A Pain In The Neck!

mates
mates Member Posts: 24
edited 24. Jun 2012, 08:55 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi,

I have recently been diagnosed with Cervical Spondylitis. I've had symptoms for around three years now which were quite mild but after a very severe attack in November it doesn't seem to want to settle. I had a hip replacement last May following three years of terrible pain from a major hip problem and this has been a total success. I just seemed to be getting back to my old self and my neck took this major turn for the worst.

I am seeing someone at the local hospital who will take a look and organsie scans etc. if needs be. I have had physio since December and although the muscle spasm has settled the nerve pain down my arm has increased and at times I am really struggling with the pain which leaves me unable to do much at all. As well as the burning pain in my neck my shoulder is very stiff and raising my arm is a trigger for the pain - I had a steroid in my shoulder in December as calcium deposits were found in the tendon on x-ray but I am now told that it is likely to be my neck that is the problem and not my shoulder. I am not sure but the experts don't seem to know either. Working at a desk (yeh I know, that's what I am doing now!) and driving are real issues. I am still working (I run my own business) but driving more than a mile or two is very painful and I can't really manage it.

I would be interested to know if anyone found anything in particular helped and if the pain did eventually go?
Did you have any treatment or did it all just settle on its own?

If you still have the pain how do you manage day to day?

Sorry about all the questions. I am determined to not let this get the better of me and think some advice will help. Thank you! 8)

Comments

  • valval
    valval Member Posts: 14,911
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi can not help but have bad neck after fall couple of years ago (caused by arther) and been getting worse of late trying the exercises physio gave me so will read replys with interest val
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,267
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Mates
    And welcome to the forum
    I have just been diagnosed with OA in my neck, now my OA started in my hips...not had them done yet...to be honest I am terrified so when I hear someone like you saying what a success your THR was then it really does help
    The one thing that helps me are the exercises I got off the internet, but before I do them I use my wheat cushion...its one of those things you warm in the microwave...they are brilliant for your neck.
    Wish I could help more, but I am only just getting used to it.
    You take care
  • suzygirl
    suzygirl Member Posts: 2,005
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, I have cervical spondylosis and disk problems. I am currently flaring and finding it hard. My shoulder is weak and my arm only raises so far due to my neck. The nerve pain and muscle spasms are awful. I am taking meds for it, but they are making me drowsy and I am wondering whether to cut them down. I have physio on Friday and am awaiting an ortho referral.

    I find heat, painkillers, gabapentin for nerve pain, robaxin for muscle spasms and amitryptyline at night help. I try to do range of motion exercises to keep the neck mobile.

    My mom was given acupuncture and it really helped her, we live in different PCT. So I know things can be done, also injections etc.

    I hope your appt is soon.
  • RichT
    RichT Bots Posts: 35
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry to hear you are suffering mates, I too have had severe problems with my neck over the years so I will watch for any little pointers on this thread :wink: I have severe AS of the spine and would win the role of Quasi with no trouble :lol: I am unable to look up to the left or right so it is pretty much locked, I have been suffering more with it recently with my neck and back of head going numb which I can only put down to nerves gettibg trapped which causes blinding headaches. Hopefully your scans will show what is causing the problem.. Good luck :wink:
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate it.

    I saw my physio today and she became concerned at the terrible nausea I am getting when my neck and arm pain triggers which I seem to be able to set off easily. I drove to the appointment so was feeling rough before I went in and just one physio exercise triggered the nausea big time. These nausea attacks have been with me about three weeks now and are pretty debilitating at times.

    The physio also mentioned that she didn't think anything can be done about my neck surgically but to be honest I'm not looking for surgery, just a way to manage the pain and this nausea. I have an appointment at a clinic in 5 weeks time and I hope this gives me a clearer picture of what is going on. The physio has also booked me in for accupuncture as she said I need to get the pain and nausea under control before she can progress my neck rehab. She does say though that she doesn't think things will go, just become more manageable.

    If nothing much can be done is a Pain Clinic the best place to go to get some advice on day to day management of this?

    I wish I knew what was going on with my body. I really have been feeling rough these last few weeks. This follows three years of severe inflammation (rather than arthritis in the hip) around a hip which completely disabled me until it was replaced. The physio asked if I have had blood tests which I did last October - I never heard the results but I guess they were normal as otherwise the Rheumatologist would have mentioned it.

    Sorry to sound a bit low - I think I need cheering up!
  • bubbles
    bubbles Member Posts: 6,508
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Mates - nice to meet you

    Sorry you are having such trouble with your CS. All of the symptoms you mention, I and many others can totally sympathise with, the muscle spasms leave me rigid with pain, that can happen just from say, folding a towel. Neuropathy, pins and needles, radiculopathy I think my GP said.

    There can be little spurs of bone that grow and usually osteophytes are a common problem, where the bone on the vertebrae grows outwards, leaving us with all the problems.

