I'm working on a system to learn from my nerve issues

Around March last year, I started feeling some weird tingling going down my right arm. I thought it was just some muscle strain so I gave it some rest. But it wouldn’t go away, even after a few weeks. I went to see a physical therapist, and she said it was radiculopathy in my neck (or a pinched nerve in simpler terms.) She said that with therapy it gets better. So I did the physical therapy. 2 weeks... 1 month... 3 months... And it still wasn’t disappearing. Even the therapist couldn’t figure it out.

To cut a long story short- even today, I can still feel a bit of tingling going up and down my arm. This has been really tough for me. I enjoy movement and exercise, and having this nerve problem made me feel frustrated and afraid. I wasn’t sure what to do.

As I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that my nerve issues might be here for a while, my problem is to figure out how I can meaningfully work with this.

I don't want to just wait and do nothing. I don't want to be so afraid of aggravating my nerve issues that I just never do any physical activity again. At the same time, I don't want to ignore it. It feels wrong to just "push through the pain" and just do whatever I want. I'm trying to figure out how I can safely do some movement while honoring that I'm not at 100% physically.

The idea I have is to come up with a meaningful logging system. I'm working on something simple that I can do every day, and then look back on week upon week to see what the trends are.

There’s an app called Pathways I tried for a while and was really helpful. I’m going to steal one of their concepts. The app asked me to check in every day and just rate my pain with a number.

I thought I'd adapt it by using the number, but also some qualitative descriptors. So here’s what I tried this week on my iPad:

- I'll not what kind of movement I did for that day

- Then I'll put a number on how my nerves feel

- Then I'll make a qualitative note

- Red: Loud, Numb

- Yellow: Humming, Tingling

- Green: Quiet, Calm, Relaxed

Then at the end of the week, I’ll look at what I wrote and try to summarize it.

What I’d like is to put those weeks together and review them every so often. That way I can see how things are trending, and I can also observe what kind of movements I can do safely.

This week, my takeaway is that I can walk, stretch and garden without too many issues. On my class day it got bad! (Maybe stress is a trigger.. noted). I hope this is simple enough to do faithfully, and then slowly learn and adapt on what I find out.