osteoarthritis of the cervical spine

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janie66
janie66 Member Posts: 3
edited 3. Feb 2011, 09:58 in Living with Arthritis archive
I have just been told today I have this after 2 months of servere pain in my skull, neck and shoulders along with humungush headaches, my xray results have said i have osteoarthritis of the cervical spine :sad:
So i was wondering if I could get any good advice from anyone in the know with this condtion, what i would like to know, what kind of treatment should i be recieveing from my GP, as all ive been given is to keep taking pain killers, ive been give co-dramnanol, and naproxion tablets, also some voltarol gel, and advice to take up swimming especially aqua excersies, thats about it really, i actually left the surgery and cried when i got home, Ive tried to look stuff up myself, such as maybe a certain type of neck pillow or body pillow as i have a habit of sleeping on my stomache, thinking maybe a body pillow would stop me doing this and aid me to fall of to sleep better too, and also any self help treatment or methods etc, as im so new to this type of thing, as its so painful.

anyway, any advice would be gratefully recieved, oh also want to say I also am a fibromyaglia suffer, since 5 years ago now.

Thanks
x

Comments

  • magenta
    magenta Member Posts: 1,604
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie,
    Wanted to say hello and welcome to the site. I've OA in my jaw so kinda know what you're going through. I've also been told I've got fibro but I'm not convinced.
    I'm on Acupan and Amitryptilline for the pain and Etodolac for inflammation. My neck is affected too and I tend to lie on my side in bed with my pillow (only 1) all scrunched up so that it fits into my neck-hope that makes sense! When it's bad I find lying on my back is the only way I can get sleep.
    I'm waiting to see a surgeon for possible surgery and/or injections. There are things that can be done and I think your GP should be referring you to a specialist. There are lots of people on this site with similar probs to you and I know you'll get replies soon. Try and rest as much as you can and maybe try heat or cold packs?
    Take care and hopefully see you post soon,
    Magenta xx
  • caterina57
    caterina57 Member Posts: 1,424
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie and welcome
    You will find lots of help, support and advice here from all fellow sufferers. I too have OA neck, back, and unfortunately it seems to be off in other directions too. Currently off work as I have had a bad flare with chronic pain and I am off for a physio assessment in the morning.
    I can understand the Aqua classes as I used to go and they were the only thing that helped they were at my local gym but had to give up membership at the moment due to reduced finances!!
    Yes I tend to sleep on my tum - not good- but not heard of any specific type of pillow, I dont sleep too well cos of the pain in my neck.
    Others will be along to share their tips and experiences - dont be too upset we all offer each other support.

    Cath
  • daylily
    daylily Member Posts: 619
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie,

    I use one of those memory foam pillows that looks kinda like a wave.
    Put the biggest bump to my shoulder- it definately helps
    Doc referred me for physio today as I too have pain in skull, neck, headaches.

    That's all I've been offered to date.
    Do try the pillow though but get a decent one not a cheap
    Take care
    xx
  • puffin
    puffin Member Posts: 67
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie,
    Look up my posts on my experience with pillows and with a lower jaw splint which was amde by an orthodontist. The tightness of different sets of muscles, eg. jaw, at base of head, due to arthritic necks cause imbalance in the jaw so people have sleep apnea ( a breathing failure which keeps waking you up therefore you don't get good quality sleep) and also tend to grind their teeth.
    The splint keeps the lower jaw forward.

    I don't know whether you have this. The nerves in my tongue burn, especially on one side. The tongue puckers, it has noticeable fissures at times and I am prone to ulcers. After a period of talking, the tip is red and sore. My nerve damage is mainly down my left side. I wonder whether with a weak tongue, it falls back during sleep and partially blocks airways. I think I may turn on to my front automatically to counteract this. Have not seen this in any description.

    I am afraid I have very little back-up from doctors. I hope your experience is different.
    Puffin
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Morning janie66, welcome to the forums and I am sorry you have had to find us.

    I am afraid that your GP has probably done all he can. OA is treated with pain dullers and anti-inflammatories (which you have) and the advice to keep as mobile as possible with swimming etc is good, but as most women swim with their heads at a 45 degree angle to the water that isn't going to help your neck much, I would have thought. Are you any good at a racy front crawl? Even then you are turning your head from side to side to breathe which could be awkward. How about just floating on your back, that might help to ease the strain on those poor, tired muscle and give everything else in your neck a break from supporting your head. The human neck is an appalling piece of design, with the heaviest part of the body supported by seven tiny little bones, bits of cartilage and the odd muscle - no wonder things go wrong.


