Cervical spondylosis

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Good advice here on the subject of cervical spondylosis, apart from the wearing of a support collar maybe. I have found wearing a soft collar at night very helpful in preventing an attack of neck pain turning into a horrible headache by the time morning comes. And very occasionally, it's useful even in the day for severe flare-ups. But I completely agree that neither collars nor corsets should be worn for prolonged periods. My problem started nearly 30 years ago after a car accident, and I'm able to deal with it by the collar at night, Dihydrocodeine, and occasionally voltarol.

I'm sure it's important to keep as active as possible, but families (and GPs) need to understand that it can be a significantly disabling condition for a minority of us. It has stopped me working, and limits my ability to paint, which I love to do. If diagnosed with it, take all the physio and other help you can get as early as possible, and ensure you are not written off by the medics - badger them until you get help that works for you.

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  • Posted

    hi robert

    i have been wondering about the soft collar as i do get awful pains at night and frequently end up in the hot shower to try and relief the pain and spasms, where could i get one or do you have to see your gp for one. gail

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  • Posted

    Gail

    I got my last collar free from my GP surgery - he had a bag full of them, and it felt a bit like Christmas.... Some surgeries will have them, some won't.

    They are also available online from a variety of disability equipment suppliers. It's quite important to choose the right size, depth especially: too high and you can feel you're being strangled, too shallow and there's little benefit.

    In an emergency, you can take a large towel, and wrap it round your neck; for extra stiffening, add a folded newspaper inside the towel. It should get you through a difficult night until you get a collar.

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  • Posted

    My physio gave me the soft collar I have here, but it did nothing to help & if anything made it more uncomfortable.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear that a soft collar didn't help you. It may be that it's either not deep enough, or too deep. But it might also be that your neck is too inflamed for a collar to make much difference. All I can say is that I wear one at night, and use one down-filled pillow, and that seems to prevent the worst of the morning pain and headaches. On the other hand, I've tried \"orthopaedic\" pillows, which didn't help, and a TENS machine of the old type, which just irritated me. A pain-gone pen, on the other hand, has helped. In other words, some things help for some and not others. And sometimes, nothing works. I still get episodes which I can find no way of relieving.

    You might want to persist with the collar, or try a different shape. Physios should have a variety of sizes and depths. I haven't a lot of faith in physiotherapy for neck pain, other than the idea of building up muscle in the neck and shoulders; and I'm not sure how good they are at that. But I'm nervous of chiropractic. Anyone tried it?

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  • Posted

    I did try Chiropracter in sheer desperation and yes it did work that time! but I feel it could also have made it worse. He was a doctor and did get in touch with my G.P. to check on my medical history before he would treat me. I was extremely nervous as not long before I had heard of someone going to a Chiropracter and it caused him to have a stroke. My point being check very carefully who you are going to.

    He wanted me to keep going but after running up costs of £500.00 I felt I had to stop could no longer afford it.

    I am sure others with the condition would agree that sometimes one does not have to do anything to spark it off.

    I do wish more could be done for it though,rather than just doling out painkillers which in my experience bring their own problems, and wearing collars as these do not always work and in my case in the beginning made it much worse.

    I did see a program once on t.v. about a pain control clinic where electrodes were fed in and around where the pain was and it made this lady's life worth living again. I suppose it is similar to a tens but internally fitted.

    It must be nice to get something that works so that one could just get on with life and be able to live normally. I find mine is making travelling a nightmare.

    I think we have to learn to be selfish in as much as not doing the things that will aggravate it.

    I used to carry on and not complain but would suffer agony later. It is restricting though for people that have to go out and earn a living and feel that others think they are putting it on when they are just too ill to work.

    I was self employed so just had to keep going as best I could so I do have sympathy for anyone in that situation. It is just a case of finding what works best for you.

    Being told by a doctor that it is wear and tear or result of whiplash in my case is just no help at all.

    Perhaps more doctors should suffer from it then we might get more help.

