cervical spondylosis

aniford Member Posts: 3
please help. I was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis about 20yrs ago and saw rheumotologist, neurologist and orthopaedic specialists. At that time I was advised nothing could be done to alleviate any of the symptoms and I would have to manage the pain, keep myself fit and live with it.
I have been on pain medications, and various anti-inflammatory drugs for all those years. Though I had to stop taking anti-inflammatory ones because of gastric problems.
I have been through the physio, acupuncture, pain management scenario's and have managed my symptoms and remained active.
In the last year or so symptoms have worsened so I have returned to my GP repeatedly to try and get further help. It is difficult to get the GP to do anything other than prescribe more narcotics but I recently had x-rays done, the first for 20yrs, which show further degeneration in the C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae (I think there is probably similar problems with the lower vertebrae too).
I am having physio again but after two appointments for traction, which is painful, I have been referred back to the original therapist.
I have now got to the stage of being desperate for some sort of alternative other than managing the pain. I am no longer able to cope with how debilitating this is.
I have briefly looked at some information about cervical disc replacement but my GP has told me that it is not an option. Im not convinced that he is saying it isnt an option because of funding.
Please help, how can I get further help? Is there some way of getting someone to take my condition seriously? Is it possible to get some sort of support? Someone to help me push for further treatment?


  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,769
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dear Andrea,

    Thank you for your post to Helplines. I can appreciate just how difficult can be when you are experienced at self managing your arthritis, but how challenging it can be as your arthritis changes and your confidence at managing the problems can get shaken. I wonder whether you feel like talking about the situation? Sometimes it can be helpful to talk things over - so if that would be an idea please do ring us on the freephone.

    We are not medically qualified so if I offer some suggestions please just cherry pick any ideas that seem helpful for you?

    If you like reading detailed information then the orthopaedic specialist Dr John Tanner's writings on back pain are very helpful on all spinal issues - second hand copies of Beating back pain or Your Guide to Back Pain are excellent and easy to find online. If you've read those you'll be prepared for the conversations you might end up having with consultants.

    Next if you want to get a referral beyond the GP it's worth making the GP aware that you are very experienced at self management (explain what you normally do in terms of exercise etc), but that you are having functional problems - then you need to spell out where you have difficulty. So if list them? Doing things at home (lifting / gripping), sleep, problems at work (be specific), whatever - if your mood or relationships are affected, it's worth saying it all.

    A helpful referral to try to obtain is to a musculoskeletal clinic for assessment. You'd be seen first by a senoir physio for assessment and treatment. Once they've seen you for a while if they feel you need to see the orthopaedic specialist they can refer on (especially if ask them), which may mean that you don't need to keep asking the GP.

    If you'd like an information pack please email [email protected] and say you've been on chat to helplines about your spine. Or see our self management courses 'in your area'.

    I hope that's helpful

  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 7,412
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Andrea,

    Welcome to the forum. I am a forum member. Oh the dreaded C5,6,& 7 vertebrae. So common for this set to cause problems of pain and horrible symptoms in the arms, hands and legs.

    I am not sure how your gp can say an operation is not an option. Has he a special interest and expertise in this field? From what I have read from others on this forum and my own spinal problems, there are so many different scenarios, a new knee or hip does not seem to be anywhere near as complicated which is understandable I suppose.

    A surgeon would first of all wish you to have an MRI. An MRI gives him so much more information than xrays. As I am given to understand a GP cannot refer you for an MRI, only a consultant/surgeon. You need to be referred and if your GP refuses to do so, perhaps it is time to find a GP who will, if at all possible.

    I do hope that you get something sorted very soon.

    Elna x
  • aniford
    aniford Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for both answers. First of all my GP is well aware of the specific problems I have. I really do think that funding is the problem. The GP is not a specialist and he does not know whether I would be a suitable candidate for surgery.
    Thank you for the information regarding MRI, I didn't realise this had to be a consultants referral.
    I will try and look at information regarding consultants questions so that I can be prepared. Making a list or writing a diary has been useful in the past.
    I have managed to persuade the GP to refer me to the orthopaedic dept at the local hospital. Of course it will be just a case of waiting now.
    Thank you
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,053
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    in our area a GP can send you for an MRI...and you can pay for a private one if funds allow about £400.


    toni xx

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