    I take a whole shed load of pills, plus I am careful not to do things that are likely to trigger spasms etc, I use a neck pillow when I am sat in my armchair, to give extra support, memory foam pillows that are not too high. Sometimes it is trial and error, plus help from the physio's. It is a bit of a vicious circle, as the nerve impingement causes pain, we hold our muscles tense, which causes add on pain. Gentle massage, from someone who knows what they are doing, with warm essential oils, can ease the muscle tension. We know it doesn't go away, it is more a case of damage limitation. Take lots of care. XX Bubbles
  • skezier
    skezier Member Posts: 11,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Mates,

    Neck pain is rough but its good they are doing the scans etc and hopefully they wont keep you waiting too long for that one.

    My neck has both types of spondy and a lot f disc trouble as well. I get the dizziness, lack of shoulder movement etc but there are tablets to help that to a degree, well not the lack of movement but the dizziness etc so once they know what's going on inside they might be able to hep with some of that.

    Unlike you i would jump at surgery but they tell me mine is too unstable.

    I have been seeing the pain clinic do for 3 to 4 years now and its been a god send.

    She has tried a whole array of different things and all of it has helped so I am lucky.

    Pain clinics are all different and I hope if you go to one you get a good one. Nice to meet you. Cris x
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Bubbles and Cris,

    I sounds mean but it does help knowing I am not alone with this although I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

    I am still optimistic that the pain will burn itself out. I'm not sure if it can but it has changed in the last few months. I have found that the muscle spasms have largely settled but the nerve pain has worsened. This nerve pain is triggered when I hold my head up like anyone would when looking ahead. I did drive myself to the hospital yesterday and I shouldn't really be driving that distance. It is only 8 miles away but I can just about do a mile and that is it.
    I am lucky that things are being looked at and then hopefully I can go from there and get it sorted. I am due to sing in a national competition with my choir, which I rejoined last August once my hip was replaced, in May and I am struggling like crazy at rehearsals because of course you need to stand with your head straight and still for quite some time. Have tried Amitriptylene but they make me feel so woozy. I had them for my hip and they did help the pain but I hated the side effects. Maybe I will have to give them another go if I want to get to the competition - I hate the hangover effect and feel totally not there when taking them.
    I will keep you posted and thanks for being there.
    x
  • suzygirl
    suzygirl Member Posts: 2,005
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi, I am having acupuncture on Friday from the physio dept to get the muscle spasms under control so they can see about helping my shoulder as it is weak from nerve problems.

    We will have to se if it helps. Like you I get the nausea attacks and am having trouble sleeping, as neck pain is bad and the pins and needsles and numbness in hands is a nuisance.

    I have found gabapentin to be a lifesaver for the nerve pain.
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I thought I would update you on my appointment with the musculo-skeletal service yesterday. The physio looked at my neck and confirmed that what I have is degenerative and I am booked in to have an MRI.

    She advised me that my options are limited as necks are operated on far less than backs. I may be offered injections or possibly surgery but it depends on the result of the MRI. Generally, she said, people adapt their lives around the condition and the pain.

    The Pregabalin can take several months to be fully effective so I now have to see an optician so I can get glasses to help the double vision I have (residual squint, corrected surgically three times is back!) - I have not told my GP this as I just can't cope without the Pregab and he doesn't care a jot anyway.

    I can stop going to physio as there is nothing they can add. My guess is the MRI will come back with a so so result and I will be left to get on with it. This is the one part of the NHS I hate as just a few kind words and support once every few months would really help but my GP just doesn't want to know so I feel pretty much on my own with it.

    My guess is there are thousands of you out there who feel much the same so thank goodness for this forum.

    Does anyone with neck arthritis (CS) do exercise and if so what do they do? I found pilates difficult because lifting my arm really aggravates things. I walk quite a bit but wondered what my other options are.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,764
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I know a couple of people on her have had neck ops recently and I hope one or other will see your latest post, mates.

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand the connection between the pregabalin, the optician and the unhelpful GP.


    Hey, if you want a few kind words and support every few months come on here. We’re no good at prescribing meds but kind words and support are our strong points.

    As for exercises, AC does a booklet. Just click on http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Listedbysubject . The second section down has the one on exercise.
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry I should have made myself clearer about the Pregabalin! One of the side effects of the drug can be double vision and I have this. I had a squint as a child which was fixed twice and then again ten years ago. It is back since I started on the Pregab but can be helped hugely by glasses with prisms - I had them before my last corrective surgery. Hence the need to see the optician. I didn't want to rush to the optician and pay out for new specs if I was going to stop taking the Pregab in the near future and the double vision improve.

    Thanks for the info on exercise - I will take take a look.
  • smol
    smol Member Posts: 43
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Having a massive CS flare up myself. think i caused by helping my daughter to put dread locks in her hair. a couple of hours backcombing made me tired, so I had a kip, when I woke up I couldn't move my head or right arm without severe pain. I doped myself up good and proper, but even after a good nights sleep I'm in a distressing amount of pain. I don't know if this is a spasm, nerve pain or another disc has popped. don't quite know what to do with myself, even oramorph hasn't helped. :(
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Sarah,

    I am so sorry to hear of your flare up. I get these regularly too and I know how painful and distressing they are. I find that a combination of rest, gentle heat and neck exercises eases it although it does take time to get back to a manageable level.