    Best of luck to all fellow sufferers.

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  • Posted

    I have CS in the neck. I was diagnosed 5.5 years ago at 36. I originally lost 50% of all movement. I could not turn my head in either direction, lift my right arm properly. It has affected my upper body strength and the ability to do ordinary everyday things. I cannot lift anything heavy. I do not go to work anymore, cannot drive, and have had to give up a lot of things, like swimming, dancing etc, that I loved. I drop things involuntarily. I also have a weakness in my lower back.

    Physiotherapy helped me a great deal. It helped me gain back movement. (Although there are still limitations). I now see a chiropractor. However, for me this does work in that it does relieve pain, and improves my ability to function.

    A good chiropractor should pay attention to what your condition needs, because it affects everyone differently. They should also explain that it does not work for everyone. They should also explain that you may experience a reaction to the treatment.

    However, it is not a cure. I have also asked to be referred to a pain management programme, so that I can be given the skills to learn to live with this condition.

    I agree with Yellowboat, sometimes there is no reason for a flare up, other than you have CS. It is the unpredictability that makes it difficult to live with.

    You do have to become selfish to a certain degree, and not do things that aggravate the condition. You have to adapt your life. This is a difficult thing to do, and is a constant learning process.

    It is also true that what works for one person does not work for another. I have not worn a collar for years. I am surprised that they are still using them, as I was told, when diagnosed, that they made the symptoms worse. They did not help me. TENS machines did nothing either. You have to find the things that work for you. You also have to be prepared to adapt when tried and tested methods do not work.

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  • Posted

    Back to collars ... Plainly they don't work for everyone. When you were told at diagnosis that they make the condition worse, that is true, IF you rely on them and wear them all the time. If you do that, the muscle gets even less effective and so the pain gets worse. I think it's worth putting in a small defence of them, though, as emergency measures, and for wearing at night. Two reasons for this. One, this does work for some though obviously not all of us. And two, doctors are driven by fashions in treatment, and the current fashion is to condemn the collar. This sort of black and white view is completely unhelpful to those who do find them helpful, as an occasional support.

    I would not wear them all the time, or every night. It may be that for others, a supportive pillow is better; but then, I've tried those, spent a lot of money on them, and found them worse than useless. That doesn't mean to say everyone else will, though. I just plead for a bit of flexibility in treatment, and a touch less lofty pontificating from some consultants who, as the number of posts on here attest, haven't made a lot of progress in treating this condition, and virtually none in curing it.

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  • Posted

    hi robert

    i went to see my gp last thur and spoke about a collar for the night time my meds are not working as well and i really dont want to up the dose so we both agreed to give a collar a go, she phoned my local hospital while i was there and asked that i have an urgent referal to get fitted for one she said i should hear back by next week (yeh ok heard that before), i too bought the \"pillow\" i think the hype about them is totaly wrong, they are far too expensive to then find out it can actually make things worse!, so my gp suggested i put it on ebay lol. im hoping that the collar will help me more in at least preventing me from turning my head whilst sleeping and then waking up to severe \"electric\" shocks, my gp did state though that its not to be worn all the time as it could make the muscles weak. so im keen to give it a go. gail

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  • Posted

    Having had cervical spondylosis diagnosed by Xray 10 years ago.. with flair up every so often,thankfully not lasting more than a week....I now find myself, after four weeks of being in pain, head neck back hip and arm . I am not getting much help from my GP, asked for a collar he said they dont use them now. and said scan would not tell them anything,I would have thought a scan would have picked up more than an x.ray 10 years ago, think my condition is a lot worse. I am so worried about going back to work as a home carer,
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  • Posted

    hi ginny

    i to am a homecarer (the reason for my prolapse discs) i used the collar last night although not all night i woke at 2.30 in pain so thought ok give it a go and i did actually sleep, it took a minute or two to get comfy but when i did i found it did help, i would have thought that 10 yr old xrays would be a little dated now, and considering the work you do thats things would have got worse , i would tend to go back to the gp and ask for another xray at least, and possible referal to ortho doc or physio as the physios know they stuff and could point you in the right direction. hope this is of some help. i have been off work now for 10 mths and hating every minute as i love my work so am eager to get back but i definatly will be taking more care in future i think we all take our bodies for granted. gail

