Neck arthritis and muscle spasms

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jul
jul Member Posts: 40
edited 17. May 2014, 06:25 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi all, great to find this site, joined yesterday after suffering two weeks of constant pain. I was diagnosed with two narrowing discs and bony spurs in my neck, C2-3 in February after pain for two weeks. Two years ago i was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands and carpal tunnel.
I have been off work for nearly a week and my GP said it is possibly muscle spasms and referred me to physio. She has increased my pain killers and given me Diazepam. No changes yet.
Has anyone else had spasms? I really am not sure what to expect or why i am in pain so much when my doctor says my condition is mild, yet the pain is mostly unbearable. Can conditions worsen so quickly? Trying to keep upbeat.
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  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi
    Just to say I sent a reply via the hello forum
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    :) Hi Slosh, many thanks for your reply. I did reply on say hello, but it doesn't seem to have gone through. Hope it does this time.
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Slosh, just checked and it still hasn't gone through. Maybe its me.
    Anyway just wanted to say thanks again and am pleased to hear what worked for you during that time. I am not sure about the muscle spasms either or whether it is a flare up. Is your pain controlled more now?
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    jul wrote:
    Hi all, great to find this site, joined yesterday after suffering two weeks of constant pain. I was diagnosed with two narrowing discs and bony spurs in my neck, C2-3 in February after pain for two weeks. Two years ago i was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands and carpal tunnel.
    I have been off work for nearly a week and my GP said it is possibly muscle spasms and referred me to physio. She has increased my pain killers and given me Diazepam. No changes yet.
    Has anyone else had spasms? I really am not sure what to expect or why i am in pain so much when my doctor says my condition is mild, yet the pain is mostly unbearable. Can conditions worsen so quickly? Trying to keep upbeat.

    Hi Jul,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I have AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis) and also get muscle spasms. For me the pain is also unbearable and I have yet found anything to ease the pain, I do find that a cold gel or ice packs do sometimes help with the amount of spasms or how extreme they are but in terms of medications nothing seems to work. Thankfully for me when I do get my condition under control the spasms mostly go.

    I think doctors can often me wrong as to how bad/how much arthritis affects people, I recently changed hospital and my new doctor wrote a letter around 7-8 weeks ago saying I had no signs or arthritis other than in my back and that my condition was "mild", for the last 6 weeks I haven't been able to get out of bet yet alone work so it just goes to show that what we look like on the outside and what our blood results say are not always the full story.

    I don't think there is no way for anyone to tell how quickly arthritis can progress, it's different in everyone so it's hard to say.

    Do you know what type of Arthritis you have?

    I hope you find a solution to your spasms soon I know how painful and frustrating they can be
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Ah As5567, thank you! Your message really touched me.
    To know someone understands what i am going through. No one can see your pain or know what pain you are in. As far as i know i have osteo arthritis. Well thats what my GP said i had in my knees and hands. I think she said osteo in my neck, but just heard the word arthritis so i presume it is osteo. She said a lot of people have aches and pains in their necks as they get older and have arthritis and said mine was mild too. I felt like she didn't understand how much pain i am in and was playing it down a bit, even though she increased pain killers and referred me to physio. I am 47. Am worried about my job, even though my manager has been wonderful. I work as a cleaner.
    Thanks for the tips on the ice packs. Have been trying hot water bottle, so i will now try ice packs. What tests did you have to find out you had AS? How long have you had it and how long do spasms last? Sorry am asking lot of questions. :roll:
    I have had xrays and wonder if the physio will be able to tell me anymore as GP just gave me painkillers.
    Hope you are comfortable now
    Thank you again
    Jul
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I was first diagnosed with juvenile Arthritis as a child, for years I had blood tests, x rays, mri scans etc until they finally gave me a diagnosis. When I turned 18 my old doctor decided to run a blood test to check for a certain gene that is linked to AS which came back as positive. The positive gene result and overall symptoms resulted in a diagnosis of AS. My old doctor has always said that I have a server case and that my prognosis was likely to be that my condition will be server rather than mild. After being with this doctor for 11 years new NHS rules forced me to change hospital and see a new doctor. She had no medical notes and did some movements of my joints etc then said she would see me in 6 months time, her letter said I had no signs of arthritis in my joints and that I was mostly fine. It just goes to show that one doctor can assume when there isn't much evidence showing otherwise and I suspect this might be the case for you. You're seeing a GP at the moment so I would ask to have more tests/bloods done and possibly ask to be seen by a Rheumatologist just to investigate if you have a different form of Arthritis to Osteo. I find that most GP's these days are so rushed of their feet that they don't tend to look into things as much as they should, and they base a lot of things on assumptions rather than facts.

