My blasted neck is playing up again!

GraceB
GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
edited 16. May 2019, 05:25 in Living with arthritis
My OA in my neck flared really badly last Friday and generated huge muscle spasms for me. I tried all the usual things during the day - meds, massage, deep heat spray, showering, heat wheat bags but nothing worked.

By mid Friday evening the pain was going across my right shoulder, down my arm and was off the scale. So - I rang 111. I went through the triage system even though I'd made it clear I knew this was my OA flaring and I needed to see an out of hours Dr to get muscle relaxants. They sent a 999 ambulance to me even though I tried to stop it. The paramedics were lovely and agreed with me all I needed was to speak to/see an OOH GP. They triggered the phone consult for me which came in whilst the paramedics were still doing their paperwork.

The OOH GP prescribed muscle relaxants for me and we agreed where I'd collect them from. (Sadly they were out of stock and by now it was after 10pm so no other pharmacies were open). I had some of the same meds left over from 2016 so used 2 of those on the assumption better than nothing. The OOH GP also told me to max up my Tramadol consumption and ensure I took maximum paracetamol -which I was doing anyway - in addition to the muscle relaxants.

Come Sunday morning things were getting worse so I rang 111 again, but this time common sense prevailed and they organised for me to see an OOH GP at my local Hospital. I had that appointment 2pm Sunday, and the OOH GP prescribed me 2mg Diazepam 3x daily. I then made the mistake of adding up my medications and realised I was taking a grand total of 27 prescribed tablets in 24 hours (probably shouldn't have done that with hindsight! :roll: ).

Monday morning I got to my own GP and asked for urgent NHS physio referral. He also gave me more diazepam so I had a week's worth, more of the other muscle relaxants and a repeat prescription for my usual pain meds. He also gave me a week's sick note for work.

Thankfully I got into see my physio on Monday but had to pay to see him privately. I was in too much pain to wait the 6 weeks for the NHS sessions to start. He said it was my C2-C4 OA which had triggered a huge muscle spasm and he managed to release part of it. As I have issues with my C5-C6 with a partial prolapse there it looks like my whole neck is knackered.

I'm still extremely sore and now absolutely rattling with meds. I can't drive due to the Diazapam dose but hope to reduce the dose from tomorrow. I have another private physio session booked for next week and hope I don't need to see him again before that.

I'm extremely grateful for the assistance I was given through my local 111 service but I do question (and so did all 3 GP's I spoke to plus the paramedics and my friends) why they wasted valuable resources sending a 999 ambulance to me on blue lights when I only needed help with muscle spasms.

Anyway, I'm off to take yet more meds (also can't sit typing any longer).

GraceB

P.S. X-rays 2 weeks ago confirmed my OA is in my left hip. Oh well, another joint to join the party won't make much difference will it? :lol:
Turn a negative into a positive!

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Grace, I'm sorry you have had this to contend with and I hope you'll soon be back to the dizzy heights of what DD calls 'moderately grotty'.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,557
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Arthritis, the poisoned gift that keeps on giving. I have no idea why the 111 service was created, it only seems to create more problems than it solves which was always going to be the case. People cannot be diagnosed over the phone - I know they don't do this per se but the delays in waiting for someone who can make an educated guess and still get it wrong just add to the frustrations.

    I hope things are easing and that the physio helps. More and more of my day seems to be taken up now with preventive physio but I'm sure it helps. It is hard to maintain the discipline when things feel 'better' but one soon notices if the habit is lost. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,424
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Going through the mill takes on new levels doesn't it? Hope things settle down for you soon.

    We used to have a Welsh PTI who used to shout at us in a loud stentorian voice 'come on lads its only pain' I never did believe him.

    Take care.
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your kind replies.

    Slow but steady progress is being made, which is important.

    I'm away for a few days tomorrow (off to see my friends in Cambridgeshire) so I'll update again on Monday when I'm back home. My partner is driving so I just need to be his co-pilot and relax. :D

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • Slosh
    Slosh Member Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry to hear that, hope you enjoy your weekend away and manage to relax. I know sometimes I wish I could take the weight off my neck so to speak.
    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
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply Slosh. I very much appreciate it.

    I got away for the weekend but was so thankful my partner did all the driving. I just about managed to cope with being away - the roads on the Cambridgeshire Fens where my friends live aren't very good (and that's an understatement!). I took my last Diazepam Friday night.

    I got back to work yesterday, but yesterday afternoon my neck was red hot with inflammation. So when I got home it was ice packs out time. Mind you, I wasn't helped by the fact that although I only live a 5 minute drive away from work, I got stuck in traffic on the M20 so it took me 30 minutes to get home.

    I'm seeing the physio again tomorrow (privately). My neck is still very tight so I'm still taking maximum of my Methocarbamol (muscle relaxants) and am still on high doses of my other pain meds. My range of motion is very limited going to my right shoulder so I know I'm very far away from this being "dealt with for this episode". :roll: In the meantime, I'm trying to keep my neck moving as best as I can.

    No news yet re my NHS physio sessions but I was told last week there's an 6-week wait for those. I thankfully belong to Benenden Healthcare and they are helping me out with some physio as part of my membership. They'll hopefully keep things going for me until the NHS sessions kick in.

    In the meantime I will, as usual, plod on and count my blessings as I know there are a lot of people much worse off than I am. :D

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm going to show my age now. :lol: Who remembers the song "the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone …"?

    The reason I ask this is that my neck issues are now affecting my lumbar spine. Wonderful! :roll:

    I had my 2nd private physio session this afternoon and he ended up doing traction on my neck. Very disconcerting feeling that … My range of motion is slightly better than last week, but the muscles are still in a right old mess.