    I think daylily's pillow sounds good, aren't they called posture pillows or somesuch? I have a memory foam 'ordinary' pillow which has been very good but I reckon could do with being replaced, it's feeling increasingly solid! Sleeping on your front is going to force your neck to twist to one side, which is obviously going to put it under more stress, so if you can learn to sleep on one side, perhaps that would help - sleeping on one's back is not that easy, judging by the posts of the hip replacement people on here!

    Quite which specialist magenta is thinking of, I don't know. Rheumatologists are not the ones - they like people like me with auto-immune arthritis, 'cos they can then plague us with foul drugs that may or may not work but that make life pretty uncomfy. You OAers don't need that sort of rubbish, believe you me. A physio assessment could be an idea, to see if they can recommend any stretches or gentle exercises to help. I also have a regular sports massage to help with my neck and shoulders, but that is because I am on crutches and despite my best efforts they do get 'crunchy' from time to time - this could be very different from your neck problems. A 'beauty' type massage is utterly pointless - you do need someone to get in, down and dirty, and work on the tightness - that's a thought, anyway.

    I am glad you have found us - between us we have a wealth of knowledge, experience and (possibly) wisdom that is not to be found anywhere else - no-one will understand quite like we do, as we are all fighting similar battles. I wish you well, keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • julie47
    julie47 Member Posts: 6,041
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi janie66
    just want tto welcome you to the forum
    I aam also sorry you have had to find us. But as you can see people are very helpful.
    I at the moment are having neck issues but mine is to do with RA so cannot advise you.
    Just hope you can get on meds to help ease your pain
    Take care
    juliepf x
  • magenta
    magenta Member Posts: 1,604
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie,
    How are you today? Hope you are well?

    Felt I needed to add another wee bit to my reply with regards Dreamdaisy and 'Quite which specialist /magenta is thinking of' etc... I'VE been referred to a specialist ie. a maxillofacial surgeon who deals with the jaw-they also deal with the neck! The only reason why my rhuemy NEVER helped me was because, and I quote ' we don't do the jaw, only from the neck down'. If my dental consultant hadn't already referred me onto the max surgeon, THEY would have. I've also been given drugs to help with my inflammation and pain from the OA and the fibro. If I didn't have them this particular OAer would be a very miserable person.
    I'm sorry I've used your thread for my rant! I do honestly hope you get some help cos just giving you meds is not enough.
    Take care,
    Magenta x
  • katie5
    katie5 Member Posts: 242
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie

    I'm sorry to hear you have OA of the neck, spine etc. I've had the same for about 19 years now and I really do sympathize. I've found that massage really helps for all the tension I carry in my shoulder muscles. I had `trigger point` massage from a physio years ago and found it really good - unfortunately limited to 6 sessions of physio on NHS so I bought myself a book and now my poor husband works the knots out for me. I've just been reading about the body pillow and it sounds good.

    anyway sorry to ramble on.

