Cervical Spondylosis Self Management

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I was first diagnosed with CS 4/5 vertebrae in 1981. I have been to many doctors,physios,osteos etc over the years and I can honestly say that the best advice I've had has come off the internet (mostly American medical sites). It all boils down to self management and as I am a self employed decorator, I have had to learn to manage the problem. Here are some Tips:

[b:f71d6d7056][u:f71d6d7056]Lifting Weights:[/u:f71d6d7056][/b:f71d6d7056] Whatever you think you can handle, reduce your expectations or get assistance. Any aggravation may not become apparent for 2/3 days and then it is difficult to assess the source.

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Working Overhead:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056] Simply don't do any overhead work unless you feel right . Rolling Ceilings (a killer), fixing light sockets, any effort above shoulder height is very dodgy. Don't stretch, always work within comfortable range.

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Sleeping:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056] Vary sleeping arrangements...bed,sofa,lie low etc to suit. I've found that an afternoon/eve nap on sofa can really improve my day. Pillows to suit, I prefer soft and memory foam seems to help.

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Painkillers[/b:f71d6d7056]: [/u:f71d6d7056] Try and assess, first thing in morning, if you are likely to have a headache that day (obviously, headaches lower your resistance considerably). Have a cup of tea, take 2 Nurofen and half an hour later eat some food. This should keep headache at bay for rest of day (you might have to top up nurofen later).

I've found that taking nurofen and trying to sleep it off doesn't really work. Best awake and active. If the headache strikes later in day I've found it more difficult to shake off!

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Symptoms:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056] I get sore neck/shoulder/head regularly but it's only the mornings when my

head feels muggy that I resort to nurofen. The mugginess is a headache about to happen! Sometimes, the other symptons lessen with activity and don't need painkillers.

[b:f71d6d7056][u:f71d6d7056]Exercise:[/u:f71d6d7056][/b:f71d6d7056] Stiff neck/shoulders...stretch arms sideways and straighten. Twist hands clockwise and anticlockwise to relieve stiffness. Twist neck slowly side to side to loosen before activity.

[i:f71d6d7056][u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Important:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056][/i:f71d6d7056] Feed the cat or he/she might start looking at you funny and you really don't need that!!!!

[b:f71d6d7056][u:f71d6d7056]Driving:[/u:f71d6d7056][/b:f71d6d7056] No sudden movements to look behind you..use mirrors. Be careful of any draughts through windows. Open only opposite windows. If getting stiff and tense, just stop and relax and loosen up. Dont push it.

I got frozen shoulder (10 months) from just reaching towards the back seat. Ouch..

[b:f71d6d7056][u:f71d6d7056]Socialising:[/u:f71d6d7056][/b:f71d6d7056] Ignore any ignorant comments about how tense you look..you know the reason..they don't! No matter how many times you try to explain others will always want to put their own interpretation on it. You will appear tense and angry and even washed out sometimes but that may not be the way you really feel at all. Ignore and Survive.

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Alcohol:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056] The last thing you need is a hangover (believe me!). So, only in moderation. A little spliff and a Southern Comfort can help rest..but thats a personal choice.

[u:f71d6d7056][b:f71d6d7056]Feeling Well:[/b:f71d6d7056][/u:f71d6d7056] It's amazing how quickly we forget we've just had a rough time. But don't be fooled into thinking that it won't happen again, if aggravated. Stay comfortable.

I hope this might be helpful to someone.

Gerry the Neck ( this is a nickname i picked up on a building site. They weren't wrong!)

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  • Posted

    PS.......I have since revised/updated self management tips. Go to Cervical Spondylosis Ruminations pages for a fuller guide.
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    • Posted

      Hey Gerry,

      Been following your tips, apologies can't find the post now.. but can you recommend a good pillow? you mentioned Cervical Ortho soft ones.. any in particular you know of?

      My mum has CS.. but only over the last week has she had the bad head aches, so bad it stops her sleeping.. really worried about it.

      Doc has given her steroid tabs.. so we will see.. but I just want her to get some relief... any tips? thanks so much


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    • Posted

      Hi Gemmies

      I don't have any links to hand,  but if you look on Amazon ( or Arc4Life site),  you should see some Cervical Ortho Pillows.  They are shaped with a ridge around outside, a gap where neck sits,  and a raised heart liker shape in centre...and softish. Good for headaches.  Otherwise I'd suggest you trawl thru' some of the C/S posts here and try find some appropriate tips.

      Good luck

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    • Posted

      Thanks Gerry, that's useful. Much appreciated.

      Yeah she did a load of ironing, too much really and since then has had this chronic pain from her neck across one side of her head.

      shes getting no relief and doc has put her on steroid tabs, but still no joy sad its just awful

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