The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
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Ideas for improving or coping with neck pain?

Discussion in 'Pain and Inflammation' started by Gingergrrl, May 6, 2018.

  1. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I am certain that I posted asking for ideas about neck pain a few years ago but couldn't find the thread! So I thought I'd create a new one since some of the suggestions I got (while amazing) were beyond my physical ability at that time, vs. now I can do a lot more and have more options of things that I can try.

    I have had neck pain off and on since I was in a severe car accident in 2006 (when I was hit and my car flipped upside down). But it really got worse in 2010 when my right arm was injured by Levaquin. The triceps tendon nearly tore and I was unable to use my arm so my shoulder and neck compensated for my arm which worsened the neck pain. In 2010, I did PT but my right arm never really regained normal strength.

    Then in 2012, I got sick with Mono/EBV and later with POTS... blah blah blah... skip ahead to today... and with the help of high dose IVIG for autoimmunity, I now have much closer to normal muscle strength. So I can do more but then I end up in severe pain, especially the right side of my neck, my right shoulder, and all the way down my right arm. Sometimes it is pure pain and other times it feels like a buzzing sensation in my neck and right arm.

    I try ice and heat, pain pills, stretches but none of this seems to help (beyond temporary relief). I used to have a chiropractor but don't feel comfortable going back to him and would need to find someone new. I've gotten many referrals throughout the years but am hesitant to choose a random chiropractor (and not even sure if they would be able to help me since this has been going on for so long).

    I always said if I could walk without wheelchair and drive again, I would never even complain about the neck pain but I guess I lied b/c now I am complaining :D. When it's more moderate, I just sort of tune it out like background noise. But last night and all day today, it is excruciating and I am wondering if there is something that I can do (besides ice, heat, and pain pills) that I am forgetting? I now have a two week break from taking care of my dog (who had back surgery) and I think this alone should help a little bit.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas!
     
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  2. blueberry

    blueberry

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    I suppose it may depend on whether the pain is muscular or nerve pain? I can only share my experience which is that over the last year since my relapse I developed really bad neck and shoulder pain, sometimes going into my arm and jaw. I was desperate to go and see someone about it, but couldn't afford any more professional input on top of what I was already paying for. What sorted it for me was my medical herbalist, who I saw mainly for herbal anti-virals (and help with other symptoms), as we can't get pharmaceutical ones for ME in the UK. When I last saw him, I mentioned how my neck and shoulder pain had cleared up and he said it was due to one of the herbs in the medicine which is a muscle relaxant. It's amazing how much it has improved, I was at my wits' end with it, trying to do self-massage with a tennis ball between my shoulder and the wall! Happy to discuss further if you're interested, hope you get some helpful ideas and some relief, I really get it.
     
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  3. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    1) peppermint oil + thyme oil. The mix blocks muscular and nerve pain.
    2) I had issues on an area and went saw a Phisio and she streghen the muscles around my shoulder ( w elastic bands nothing you would call excercise). Helped a lot!!
     
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  4. mariovitali

    mariovitali Senior Member

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    Perhaps you could have a look at FIR (Far Infrared) Therapy?
     
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  5. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    The First things I would do, @Gingergrrl is positional awareness. I just made that term up,;)
    though someone else might have made it up, long before me! :D

    As I was saying, first things I would do, is for you, yourself, to pay extreme , careful attention ,
    to attempt to identify,

    which neck/arm/body positions, make the pain worse. Or cause it to start up again.

    And which actions or activities make it worse.

    Or which times of day, and note which body and neck positions you were in, or what you were doing, just before it got worse.

    This would not be to eliminate activities, but to change them, so that you are no longer, hopefully, exacerbating the pain, or the cause of the pain.

    So I would try to identify, when I am sitting, when I am resting, how my body positions are, and how my cushions/pillows/or support items or couch, etc, are, when it hurts more,

    And which actions, such as reaching out or down or up, or using computer, watching tv, etc.....
    or lifting something (a plate, a mug) ..... washing , shampooing ........

    SO then, I would try to place my body, and to do motions, in more 'ergonomic' ways, or simply in ways that seem to even teeny bit alleviate or prevent, any worse pain.
    Experiment , if you need to, with different layers/thicknesses of cushions/pillows/ body slant, etc.....