    Katie x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi magenta, thanks for the clarification on the specialist bit - sometimes in the depths of the post it's easy to forget that although you know the info the reader might not - I know I do! I know that rheumatologists tend not to work that often with OAers (different root cause I suppose) so the maxo guy is a useful bit of info to have tucked away. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • seamonkey
    seamonkey Member Posts: 323
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi janie,
    Just wanted to say Hi and im sorry to hear your suffering. I am awaiting results of my MRI to see how my spine has been affected by what ever type of arthritis. Doc didnt see fit to tell me the type. Although she did say all she could do was give pain meds, although thats really not great at 32. ITs an awfull thing to be in pain and to feel as though nothing is being done for you. I hope you get some answeres here and can then move forward in some way.
    Hope today hasnt been too bad for you,
    wishing you well,
    seamonkey
  • janie66
    janie66 Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi all, and wow so many replies from people, I am overwellmed, honest :-). I will take your advice to all who have given me it, thank you thank you thank you, the pillow sounds great idea, will look those up, as for my gp to offer me something more than painkillers, i will try and get som phisio for my neck i think, I am just amazed i have to just get on with it, be in pain with just a bunch of pankillers to take everyday for the next 20-30 yrs!! as im only 44,, because that how ive been, in pain everyday now for 7 weeks constant, not one day has been a let up on it, im sick of being sick if i make sense, its starting to affect my moods and thinking now :-( Massage is good short term, and does take the pain away for about an hr after,but i do find the pain comes back even more sorer afterwards and the headaches start up from it too, why that is i dont know? do you think it would be a good idea to see another gp at my practice, see what they say??? as every GP in my experiace can offer sometimes something a little different, thank you all, and I hope your all feeling ok today, take care xxx
  • tjt6768
    tjt6768 Member Posts: 12,170
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie, just wanted to welcome you to the forum. I have oa in my knees and lower spine, and what bloody horrible pain comes from it.... :roll:
    I've recently had the knees injected twice, first time had about a months worth of feeling like I had my childhood knees back, before they returned to being the spiteful sods they have become, the second set of injections a few weeks ago appear to have done diddly so far, but it could be something worth trying for you maybe.. We all react differently to all the pain meds etc....
    Best of luck whatever happens hun...
    :grin:
    e050.gifMe-Tony
    n035.gifRa-1996 -2013 RIP...
    k040.gif
    Cleo - 1996 to 2011. RIP
  • bubbles
    bubbles Member Posts: 6,508
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie
    I too have OA of the cervical and lumbar spine, with osteophytes (bony overgrowth, that is quite common in OA). I also have fybromyalgia, so I, like many, can sympathise on many levels.
    The advice that has been given is all good, a memory foam pillow, just an ordinary shaped one, has been a help, not a cure, but, anything that helps is a plus.
    Physio was ok to a point, the neck excercises they wanted me to do, caused me to keel over, as there are so many nerves involved in all areas of the spine, so, that was a no go. They gave up in the end and it was a case of self management, alongside strong pain killers, drugs to deaden the pain receptors in the brain, muscle relaxants and or mild sedatives, both have a similar effect and can help quite a bit. Trying to keep a good posture, as far as is possible, says me, slouching as I type.

    Keeping your neck warm, with heat pads, certainly no draughts. Alternating between heat and ice packs was one suggestion from my physio, but I cannot bear cold packs on me, if you can, it might be worth a try, you can get cool gel packs which are not as harsh as a bag of ice.

    I hope some of the suggestions help, we are all in this together and support each other, so let us know how things progress. Take lots of care, XX Bubbles
    XX Aidan (still known as Bubbles).
  • skezier
    skezier Member Posts: 11,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie,

    Got it as well with the bone growths and disc problems etc. Mine is now fairly advanced they tell me but what i think your gp should be doing is

    Have you had an mri on it? my eyes are quite bad so i haven't been able to read it all so please forgive me if you have.

    It might help to see an ortho and get an opinion from someone 'slightly' better than a gp. GP's are sometimes quite limited in their understanding of oa in general and an ortho might have some ideas to help you.

    The physio is a good plan and could help with either exercises to keep it all more moving and also mine now gives acupuncture that helps with pain.

    I don't know what tablets you are on but from the headaches and pain it does seem they are not helping as much as maybe you need... that's back to an ortho's opinion really cus they understand pain better as well usually.

    Muscles are the best friends you can have with it as well.... Mine do the job the bones don't seem to be able to do on their own now a days.

    A referral to a pain clinic might also be a good idea for you depending on the results and if the ortho's do see you see if they think its a good idea.

    There are loads of things you can do to help the neck in a supportive way like keeping it warm, finding comfortable positions to sleep in etc but you do need the right medics to look at it as they may be able to help it to some degree.

    Sorry you have got it and hope so much that you get the right kind of help and support from your docs. Nice to meet you Cris x
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,493
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Janie

    I am so sorry I missed this thread :oops: not like me - honestly.

    I have cervical spond too and ahve a neck pillow it is sort of hollowed out in teh middle and is memory foam and rather good actually. ( I do have inflamatory arthritis too, but this is def the OA malarky).I use ice packs/heat packs when I am in real trouble too.

    I take anti inflams for it and alos apinkillers as well. The gels can be helpful especially if someone else rubs them in for you gently.I swim on my back and am going to try a kids' tubular float under my neck.

    Weirdly I just met a friend for lunch who has it as well - she is being sent to Oswestry which is a specialist hospital to see an orthopeadic surgeon for his opinion. She has also had physiotherapy.

    So as you can see theer are loads of things you can do and if it gets worse or you are still worried lots they can do too. Including pain clinis tens machines etc etc :grin:

    Love

    toni xx