Some help required as impossible to get a doctors appointment !

Hello all, first time posting so please do bear with me.

Currently I am experiencing a lot of pain in my shoulders and elbows, I was diagnosed about 6 years ago with cervical spondylosis and offered (I think) an anti inflammatory which I did take at that time. Other than some discomfort and a creaking in my neck, I wasn't in pain really that much so decided not to continue with those. My point in that was if I REALLY needed them, I'd possibly benefit better at that point, and I think I'm there.

I'm beginning to think the cervical spondylosis is now affecting other parts of me, particularly my shoulders and elbows, if I do anything semi-physical with my arms, I'm in agony for days after, both shoulders and elbow. I'm struggling to sleep on my sides due to the pain in my shoulders and I've been trying since the end of last year to get a doctors appointment, but every time I phone it's engaged and then eventually after an hour of trying I get a message saying all same day appointments are taken and to phone back the next day.

I'm still trying to stay active but it's becoming increasingly difficult. I'm stiffening up after even the mildest of walks and have even woke up in the middle of the night with numb arms, another sign that my cervical spondylosis is progressing. I know I need to persevere and get a doctor appointment and ultimately a referral but just wanted to post here in case my symptoms resonate with anyone else so I can validate my condition or at least believe it is arthritis related.

Any suggestions and advice very welcome and thanks for listening.



  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 673

    Hello @marko2002 welcome to the online community

    You have had cervical spondylitis for a number of years and now feel that it has started to affect other parts of your body. You are currently finding it difficult to contact the GP for an appointment and are asking if other members have experienced similar symptoms and pain.

    We are a friendly, supportive group who offer their own experiences of how life with arthritis affects them and their tips to cope with it. I attach some links which I hope you will find helpful , one about ankylosing spondylitis, one about types of exercise which might benefit your condition and the homepage of the NASS.

    I hope your perseverance results in a GP appointment soon. Some of our members take a list of symptoms and questions or even diary notes to their consultation so that they don't forget all the details. Then a referral to a consultant sounds like the next stage in your journey through life with arthritis.

    So do post again and let us know how you get on, we look forward to hearing from you.

    Take care


    If it would be helpful to talk to someone ring the Helpline 0800 5200 520

    Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,608

    Hi Mark,

    You are right to persevere with getting an appointment but, in the interim, pharmacists are very useful sources of both information and meds. in fact, you can buy anti-inflammatory meds over the counter but do ensure the pharmacist is aware of any other meds or supplements you're taking.

    poppjane has given you some useful info on spondylitis but, given that yours is spondylosis, this might be more appropriate,lack%20of%20exercise%20or%20movement

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Poppyjane
    Poppyjane Moderator Posts: 673

    My apologies @marko2002 for giving you an incorrect link,. Well spotted @stickywicket , thank you.


    If it would be helpful to talk to someone ring the Helpline 0800 5200 520

    Monday - Friday 9.00a.m. - 6.00p.m.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Being unable to get through to your surgery must be so frustrating - is there no way you could register with a more responsive one or a Health Centre which has a dial-back facility?

    Take care,


  • JenHB
    JenHB Member Posts: 130

    could you phone the GP and see if you can book a 'non urgent' appointment for (say) a few days time so you are not needing to do the daily battle of phone appointments? Failing that, have you tried 111?

  • Fran54
    Fran54 Member Posts: 169

    Hi Mark

    I wrote a letter to my doctor stating all my symptoms and how they were affecting me both physically and mentally and asked for a face to face appointment which I got a few weeks later. I also took a copy of my letter with me to the appointment in case something got missed. It is worth a try. Do let us know how you get on.

    Take care.🙂

  • dansmam
    dansmam Member Posts: 14
    edited 21. Apr 2023, 20:04

    Does your surgery do econsult online? I tend to find it easier to get an appointment after filling a form in online rather than constantly ringing. Hope you manage to get an appointment soon.

  • Baloo
    Baloo Member Posts: 359

    I phoned 111 a few times when I had new health issues. They had time to properly listen to my issues and even give the listening two whole goes by a triage and a subsequent referral. I found their service very effective.

    Try sleeping on your back. I found a foot wedge helps with obtaining a more natural position. Sleeping on my side I don't bother with any more unless I want a bit of relief.

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 391

    hi Mark

    I know how frustrating it is not being able to get through to the surgery in time to get an appointment. Your surgery sounds very much like mine.

    I do find that ringing just before 8 am when the phone lines are supposed to open is often best to get through and just keep redialling from that point onwards. My surgery has added a recall option so if you can't get through, press a button and they will call you back keeping your point in the queue.

    If, at the end of the day you still can't get through, email them. Their email address should be on their website under 'contact me'. Tell them you have been trying unsuccessfully for x days/weeks to get through and get an appointment and have been unable to , you've tried 111 and you've tried the pharmacist and everything has failed. Tell them you are in pain with a brief description, your pain score, and need to be seen. Make sure they have your phone number and tell them to contact you by return with a end time for their call. If you are able to request a 'read receipt' on your email then this gives you an indication that your email has been read. Try 111 again, and ask if they can get a dr to ring you. If there is a walk in centre near you could try that. If all else fails then, if it was me, go to a & e.

    love n hugs