    Then, try to form new habits, to do the better positioning of your neck and body, as much and as often as possible.
    And use a new , improved position for each activity.

    Practise the new habit, repeatedly, and after some days, you might very well identify, what might prevent the pain from increasing, and that would be useful , to eventually be able to reduce it significantly.

    I would also try some Extremely GENTLE, and very few repetitions! of gentle neck stretches, and slow limited, shoulder movement, and limited arm range of motion.
    BUT I DO mean, start with only 1 or 2 times, of each gentle movement, and do NONE of the neck leaning back, or in ANY position that is painful!!!
    And do NOT increase or repeat too many times per day, of that.

    Being careful to try to do only a very small helpful amount, and NOT to overdo it, which could be done very easily!

    I would also particularly pay attention to any rest positions, and any pillow support that you might use, that is or is NOT, perfectly supportive and comfortable. To avoid any straining of the neck and shoulder, from the weight of our heads. Sleep on back or sides, with just the right amount of thickness, of 'pillow' to support the head and neck in an unstrained position.

    Also I would try to repeatedly notice if you are holding tight , your shoulders, that we tend to tense, and if so, then consciously relax them, throughout the day. (as often as possible on that one)

    Posture might help as well, such as simply lifting your breast upward toward sky a bit, then top/center of head to sky, with chin coming slightly back toward spine, then remember to relax shoulders again. This can be done while sitting or standing, OR while laying in bed! Then the headboard becomes the "sky" ;)

    And heat, yes!

    I avoid "pain killers " for neck pain, whenever possible, because it would be better, IF POSSIBLE, to be trying to feel when the pain starts or gets worse at all, and to adjust, any possible neck positions or movements that worsen the pain, bcause they might be worsening it a lot, and once you identify them and practice changing to a different option, then you could lower the pain, much more than any of the meds do, has been my own experience.

    Just my ideas, If any work for you.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  6. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    We often do need to do this sort of compensating, when a body part is NOT working, and/or is TOO painful to use normally, but we hope for this to be temporary, when possible.

    You might now be ready , to attempt to resume going GRADUALLY .... back toward normal type of movements, so you could slowly use you arm and shoulder a little more in normal positions, but NOT overuse them, and not expect to change them overnight, but VERY gradually, you might be able to go TOWARD a better positioning, to lower the stresses that the compensations created.

    Even though we often truly NEED the compensations, (in order to put on a shirt, for example)
    and some of them still might be necessary and desirable and helpful,
    but if one can , in very tiny increments, move more in a normal fashion again, then sometimes, one can regain some range of motion and not have our bodies so scewed up, and causing more pain in more places.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  7. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Wow, thank you all so much! I have to go out for a few hours but I plan to re-read all of these posts and reply later today. One thing I know I do that makes it worse is typing on my phone, and to use Shoshana's term, "positional awareness" I do everything wrong! I had accepted that this was a lifelong injury & pain (and it may still be) but am now really wanting to see if my neck and arm pain can be improved, and right now I would be happy with even 10%!
     
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  8. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    I would be interested in which herb that was.

    It is surely true that nerve pain and longterm damage cause pain, that is even harder to mitigate,

    yet we perhaps all tend to add even more pain to the pain, by tensing muscles around it.
    And by using muscles and joints in incorrect ways, ongoing.
    SOmetimes we cannot avoid doing that and cannot decrease it, yet, sometimes we could perhaps, such as changing our position when we type. Or by changing the position of the phone or keyboard. Lifting them higher, if we are hunching over to them, or holding our shoulders back. Even slightly.

    So anything we do to ease up on any part, MIGHT help decrease the overall pain level, at least a bit or perhaps more than a bit...

    At least by 10 % ? ;):D
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  9. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    Personally, I myself, would make a reminder list, for myself,
    @Gingergrrl of small things that I COULD practice small changes in how I do them, to put less strain on already paining areas.

    I do not want anyone to think, that I think this would cure our illness or our pain problems, because I know better than that, and
    I DO NOT!!!

    But I HAVE been able to see some small but significant-to-me improvements, from making this type of adjustments, particularly with my neck and shoulder and arm.

