Osteoarthritis in my neck

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eminel
eminel Member Posts: 23
edited 24. Jun 2015, 09:09 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hiya Everyone. I'm recently new here. I've been having a good read through the boards before commenting. I'm 44 and was diagnosed with OA 6 months ago but had been suffering for a least a year before then not really knowing what the pain was caused by. I had fallen over in the snow and hurt myself and just thought it was related to that. I'd also been suffering with sciatica on an off so I told myself it was with walking/sitting funny etc it was having a knock on effect as well. When I was in my early 20s I was diagnosed with RA but it didn't really bother me too much just the odd flare up over the years here and there in my hands and feet. I never took any medications for it.
I've always been an active person on the go 24/7. I love to walk everywhere and now that I am suffering with these pains. I am scared that Its just gonna deteriorate further. The pains I get in my neck cause me excruciating headaches. They wake me in the night and last several hours. They are alike to a migraine but only on one side of my head. It also effects my shoulder muscles on the same side. None of the tablets work for me so I'm looking for some tips, exercises, foods to avoid which may help to ease the pain.

Thank you
Michele.

Comments

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,638
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello Michele!

    Welcome to the forums from me :)

    I too have some Cervical spond :( Not nice is it?

    I haven't really altered my diet much, just being aware that things like pineapple are supposed to be good for inflammation.

    Your headaches sound awful :( Has your Gp referred you at all to see an orthopaedic surgeon to see if he/she has any ideas? I know surgery on necks is only done as a last resort because the two or three people from here who have had it were getting neurological symptoms too.

    My GP mentioned trigger point injections to me. They can be done into muscles which are spasming (sp). What about asking for a referral to a pain clinic - they do do this type of procedure and they might have other ideas to help?

    I hope you find the forums supportive and a useful place to come for advice, support and some distraction :)

    Love

    Toni xx
  • theresak
    theresak Member Posts: 1,998
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Michele,

    I replied to your post on the `Saying hello` thread, but I`m glad someone else has been along to help you out.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,730
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello again. Some good suggestions there (as usual) from frogmorton.

    I'd only add that the untreated RA is a bit of a concern. Is your GP aware of it? (Don't assume it'll be in your notes.) I think, in your shoes, I'd want to ask for some tests to determine how active the RA is. It might be that, in treating it, things will improve somewhat. My own OA arose because, back then, there were no disease modifying meds to treat my RA.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello once more, eminel, it's nice to see you over here! :wink: I don't recall your introductory post on Say Hello mentioning RA, to my way of thinking this casts a slightly different light upon things. If you are not under the care of a rheumatology unit then I suspect the best way to go is GP first and maybe a referral second. Please let us know how you get on, yes? I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Fionabee
    Fionabee Member Posts: 146
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Ooh I do empathise. I had my sore neck x rayed recently and have CS, a lot of the pain felt above my neck, in the base of my skull and gives me headaches. Have found a single pillow better than 2, but have been changing pillows regularly (a shaped foam one, a memory foam one & dunlopillo type) what feels comfortable one night, isn't always good the following night, and back sleeping is not comfortable now, head starts to ache straight away. GP didn't offer physio, I did ask, she told me there would be a 3month wait, so I looked online for exercises. The same ones were quoted in several places, head up & down, turning head from side to side, ear down towards shoulder: and then hold for a couple of seconds. I'm not sure if these help or not, some days I can do them easily but I am still sore, other days they are difficult but my neck generally isn't as bad??? I take Tramadol at bedtime for my back and occasional co-codos, so I should be getting some beneft from those, altho it doesn't feel so a lot of the time. I had a neck and shoulder massage as I was very knotty, I enjoyed it, but I don't think there were any real benefits. I do use a wheaty heat cushion which I stick in the microwave, that is quite comforting
    Sorry, not being very positive am I? Hopefully someone else will come up with something which is helpful.
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I have CS as well so I'm familiar with the symptoms. Have you had an MRI?

    My original symptoms were severe neck pain and stiffness and pain through my shoulders (which can make them very painful to move) through my upper arms, pins and needles in my left hand and reduced movement in my left shoulder. As my MRI showed there was pressure on my spinal nerves and cord I was sent to see a consultant. Initially I was on co-dydramol, diclofenac and amitriptyline (for my nerve pain) but after my first consultant appointment I was put on Naproxen plus a stomach protector and Duloxetine instead of the diclofenac and amitriptaline.