    My back spasms last anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes it really is random, the worst time for me seems to be at night when I'm trying to sleep, the moment my body relaxes as I fall to sleep a spasm will happen and wake me up, this has been ongoing for the last 5 weeks and I haven't had one full night sleep yet, I'm lucky to get 1 hour!
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    When in pain our bodies tense, putting our muscles under further strain. Gentle massage may help things to ease and unknot, heat is usually better for relaxing muscles than ice (so a warmed wheat bag draped around your neck could be beneficial) as could wearing a rolled hand towel to support your chin / head rather than your over-stressed muscles having to hold up one of the heaviest parts of the body.

    Pain perception is as individual as us, one man's mild twinge is another's agony and no-one can judge another's discomfort. I have learned to increase my pain tolerance (I've had seventeen years of practice) and have just spent a 'lovely' weekend in bed thanks to my OA and fibro playing up. Most annoying. :lol: DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi
    I have cervical spondylosis which is a form of OA in my neck between C5 and T1, and have had two prolapsed discs removed and the vertebrae fused. Mine was diagnosed after an MRI scan. My GP initially sent me for physio but after the second session the therapist said what she had advised was not effective and sent a letter to my GP requesting the MRI. My GP had originally thought it was something called cervical facet syndrome, the facets are small bones between the vertebrae and can become displaced this is painful and causes clicking in the neck, but responds to physio and normally lasts about 6 weeks. It could be one possibility as an alternative to OA.
    I was also prescribed diazepam to relax the muscles to try to help the physio work but was only allowed to have it for 2 weeks as my GP said it was too addictive to take for any longer, a shame as it really helped with the pain.
    In terms of self help like others I use a heated wheatbag at times and I have just ordered a memory foam mattress topper. I also have a shaped memory foam pillow (from a certain online retailer that has been in the news recently) and from when I first went to the GP was advised to only sleep on one pillow. I also have a soft, lightweight neck collar that I sometimes wear in bed to help keep my neck in a good position as I go to sleep.
    I'm quite new to this forum too and it's great, but as others say it's a shame to have to find it.
    Good luck
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi,
    Thank you all for your replies. You all have suffered so much and struggled to get the help you deserve and need. Thanks for all the advice. If it is spasms, well they are constant, that's why i wonder if it is. Or is it a flare up or fibromyalgia. I really don't know. My boss has just told me, she doesn't think i can carry on cleaning as it is not fair on me and her business. Please don't get me wrong, she has been lovely, but guess she is worried about her business too as i am the only cleaner. I am tempted to go back to work this week, but am worried how i will cope as i am still in pain and just want to lie down to. Feel a bit low now, but trying to see the positive side, just worried about paying my rent etc on sick benefit. I just want to feel better again but unsure whether this is a temporary stage or not. I know there are so many of you a lot worse than me, so have a lot to be thankful for. Sorry to go on.
    I have bought to memory foam pillow, which i am slowly getting used to.
    You have to keep smiling though, there is always someone worse off.
    Thanks again for all your support.
    Jul x
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Just got my physio appointment through for this Friday, so fingers crossed. Be feeling much better soon. :D
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Good to hear it has come through quickly for you. Keeping my fingers crossed it does the trick for you. Being on Diazepam shoukd help
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,730
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I hope it helps, jul. Please let us know how you get on :)
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thank you Stickywicket and Slosh.
    Wish you both well. :)
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    The fact that there are others worse off is immaterial because this is affecting you and that is the important bit to remember. I was self-employed (so had a very understanding boss :wink: ) and battled on for longer than I maybe should but I am fortunate in that I have a husband who can afford to support us on his salary. My heart goes out to those who don't have that luxury, it's an added stress to an already stressful situation. :(