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  • Posted

    Thank you Gail for your help, as you know our job can involve, helping lift heavy people, this has not helped neck or back just like yourself... Sorry to hear you have been off so long, how is your line manager taking it.... I go back to a different GP in a weeks time, so will ask her about scan or physio,Last time I asked he said it wont tell us anything we dont know. did you get your collar from your GP. Thanks again Ginny
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  • Posted

    hi ginny

    spoke to my gp about a collar as i havent been able to sleep cos of the pain numbness, and asked if she thought a collar may be beneficial , so she agreed to give it a go and organised a fitting at the local hospital via the phone whilst i was there.

    my team leader is very good and my manager they both phone about once a month to get an update, my team leader felt awful when she told me back in feb that i wouldnt be able to work as there are no light duties for me and due to health and saftey (pain meds etc) they could be held liable if anything went wrong, i did actually cry when she said that ,as i love my job and am a bit of a workaholic(as my manager knows) i have been very worried about losing my job due to the time being off and am due for assesment in dec, hope this is helpful to you. gail

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  • Posted

    Did you go back to work before symptom's cleared? I think you must be worse than me, as my pain is now a lot better, still numbness in neck and shoulders bit uncomfortable at times,when on computer this starts of pain so cant go on for as long as I used to.. I just dont know whether to go back to work in a weeks time, see how I manage, but really dont want to make it worse, you have helped a lot thank you. Ginny
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  • Posted

    Hi I have been back and forward to the gp with my pain for 13 years they could find nothing wrong and writ me off with something called fibromyalgia.The specialist I saw did mention I had some uneven wear and tear in my neck but said to come back when it got worse.

    After years of putting up with no sleep I finally went back and told him my symptoms twice I saw young GP who gave me Tramadol but this did not touch my pain. Finally after going on googlei found my symptoms and understood I had CV I am waiting the results of xrays and hope they find something as I'm sure they all think I'm a crazy women.

    I have neck pain arm pain numbness tingling sore hips pain in the back of my head shoulder pain and my write eye gets so sore I can hardly see out of it.

    The most strange thing is I have thought back to when I first got ill I had just had a minor bump in my car I had a sore neck for a while and never gave it another thought then one day I woke I hurt all over so bad my husband had to carry me to the car to see the doctor I was burning up I really thought I was on my way out I saw a new doctor she had no idea what was wrong and sent me home with pain killers, my life has been he'll since I don't know if that has anything to do with my colleagues condition but beware whiplash it could be the start of years of agony.

    If only I could sleep at night I toss and turn from back to side and side to back the pain wakes me as I lay on one side to long I don't think I can take any more!!!!!!

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  • Posted

    Hi Robert.  I have been reading your discussions and am glad to read that I am not the only sufferer of this debilitating and painful condition. I was diagnosed with CS about 10 yrs ago, had one major op to fuse vertebrae in my neck and feel that I am approaching the point where another op is in sight. I was interested in the discussion on neck supports (collar) as a temporary form of relief. I am keen to try it. I was referred by a GP to a local osteopath and have been attending for many years. I find this helps manage my condition. This may be of help for some of your other readers but as you know it may not help everyone. I agree with many of the people about specialist pillows...expensive and ineffective...in my opinion. I noted from one or two of your readers that not only do they have neck problems but are also suffering in other areas (eg, hip, back, shoulders and arms) with pain, numbness and stiffness generally...as do I.  I completely empathise with everyone.  I now realise that there are others "in the same boat" and I feel a little less depressed as I understand there are others out there who feel as I do.

    Thanks again.

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