    At that appointment the plan was for me to have an injection for the pain if tbis wasn't effective.

    However by my follow up appointment things had got worse and so I was told I needed surgery.

    This is, or so I was told, a complex operation with variable outcomes and the aim is to "stop this getting worse rather than make them better" and my consultant did warn me he could not guarantee I would be painfree after the op.

    After the op I had to wear a collar for 6 weeks before starting physio.

    In terms of day to day things you have had a number of good suggestions already.
    I sleep on my sides, which is fun when my shoulders are bad on a shaped memory foam pillow which I bought from Ama**n. Hot showers can help as does a hot wheat bag but I was told never to put anything cold on my neck as this can cause faintness. Tens machines can also be effective but unfortunately I can't use one due to my fusion. I would also recommend a physio referral.
    Scarves in the winter, and I was told to keep my neck in as neutral position as possible.
    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
  • eminel
    eminel Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Everyone. Thank you for all your replies and suggestions. My gp put me on Amitriptyline and diclofenic. I will need to make an appointment to go back but I dont find them very helpful. I have co codamol for my sciatica which helps sometimes but I don't like to take it too often for fear of getting addicted to it. I've found the neck exercises suggested online and they help a little. I use a wheat bag before I go to sleep as most nights my neck is so achy I can't get confortable.
    I feel like I could do with a neck collar some days to take the weight of my head off my shoulders lol I'm trying to be conscious of my posture as well. I think I will ask for a referral to a pain clinic. I can handle to aches and pains in my body. It's the headaches that knock me for six.

    Thanks.

    What is CS?
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Neck collars are not a good idea because they can weaken the muscles and increase stiffness. I find when at its worst and I have the "I want to take my head off feeling " lying down is the only thing that helps. Also make sure you are sittimg in suitable chairs with a high back and if possible neck support.
    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
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello eminel
    Gentle exercise is good for OA in the neck , but has to be done religiously every day..the best way I find is to use a warm wheat bag on there before exercising...it will stop the bone fusing or making bone growths...hope this helps it came form my physio...
    Love
    Barbara
  • eminel
    eminel Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Slosh yeah lying down is the only thing that works for me which isn't ideal when I'm at work but I have been known to do it there.
    Barbara. I excerise daily. I've always been very active and push my limits so now I'm learning to try to slow it down.
    I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I can't do what I used to unless I'm prepared to suffer afterwards for it. I had a good cry last night because I just feel overwhelmed with my job, housework and whatnot.
    On top of all this pain I'm going through the menopause so a double whammy. I miss being my old self with no health worries.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello, I think CS refers to cervical spondylosis. You are having a rough time at the moment, aren't you? I empathise and hope you can get some proper help soon. Pain relief is not all its cracked up to be, it only dulls the sharper edges rather than taking it all away. I think it true that the majority of us on here have had to adjust to living with varying-but-definitely-there levels of pain. :( DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • eminel
    eminel Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thank you DD. I am so glad to be able to talk to people here that understand. I don't have anyone to talk to really. Yeah I am having it rough but I tell myself there are people worse off than myself. I worry about the future and how this is going to progress. The pain relief just doesn't touch the pain in my head. It can numb it abit in back and shoulders but it's the headaches. Pretty much every night I am waking with them and nothing helps. I feel exhausted. My gp surgery is a nightmare. I never see the same Dr so I can't get a good relationship going where I feel comfortable to talk to them when I do go in. I feel rushed and forget what I was going to say. Then come away from there wishing I hadn't bothered going.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,730
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    There are always people worse off than all of us but that doesn't really help us to deal with our own, very real, problems. It does put them into perspective and that probably makes us feel less sorry for ourselves so better able, mentally, to handle things but the things are still there to be handled - if you get my drift :)

    I still think you should get the RA checked out. Getting on DMARDS for it won't alter damage done but it might help some things not to get worse.

    If you have a fairly large practice and want a better chance of seeing the same doc, try going for the newest one. They often aren't so popular as other patients are wanting the same one each time too :)
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright