I am close to a breakdown suffering with Cervical Spine pain

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    Hi Darren,

    I suffer with the same condition and can absolutely sympathise with you, although my symptoms nowdays are different.

    I hope my experience and advice can help you.

    My condition started about 20 years ago. I'm 47 now. So I was in my 20's when it started; feeling like my life was going to be agony forever. To be honest I didn't feel like going on either. I had to give up work as a nurse. The cause - a whiplash injury which was bearable, but then I was lifting very heavy patients (something we did those days). This exaccerbated the symptoms, the pain became excrutiating and I had to leave work.

    The pains I experieiced were the most severe in my head. Other people talk of 'headaches'. My pains weren't headaches they were like knives sticking in my head and I had various other types of pains in my head and shoulders. The only way I could describe my neck / upper back was as though there was an iron rod shoved into it. It was that stiff. I tried physio, an osteopath and a chiropractor (which did help with the sharpest of the pain I should add). but nothing really worked. My GP did try various medications and I'll tell you the ones I've been stablised on at the end.

    After a long time of agony, my life changed in exactly four weeks.

    I live in Liverpool and the Walton Pain Foundation' had been working on a programme to enable people to live with pain. I'm pretty sure that they were the pioneers of this treatment. Please don't stop reading because I've mentioned 'living with pain' and not 'being cured' try and trust what I'm going to tell you happened to me.

    I must admit I did see the consultant privately initially, but following that I was admitted onto their 4 week pain management programme soon after.

    The people on the course had to go every day Mon-Fri for the 4 weeks.

    Some people left after the first day or so when they realised there was no 'magic' treatment to cure them. But I stuck it out, as did many others.

    We're talking 20 years ago, at least now, and it's difficult to believe how open minded even the neurologists were - I'll tell you what that course included. There was so much I may miss something out though.

    Discussions with the Consultant Neuropsychologist and the Consultant Aneathestist. The physio came in every day to do excercises which increased daily, the occupational therapist worked with us. We did relaxation techniques and Ti Chi. We also had aromatherapy regularly and every Tuesday a spiritual healer came in to do a session with anyone who wanted it. There were other aspects also.

    I was a bit sceptical at first. I really didn't want to 'live with the pain', but what the course taught us was to control the pain and basically ignore it. It also reduced the level of pain.

    I promise you I wasn't the same person at the end. Neither were the others. We all had one thing in common, apart from pain, when we started. We'd all put our lives on hold awaiting a cure and had stopped doing basic things that most people do. We were dependent on others.

    What helped me most were the relaxation techniques and the physical excercise, although everything helped in it's own way. I can honestly say that although I wasn't cured, the pain substantially diminished and I learnt to ignore whatever pain was there.

    Immediately after the course I looked for a job, got it and did a degree with the Open University for 6 years whilst working. I have worked ever since.

    Do I have bad days? - yes. But I can honestly say that that course helped me even cope with these. My current job is stressful and the pain increases with stress towards the end of the day. If I did my relaxation exercises and some physical exercise I probably wouldn't have any bad days. But I've got used to the pain and just lie down, take my medication and it eases. In general the none severe pain is still there, but I really don't notice it and that's the truth.

    So my advice would be to try as much as you can to get on a similar course. Plea

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  • Posted

    smile hi darren, can i just say your not alone, i know it feels like it sometimes- the medical profession has let you down big time! i think all they can honestly do is an op. i'm waiting for one at the moment, i've been in agony for over a year :x , not listerned to, told it was all in my head etc.... but i had a car accident and had an mri (1st one) which showed disc damage from c2-c7, a prolapsed disc at c7 and nerve damage at c6 & c7 inpinging c8, so i truely know what you are going through, and i'm so sorry i can't help you. all i do is to lay down when it gets too painful it helps it a little smile . also why don't you apply for disability living allowance, its to help people to get around and with any care they need- its worth applying. also change your gp if your not happy, i also done this i have a gp that actually listerns to me. i was put on anti-depessants too (because i was depressed i was feeling so much pain, so they said :x ,..........er no i'm bloody depressed cos no-one will listern!!!!!) now i know it wasn't all in my head i'm coping much better, oh just thought :idea: i know it means having the money in the first place but enquire at your hospital if they can give you youre traveling expences back, if you keep your receipt or ticket , they will sometimes give you the money it cost you to get there, but ring and enquire first. oh anyway soz i wasn't any help just thought i'd let you know i believe you, and your'e very lucky to have a loving family to support you when you need them, take care and good luck. moo..................................
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  • Posted