    He checked the NHS waiting list for his clinic and I'm still 6 weeks away from even being offered an appointment. I've got another session (private) booked for next Friday, but I'm hoping by then my other option will kick in as £40 a go is expensive bearing in mind I'm only on a part-time wage.

    So tonight I'm here with ice packs and heat wheat bags alternately being applied to my neck. Medication is up-to-date with dosage. Heat is being applied to my lumbar spine (I'm just grateful it's not over-warm here as heat packs and hot flushes aren't a happy mix :lol: ). I've warned my cat that her breakfast tomorrow may well take a bit of time - as it did this morning - I don't think she was overly pleased at the news, but it is what it is. I can't do anything about this flare other than trying to keep gently moving as best as I can.

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That sounds a little better, Grace, but still not good enough.

    I don't know how your physio referral scheme works. Where I used to live you just logged in and entered your name at a time and place of your choice. The waiting time was horrendous but, by logging in every day, I managed to pick up what must have been a cancellation and cut my waiting time down to a week.

    Yes, I am ancient enough to remember the song. Joints are all connected when we don't want them to be and not connected when we do. It's called life :wink:
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for the reply Sticky.

    No, it's not good enough unfortunately. My NHS physio clinic is the same where I've paid privately the last 2 weeks. They are aware of my need, but naturally I've got to work my way up the NHS queue. I'm hoping that my Benenden Healthcare option will cut in to fill the gap in-between.

    I'm sore today after yesterday's physio, but am trying to reduce the Methocarbamol to 1 tablet 4x daily. I can already tell the difference though as the muscle is again trying to go into spasm, so I have a nasty feeling I'll be back up to the full dose tomorrow. :roll:

    My lumbar spine has eased a fair bit today so I think the traction treatment yesterday must have helped with that. I'm grateful for any relief at the moment. My cat was also pleased about that as it meant her breakfast today wasn't un-necessarily delayed!

    Ah well, I'll plod on. Being a veteran of OA (it's been with me since 1998), I know the rules and how to live with it. :)

    Take care,
    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oh well, at least the cat's happy :roll: Having had one, in the past, I know that matters :wink:

    Keep going, Grace. I know you will.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have an update on this.

    I had my phone consult today with a physio from Benenden Healthcare and she was very thorough. She is concerned that I "keep bouncing to and from physio for my neck" (her words) and there's been no long-term resolution for me.

    They are initially funding 3 sessions for me with the physio I've been using so I'll have continuity of care. He also has my medical history so that helps them as well. This will bridge the gap between now and when the NHS physio sessions cut in. As I already have a physio appointment booked for Friday, they're happy to make that their first funded session, and have sent the relevant information through to my physio.

    However, because of the concern that this has been on-going since 2016, the physio who rang me thinks that I'll need an MRI doing as the prolapsed disc could have moved. She is also suggesting injections into the neck and that I should see a neck/spinal consultant which they can assist with. Once they have an initial report from my physio they'll know a bit better how they'll progress this for me.

    To say I'm rather flummoxed at today's turn of events is a bit of an understatement. Especially when the word "surgery" was also mentioned by her! :shock: I can honestly say I'm fed up to the back teeth with orthopaedic surgery. Steroid-based injections have never worked for me but, of course, there is always the first time.

    I've been given advice as to the danger signs to watch out for and what to do if I experience any of those issues.

    As for my neck today? It's sore, stiff, inflamed and not very happy. However, as usual I've plodded on - as you do. :D

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • JamesFoote
    JamesFoote Member Posts: 107
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    My neck is a massive problem with cortisone injections every 3 months, morphine that I keep control off and gaberpentin
    I have some 3am morning when nothing stops the pain I was hospitalized a year or so ago with it and the hospital gave me so very powerful stuff and it worked the main one was diazepam 5mg.
    I talked to my GP and had my pain diary with me to discuss how I increase my morphine before the injections and reduce after so keeping my morphine at the same level I can so nothing about the slow release pills.
    I asked for some 5mg diazepams on repeat, they give me 7 at a time but it takes a long time to go though 7.
    I call them my hospital pill because they are the last thing before we dial 999 and to be fair they work wonder but I am groggy for a few days after.
    I wish you the very best I do.
    A fellow sufferer
    James
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    GraceB wrote:
    To say I'm rather flummoxed at today's turn of events is a bit of an understatement. Especially when the word "surgery" was also mentioned by her! :shock:



    Being the cynic that I am, I can't help but wonder if the suggestion of an MRI plus possible surgery plus the offer to 'assist' in finding a surgeon might be connected to the fact that this physio clinic does private patients as well as NHS ie they will help you to find a surgeon who will operate in the private sector.

    I could be completely misjudging them but, having a son in USA, I know how the private system works and don't trust it. Money (for them) usually features large.

    So I'd try not to fret at this stage, Grace. Just take each day as it comes and I hope each day comes a little more easily.

    James - could you enlighten me, please re your meds? I don't understand how morphine can be routine but diazepam a last resort. I would have expected it to be the other way round.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • GraceB
    GraceB Member Posts: 1,598
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your replies.

    Benenden will be provide me with any consultations, tests and treatment as I'm a member. It won't cost me anything other than to continue paying my (very small) monthly membership fee.

    My neck today has been very irritable. However, I'm now trying to manage without any muscle relaxants as I feel I need to see what it's truly like. I'm now finished work for the week thankfully and am pleased I only work part-time.

    Next step - physio on Friday morning. :roll:

    GraceB
    Turn a negative into a positive!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,331
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So your private healthcare plan would cover it? Excellent.

    I think it's a good idea to 'test out' your neck but don't push it if it's not yet ready to do without the meds. You'll get there.

    I hope Friday goes well :D
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright