Arthritis in the neck


I have arthritis in the neck diagnosed byXray and MRI scan in the left trapezius area

The pain is chronic and persistent and radiates into the head and shoulders and is wearing me down as I get no relief from pain unless I get to sleep which is difficult because of the pain in neck and shoulders

I have had very many sessions of physio without success

i can only take paracetamol because stronger pain killers cause stomach problems

Has anyone had similar problems and or can offer advice - Thank you


  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    OA in the neck is one of my issues as I now have it in every joint as well as DFJD! Ask your GP for a referral to your local Pain Clinic if you have not been already as they are the experts in pain management and will be able to try different drugs and treatments which may help. Also get a referral to an Occupational Therapist, I did when all else failed and she prescribed me a cervical collar which I wear when my neck is not otherwise supported (i.e. not sitting in my recliner or wheelchair) and it really helps. I also have sleeping issues, as you can see from the time that I am typing this I got about 3 hours last night and woke up screaming in pain from my neck as usual, luckily my cat was out so I didn't disturb her! I managed to get a phone appointment with my GP 2 weeks ago as my neck is getting even worse and yesterday an x-ray appointment came through for the 1st September, good job an urgent appointment was requested!! Anyway, enough waffle, hope I may have offered some advice.

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548


    Thought I'd add some help in. Dealing with long-term chronic paind is one of the most debilitating things you can do. There are a few things you can look at and try to help which don't involve drugs. I use heat pads myself - those wheatgerm bags you can put in the microwave and can smell wonderful if you put essential oils on them too. Heat really helps my pain - but if you have inflammation with your pain then a cold compress or ice pack works better.

    Also, have a look at the following links. Especially the Physical Treatments and Psychological therapies section:

    Do focus on your sleep as well. As Mike says, pain can really disrupt your sleep, and sadly when you don't have enough sleep it can also make your pain worse. Try taking the painkillers you can about half an hour before you go to bed, and having a relaxing bedtime routine you follow to help you get as much sleep as you can. I cannot overstate how important sleep is when you're dealing with chronic pain.

    I hope some of this has helped!


  • SonjaB
    SonjaB Member Posts: 5

    Hello Keitha,

    I'm new to this site and it is my first post but I thought I'd reply to your message as I have severe cervical stenosis which is touching on the nerves, I had a nerve block injection into the worst affected area 18 months ago, these can be done every 6 months but due to Covid I'm still waiting for a follow up appt. It helped for about 10 months but like you I'm now suffering terrible chronic pain again with numb fingers and pins and needles down the arms, also pain between shoulder's etc. I do take Zapain but have OA in every joint and Amitriptyline for the nerve pain, I also swear by a microwaveable heat bag. If you have nerve damage maybe you could push your GP to refer you to the neurosurgeons, these would perform the nerve block injection. I feel for you because the pain is relentless. x

  • Keitha
    Keitha Member Posts: 7

    Hi Mike and Shell and SonjaB

    May I first of all thank you all for you valuable input information and support 

    I am very new to the forum 

    I rang Versus Arthritis for a chat about arthritis and part of the advice which they gave was to join the Community Forum 

    My history is 

    I am 79 years old and live alone since my wife died nearly 2 years ago 

    I had a bad fall in October 2019 when I broke 2 ribs which healed ) and whiplashed my neck to avoid hitting my head on the stone flags on our drive 

    Before the fall I had no neck or pain problems whatsoever and carried out all sorts of heavy garden and DIY work on a regular basis to maintain our house and garden 

    MRI scans showed that I had severe arthritis in the neck which never bothered me before the fall 

    The diagnosis was that the fall aggravated the dormant arthritis and caused some vertebrae to impinge onto the nerves in my neck 

    Treatments so far 

    I have tried many forms of treatment without success 

    For example - acupuncture cryotherapy and Physiotherapy ( which I still attend regularly ) - I carry out exercises recommended by my physio 

    I have had treatment by the NHS pain management clinic - there was a very long waiting list because of Covid 

    About 2 months ago I had two nerve block injections in the neck and 4 trigger point injections in my shoulders as the pain radiates into my head like neuralgia and into my shoulders as a half a day patient in hospital but they have not worked 

    The NHS consultant did say that the injections do not work for everyone and they didn’t for me 

    I am on his list to be reviewed 4 - 6 months down the line 

    The pain relief people recommended duloxetine but that also caused stomach upset 

    They also recommended Butran patches but my GP would not prescribe because he says they contain morphine and would be addictive 

    I can only take mild  pain killers  because stronger ones upset my stomach 

    I was prescribed Zappain but it upset my stomach and ditto amitriptyline 

    I take paracetamol but they have little effect 

    I have tried all sorts of gels and creams to little effect 

    I use heat wraps and hot and cold gel packs which give some temporary relief 

    I have tried CBD oil CBD under your tongue by pipette with no effect 

    I have tried turmeric and white wine vinegar capsules with no effect

     I agree that sleep is very important but difficult to achieve and I do what I can to have a free sleep routine to help 

    I will ask the GP about an occupational therapist 

    The bottom line is that like many others I now live a life of relentless pain day in day out to which so far there is no solution 

    I hope that you all are able to some relief for your pain and once again thank you all for your input 

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719

    Has your GP never suggested you taking a stomach-protecting med alongside some of those you say you can't take because of your stomach? I have several stomach problems but a combination of lansoprazole in the morning and Gaviscon Advance at night (plus, if needed during the day) keeps mine in good enough state to accept all the chemical rubbish I have to take daily.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Keitha
    Keitha Member Posts: 7

    Hi Sticky wicket

    Thank you for your helpful input

    I have been taking lansoprazole in the morning for several years because of a hiatus hernia but despite that the pain killers cause stomach problems

    No I have not been advised to take Gaviscion Advance as well but will explore that Avenue

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719

    A couple of things which might or might not help.

    1. I have to sleep on a shaped memory foam pillow as I get bad neck problems in the morning without it and none with it. But they're not for everyone. Maybe worth a try though.
    2. I had a hiatus hernia diagnosed many years ago and it didn't bother me but, later, I was diagnosed with GORD. It's caused by reflux but it's possible to have 'silent GORD' so you're blissfully unaware of the reflux damaging your oesophagus until it's diagnosed. I'm now very careful to take all meds with a small amount of food - a plain biscuit is fine - and to not eat for a couple of hours before bedtime. I'm writing this because, during the brief (2 months?) period that I was on amitriptyline, I had no problems with it. As I recall (dimly!) I took the amitrip about two hours before bed. I always take the Gaviscon Advance just before I get into bed. Even if you don't actually have it, you might find the GORD recommendations useful, especially if they would enable you to take something that would help with the neck pain. But, as ever, do check with your GP.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Keitha
    Keitha Member Posts: 7

    Hello and thank you for the information 

    I sleep on one pillow on the advice of the physio 

    The physio has advised me to sleep on my back but I have never done that and I find it difficult to do so

    I sleep on my left hand side and get woken up with pain in the shoulder and neck after a couple of hours 

    I will look into trying a shaped memory foam pillow 

    I am thinking of asking the GP to try me on Amitrytilene or similar again 

    If I remember rightly and it is a long time ago I was not able to tolerate it because it kept making me feel sick and dizzy and I wasn’t able to function