    I am very seriously sick, which of course, this does NOT cure. I am not a mild case who does not understand and comprehend the extent and reality of this illness. I do know first-hand, how intractable the pain is, and how persistent this illnss is. I still have major movement limitations, and serious pain of varying types, and very significant level of disability, so I am not diminishing anyone's difficulties, or anyone's pain, or claiming that this is all we need to do, or that it will even make all of us a bit better.

    But it IS possible that SOME others, could see some bit of help from these approaches, which I have , and am thankful for, even though I still have significant pain and limitations.
    For me, I like that at least this approach, does help lower SOME of the types of pain for me, and it does not have scary dangerous side effects.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
  10. erin

    erin Senior Member

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    I have herniated discs on my neck, C3 and 4 to be precise. I can't use pain killers due to gastritis. I use CBD oil, highly recommend it.
     
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  11. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

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    I'd try to see an osteopath. They're usually quite holistic and don't rely solely on skeletal manipulation. They'd be able to help you figure out what it is that's causing it.

    Dis you ever have an MRI or other scan done on your neck? It might be worthwhile as there could be structural damage causing these symptoms, and doing self diagnosis might exacerbate the situation.
     
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  12. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    Thank you all and I just read everything and will divide my replies into a few posts!

    That is a great question and at this point I think it is both muscle and nerve pain (and possibly tendon pain, too). Is there a way to determine this for sure? A few years ago, my former chiropractor said that he thought I had a pinched nerve in my neck and the pain right now is almost as bad as it was then.

    Although I absolutely have muscle pain as well. It is 100% on the right side (in the arm that was injured by Levaquin in 2010) and at the moment, it starts at the top of my neck and is shooting down all the way to my wrist. Sometimes it feels like a buzzing vibration is inside of my right arm.

    Do you know what the herb was that helped your pain so much? We don't really have "herbalists" in the US but we have naturopaths and other doctors who prescribe similar things. In my case though, b/c of potential allergic reactions, I don't take anything that I do not know exactly what ingredients it contains.

    That is actually a great idea that I have never thought of! Does that help? I don't even think I have a tennis ball right now but can get one.

    Yes, I'd be happy to discuss further, thank you so much!

    This is a stupid question but does the peppermint & thyme oil go onto your skin (transdermal) or do you take it in some other method?

    Edit: In prior years, I used to put Magnesium oil onto my skin but it really burned my skin and I've been told by doctors not to use Mg b/c (in my case), it can block the CA+ Channels and make my autoimmune issues worse.

    I am not sure if I have the muscle strength to do elastic bands. I don't get PEM, but my arms do, and right now I can drive my car again and hate to "waste" my arm strength on elastic bands and then not be able to do more important things. When I used to go to the Chiropractor, he did ultrasound and other more passive techniques which are more at my level. I am conflicted, though, and am wondering if something like elastic bands could help me in the long-run (or if they would make me worse)?

    I have heard of these FIR saunas for mold detox but didn't realize they helped for pain (or is it something totally different)? I never actually tried it for mold detox at the time b/c I had severe POTS and didn't handle heat or high temperatures well. But I might be able to tolerate it now, am not sure.
     
  13. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I definitely agree with you, and I think my desk and keyboard height are okay, BUT I significantly increase my pain every time I type and text on my phone, especially when laying in bed. I know immediately that it is making the pain worse, and yet I do it anyway like an idiot.

    Oh, I definitely did not think that at all and your ideas are very helpful.

    That is great news. What other types of things have you done besides making sure your keyboard height is okay?

    Please don't worry and you never sound like you are minimizing anyone's difficulties and are probably the most compassionate person on PR. I feel bad even typing about this b/c I know others experience pain that is far worse than mine.

    Luckily I am able to take opioids and/or Tylenol (as far as painkillers) but I am allergic to aspirin and NSAIDS. I have another dumb question and have never used CBD oil. For pain, do you apply it to the skin (transdermal) or is it drops that you add to a liquid and drink or some other method?

    I had a horrible experience with an osteopath in 2015 who made my neck worse. But I know he was just one individual and other osteopaths might be great. At this point, I'm hesitant to see anyone unless they are a recommendation from someone I know who has seen the person and recommends them vs. picking a random name from a list.