    Your health is top of your priority, there are still things to be found out so let's get that done first, yes? Your boss has a fair point but you are aware that you feel you cannot cope with it at the moment; it may be worth your while contacting the CAB for information about where you stand and what her responsibilities towards you may be. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello jul
    I see the others have given you lots of advice,I hope your appointment with the physio goers well for you, I found the exercises they gave me for my neck were brilliant and I still do them at home.
    Love
    Barbara
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Dreamdaisy
    Thank you for your comments, you are right. My manager has just rung me and i have had a lovely chat with her. She just wants me well and is worried how i will cope when i come back, so hopefully we can find a different role for me. Phew, thats a relief. Was worried as i felt useless.
    Sorry to hear you had to give up your job. How are you now?
    I am on my own, so things are a bit of a worry. Feeling a bit more positive tonight. Hope you are ok. :D
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Barbara
    Thank you.
    Glad exercises helped you. Did you have muscle spasms too?
    Looking forward to Friday.
    Take care
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Being on one's own makes things decidedly tougher but you have found us and we are always around. Unlike friends and family we do know what it's like and can understand the fears and frets. Your boss sounds OK and I hope a different role can be found: work is important not only for paying the bills but for our self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

    Thank you for asking how I am, I would like to answer with cheery words but can't so won't! :lol: DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Ah dreamdaisy.
    Sorry you not great right now. I have had a couple of bad days, having to lie down a lot, pain in my neck so bad, so haven't been on here. I hope you are having a better day now. It does get you down doesn't it. I wish you well and hope you are feeling less pain today. Keep your chin up. x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I expect the slightly easier times will arrive soon, it's all cyclical and the current low cycle can't go on for much longer - yeah right! :lol: I am hoping to reach the giddy heights of moderately grotty (which is my usual state of being :wink: ). I hope you are feeling better in yourself, my neck protests too and it's not fun. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Jul and DD
    Hope you are both starting to feel a bit better and that the change in the weather is a tonic.
    Jul I know what the days of finding the only thing that helps is to lie down, hope you have a comfy sofa in front of the telly.
    Working hard on my very painful physio exercises. Apparently the ligaments in my neck have shortened so I need to try and stretch them out again as much as possible. I suppose as I've had a stiff neck for over a year and then 7 weeks in a collar it's not really surprising.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi DD and Slosh
    DD, Hope you are having a moderately grotty day :) oh the joys of it! How are you today?
    Slosh, Hope you ok with your painful exercises. Seven weeks in a collar is a lot, must be so uncomfortable, but did it feel supportive as sometimes it just feels like your neck is too painful to hold your head up.Sorry to hear it has shortened the ligaments.You just don't know what to do for the best.
    Well i have been for my physio today and have compressed nerve in my neck caused by the discs narrowing, so exercises to do and back on Wednesday for more physio. So know how you feel.
    :)
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi
    Glad your physio got off to a good start and hope it does the trick for you. I had to wear the collar as at the end of February I had an operation to remove two discs and fuse the corresponding vertebrae. The collar was to prevent me moving my neck while the fusion started to heal but I was told that while I shouldn't wear it all the time now I can put it on for short periods if my neck gets too painful. You are lucky to get your physio so quickly. I had to wait 8 weeks to get my first lot from when my GP referred me.
    Hope you have a good weekend.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • jul
    jul Member Posts: 40
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Slosh
    Hope it works for you too. You have really gone through it and yes i was very lucky. How long have you been diagnosed again? Am bit worried doing the exercises, my neck is like popping candy, especially when i do them. But guess you have to keep going. No pain, no gain.
    :)
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi
    I first went to my GP with a clicking neck and some shoulder pain in April last year and at that stage he thought it was something called cervical facet syndrome which should have resolved in about 6 weeks with physio and would just need a bit of care to avoid flare ups. Unfortunately it just got worse and it was the physio who became concerned when she compared the detail on the initial referral with how I presented when she saw me. I had two sessions with her but she felt I wasn't responding as she would have expected so requested my GP send me for an MRI and said it was not appropriate for me to continue with physio at that point. I had my MRI in July and my diagnosis in August. The most concerning problem was the pressure on my spinal cord. At first the hospital were considering a pain killing injection, but after I had an overnight stay in hospital and further assessment I was told that the only option was an op as otherwise the problem would get worse.
    Op went well overall but mixed results and on Tuesday I have a hospital appointment to look at my throat as I have some post op problems which they think are due to possible damage of the muscles or soft tissue around the throat, a rare side effect of the op but where it looks as though I have been unlucky.
    I find I still get my clicking and grating feeling with the exercises so I'm with you on that one. Do you have the one where you have to tuck your chin in towards your neck and then try to raise your head?
    As you say no pain, no gain. My initial target is to be able to easily turn my neck enough to be able to drive again.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich