for certain diagnoses like what you described. It is actually useful for anything involving soft tissue injury when used in combination with other treatments. Great to hear you had success with it.

These types of injuries really need to be evaluated and treated on a case by case basis. What worked for one may not work for another, and there can be a lot of variability in the actual problem from person to person.
 

av84fun

Banned
mantis99 said:
I am a physical therapist. I will clear my PM's so you can send me one.

Myofascial release really is not all that new. It became popular in the 80's, and has since died down, but is still useful for certain diagnoses like what you described. It is actually useful for anything involving soft tissue injury when used in combination with other treatments. Great to hear you had success with it.

These types of injuries really need to be evaluated and treated on a case by case basis. What worked for one may not work for another, and there can be a lot of variability in the actual problem from person to person.

I don't know whether it is more or less popular now than in 1980 but the PT who referred me is rather a superstar PT being dedicated to a major league sports team.

He is a member of the Wisconsin PhysicalTherapy Association and took his PT training at the University of Wisconson-Madison.

WPTA has for many years held programs in myofascial release therapy and continues to do so.

The reason I didn't take the therapy from my friend is A) he is too busy and B) he told me that the practice of MRT is "WAY too boring" for him.

He said that the progressive stretches..that often take as long as 10 minutes to accomplish about a 6 inch movement of the neck requires a certain kind of therapist willing to perform such therapy.

I never once remained awake for an entire one hour session. But I can confirm that there is a DEFINITE "release" that can be felt when the fascia is finally stretched beyond what previously was a point of tension that caused pain.

The therapy is not necessarily...but can be...indicated to treat trauma...which was not the issue in my case.

Rather, it was just age that led to a progressively smaller range of motion and the related tightening of the fascia.

Releasing that tension progressivley and skillfully was an absolute cure for my issue...together with periodic at home stretching excercises that I do about 25% as often as I should!!! (-:

As I mentioned, the therapy was administered on an outpatient basis at Nashville's large and prestigious Centennial Medical Center and I highly recommend that anyone suffering from chronic neck pain seek out a MRT practitioner since, as I am sure you know, MD's have a tendency to want to treat everything will pills or surgery.

Regards,
Jim
 
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