    The only MRI that I had of my brain and spinal cord was in 2010 and even back then it showed some damage to my neck (I assume from my car accident in 2006). It was minimal and other than seeing chiropractor, and doing the PT for my arm injury, nothing else was recommended at that time. Unfortunately I am now deathly allergic to contrast dye so if I did do an MRI, it would have to be without contrast which probably would not be that useful.
     
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  14. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I wanted to add one thing that I forgot although I suspect that it is unrelated to my neck pain. Several months ago (not sure how many but less than a year ago), I started having these bright flashes of light just at the very edge or periphery of my vision in my right eye. They are unbelievably quick and completely random with nothing that triggers them. And they are 100% only in my right eye... which is the same side that I have the neck and arm pain.

    The reason I think they are unrelated is that I have had this severe neck and arm pain off & on for approx eight years and this eye symptom only for a few months. If the eye flashers (not sure what to call them) were constant, I would go see my optometrist. But they are totally random and infrequent. It could happen several times per day but then it could not happen at all for an entire week so I forget about them.

    It wasn't until it happened tonight that I made the connection that it is on the same side as the neck and arm pain. Can a pinched nerve caused eye flashers? When I Googled it, is seems to be lumped w/a bunch of other symptoms that I do not have (like high BP vs. I have very low BP), etc. I thought I'd mention it in case it is relevant and am now a little more concerned.

    I did have a full eye exam in the past year when I ordered my contacts and nothing was found abnormal (but this was of course prior to these eye flashers so I didn't ask my eye doctor). Maybe I should start a new thread to ask this question (in addition to asking here if anyone has experienced this who also has/had severe neck pain).
     
  15. CCC

    CCC Senior Member

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    Have you tried clove oil dabbed on the painful joints? I've found it works well when dabbed on painful bony sports (e.g. the vertebrae, jaw joints). it doesn't seem to work for soft tissue (e.g. muscle pain).

    Bad neck pain is no fun.
     
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  16. PatJ

    PatJ Forum Support Assistant

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    It's probably this thread about a pinched nerve in your neck, from 2015. I found it by searching for 'neck', with the 'Search titles only' box checked, and member name 'Gingergrrl'.
     
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  17. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    Sorry should of add, skin, why I love it. They block pain receptors so you have to reapply as needed. But I have had a few people marvel about the results.
     
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  18. Shoshana

    Shoshana Northern USA

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    Of course I cannot know for sure, but that EYE symptom does not seem related, from my experiences.

    And, If it was instead, migraine related, (as flashes sometimes are) then , you would likely already know that you have migraines.

    SO then, if you are NOT diabetic, and if you do NOT see a dark shadow or "curtain" in the corner of that eye, and if it is not a sudden and large number of flashes, and floaters, and if it is not effecting your vision,
    then it sounds likely the "normal aging" of what the retina does.

    But if you had any of the symptoms I just mentioned, then it would be an eye emergency, and an opthomology M.D. should be seen asap.

    Or you could see your optometrist or ask for referral to an opthomologist, anytime,
    for them to check on what you described, and they would see the pulling, I believe, even if the flashes are not occurring when you have the office visit,

    and you could have them rule out any possible retinal detachment,
    which would need quick and serious attention.
    They would tell you what to watch for, just in case they think it could possibly happen to you.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
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  19. rel8ted

    rel8ted Senior Member

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    I have a weighted neck pillow that I use when I am doing any kind of sitting. It is long enough to tuck under my chin to keep me from holding my head down for too long. It has been amazing. I'm getting a friend to make me a new one after she moves this month. I originally purchased it from a massage therapist shop. The important thing that I love about it is that it is curved like a travel pillow. I've seen some that are just a straight tube and didn't think they would work as well. Mine is filled with about 2 pounds of rice and lavender. The beads for weighted blankets would be perfect as well.
    This would work if you can get one made.
    http://www.pellonprojects.com/proje...k-roll/?sort=1&sb=by-skill&skill=intermediate
     
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  20. erin

    erin Senior Member

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    It's not a dumb question at all @Gingergrrl , you can apply CBD oil to the skin (transdermal) and take it orally (drops). There's suppositories for people who can not digest it.
     
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