    Hi Darren,

    Sorry it's been so long since I wrote, but I've not been well either. Yes everything about the pain clinic etc I said was true, but now 20 +years later I'm suffering with vertigo that just won't go. I also have the pins and needles and my fingers are going numb when I lie down, but in comparrison to what you are going through this is nothing. I'm getting quite depressed though because I can't work, I've been off sick for almost 2 months now and I'm lucky that my employers, who I've only been with for 18 months, have been so understanding. At the moment I have this fear that I'll never work again.

    My GP referred me to the ENT dept and I'm waiting for an appointment, but I've also asked to be referred to a vascular specialist as I'm sure it's my neck i.e. the blood supply and not a problem with my ears. I really want to get back to work desperately.

    I was going to say the same as 'Moo' above. You should be entitled to the higher rate mobility component of DLA and it sounds like you should be getting the care component too. Have you applied?

    Also have you thought of applying for Incapacity benefit yet?

    The DLA is not means tested so it doesn't matter how much income you have. I think the Incapacity benefit depends on your contributions. The main thing is that you are able to get to pain clinic, although an hours journey sounds awful and stressful. They will really help though. I know it's diffiult to beleive that managing pain is the answer, but it doesn't mean that the pain will be at the same level, the pain will reduce considerably if you can get on some kind of pain management program. And taking a combination of medication also helps.

    You may be able to stay near to, or at the place where the pain management course is held. You may be entitled to some help if there is any cost involved. In Liverpool, nowdays, they have a Patient Hospital where people on the course can stay. Maybe they have something like this near you?

    If this is not possible for you, then never give up hope. Keep pushing for help. No one these days should have to suffer the way you are. Let me know how you get on

    Catherine

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  • Posted

    Hi Darren,

    Do you know I feel physically sick when I think of the way you've been treated.

    I remember exactly what it was like to live day in and day out in severe pain without having any relief. I bet not one of these so called doctors of yours know what it's like.

    Don't get me wrong. I still suffer now, but I can get through the day often without noticing the pain because of what I learned on the pain management course. And now you don't even have that as an option!

    I decided to read the other people's experiences and I am horrified by how many people there are who suffer with this condition and no one seems to care or believe them.

    In this day and age there's no excuse for living in severe pain. And so WHAT! about the scan. I've never had one and my x-rays were normal. My GP diagnosed my condition by my symptoms. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I had a scan and it came back normal. I believe this condition is diagnosed by symptoms mainly.

    Do they think ANYONE wants to live in pain? Do they really think ANYONE would make it up? or that this amount of pain can be just psychological?

    Sure, maybe some minor aches and pains an be caused through anxiety, but not the sort of pain that debilitates people and rules their lives.

    I bet if these doctors had to suffer for one day what you and I and other people have to go through they would change their tune.

    Well you can't just put up with it. There's got to be some other way. I know it's a difficult condition to improve by medication. Anyone who's suffered with it will probably agree to that, but you need something to take the edge of at least while you wait for another solution.

    I think you should now maybe e-mail your MP. I have a daughter with special needs and when I was desperate for help I e-mailed mine twice and recieved quick reponses in writing from the House of Commons. The MP was helpful believe it or not.

    It might be worth a try and at least you'd be doing something.

    By the way why not just fill in the forms for DLA. They can only turn you down. There's no harm in trying, although the forms are long. Just make sure you include all your problems.

    As you can see I'm very upset by what you have had to put up with I just hope and pray that you get the support and help you need soon.

    Catherine

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  • Posted

    :shock: hi darren, hey good luck tomorrow, its about time...i say... smile

    i go up kings in london on 23rd, so we'll both find out eh?!?! lol

    i do hope you get the answers you need, let us know how you get on ok

    thinking of ya, take care

    mandy :goodluck:

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