    I hope you feel loads better soon.
  • PollySid
    PollySid Member Posts: 343
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have neck pain tonight, think I did too much with setting up the newly decorated spare room. Ironed the curtains and bedding and made the bed.
    It started as a headache and now I'm sitting with a wheat bag round my neck. They do make it feel a bit better.
  • Hockley
    Hockley Member Posts: 1
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't know how to use these sites, so bear with me.I have cervical spondylosis was bad for a year with sickness depression and panic attacks,took Prozac, things slowly improved, stopped the Prozac, was ok for10months after that no neck pain,forgot neck and done everything I wanted.now wham everything is back, feel so sick and il, neck pain muscles ache, can't do much, for 3 weeks now,before physio didn't help,discharged from hospital,last year,don't know what to do next, surgery would be welcomed by me, but how can you get the dr to help they seem to not understand what's going on.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Hockley, it's nice to meet you and I am glad you have found us. I don't have what you do but I can empathise with the pain and distress you are currently feeling. I fear that not many people will read your post as it appears in an older thread, but for a first attempt you did OK! :wink: When you log on and see the list of topics on the LWA forum, there is a button to the top left called 'New topic.' If you click on that a screen appears that requires you to put a title, then your post in the box underneath. Click submit (just as you did to answer on the thread) and your new thread will appear. More people may then spot it and may be able to help with information about their experiences.

    Getting doctors to listen to us is sometimes hard - we usually advise keeping a diary of symptoms, what helps and hinders, tiredness levels, state of mind etc and that then gives them something more 'concrete' to interpret. Take care, keep posting and I hope you soon start to feel better in yourself. DD
  • Heather65
    Heather65 Member Posts: 262
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi sorry to hear about your neck i have the same peroblem but ive been quite lucky with my doctor im of to see the consultant tomorrow so see what happens ,i found that my chripractor was a great help he wrote to my doctor and got things rolling along a lot quicker then if i asked myself it might be worth a try
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there Hockley,

    I started this thread and have recently been referred to the musclo-seletal service which I believe many hospitals use as the intermediary between GP and consultant. Please ask your GP for a referral and then you can get some help. They can arrange scans, x-rays and physio and also refer you for further treatment.

    I am currently awaiting the results of a scan as my symptoms have never settled down since a really bad episode in November last year. I am taking Pregabalin which have transformed my life - I am back now doing normal things. Sometimes it still hurts but I can do stuff again which is amazing.
  • Heather65
    Heather65 Member Posts: 262
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    well been to the hospital today had an examination again and lots of questions im sure they think you have no idea whats going on i told them i have had a x-ray already and going to the chiropractor so i do have a clue anyway the upshot is im going to have a MRI at last and this month so lets wait and see what happens they seemed quite dismissive but im happy with getting my MRI it seems to be hard work to get anywhere but you got to keep fighting for it !
  • mates
    mates Member Posts: 24
    edited 24. Jun 2012, 08:59
    Hi Guys and Gals,

    I haven't posted for a while but in the meantime have been on a wonderful holiday which was a welcome break. We went on a cruise in the Med and it really was wonderful.

    Last Monday I had a consultation at the musculo-skeletal service. The MRI has shown that C5/6 disc has degenerated and the tunnel through which the nerves exit to my arm is now restricted hence all the arm pain. Although not the news I wanted in a way I was pleased that something had shown as the pain really does not let up.

    I haven't had a single pain free day since the problem showed itself and over the last few weeks it seems to be more persistent. We drove to Southampton docks to go on our holiday with me sitting with my neck in the most strange position as it had gone into one of its horrible spasms. The spasms are happening through much of the day now which is becoming more restricting. I have just given up my beloved chorus singing as I just cannot manage with the pain now. This is having gone back last summer after several years out because of hip problems (had a replacement a year ago) so all very frustrating.

    I am now booked in to have an injection in my neck to confirm the diagnosis and then most likely to have neck surgery. They don't do disc replacements locally but they do not too far away so I am pursuing this option. I understand that the disc replacement maintains the flexibility that you have which you tend to lose with a decompression and fusion which is what has been suggested - any experiences of this gratefully received.

    My shoulder continues to plague me although I am sure it is linked to my neck. It is very weak and all the muscle tone has gone. The lady I saw feels it is a separate issue and thinks this needs to be treated as well. I hope not once the neck is sorted.

    I think that my biggest frustration is having to get everything sorted piecemeal fashion. I know osteo-arthritis is very common but I am still quite young and have so many joint problems I feel certain something else is going on but have given up trying to find out what after seeing a rheumatologist who thought there was and then didn't on the basis of a blood test and reviewing some very ancient (three year old) x-rays.

    Anyway I am hoping that once the neck is sorted things will improve. Any information and guidance gratefully received.
  • skezier
    skezier Member Posts: 11,333
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Mates,

    At least you know and there are a couple of folk here who hae had the neck surgery so it it comes to it they will be able to help you.

    the disc replacement thing... oh i know about that one as well and am trying to get it too. Cus its all my discs they wont as like as not but please keep us posted over that one.

    I have had tons of injections into the spine and neck and they do help to varring degrees so hang in there and at least now they are looking to do something for you at last! Cris x

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