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Confused and need some help please

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello Everyone,
First time on here and I'm from the UK, hope thats OK!

Developed neck pain and migraines over a year ago, had acupuncture and pain meds. The last 8 weeks, neck pain dreadful, arm pain, particularly in the forearm, both shoulders. Blinding headaches over top of head. Seem to drop lots of things when using left hand. Can't drive as I can't look right easily.

Had MRI and have the pictures but no written report. Neurosurgeon says bulging at C5 and C6, nerve inpingement on left side (where the pain is) Says no surgery, but ordered an EMG??
Pain is just awful and nags the whole time, little sleep, on Gabapentin (usually used for epileptics, which I am not, but it supposed to block the pain message tot he brain) and DF118 Dihydrocodeine opiate at night.

Will it last forever? I can't work as I can't sit at PC for long, can't drive, and feel useless. I keep dropping off to sleep as feel permanently tired !

What do I do now ?? All comments welcome please


  • Welcome SCULLY~love the screen name!

    Well-first off,there are many others here from the UK,and elsewhere,and yep-that's ok-the more the merrier.I'm from the US myself(North Carolina).

    I'm sorry to hear about your pain,but you are not alone-we are all in pain around here.Some more than others.Anything I say is only my opinion,but I doubt if that pain in your neck will remain as intense as it is now with proper treatment.Finding the proper treatment though,that will be the key.

    I had really bad pain from my neck into my shoulder,and it lasted about 7-8 weeks before it started to subside.I still have pain,but is controlled with conservative measures, ie;pain meds,TENs unit,heat(moist).Tried ESI's,but they were ineffective.On the 19th I'll be getting my first TRIGGER POINT INJs.,and have not had those before so I can't say if they will be helpful or not,but I'm hoping!

    Have you ever tried topamax for your migraines? It is not a pain med,but a migraine prevention medication,and I've had a lot less migraines and even headaches since I started taking it in Nov. 07.

    Hopefully someone will come along and post about the Gabapentin,and the EMG,both of which I have no experience.I do take NORCO 10/325 every 4 hrs for pain along with a muscle relaxer (very helpful) which is great because I have terrible muscle spasms.

    Scully~You are not useless,you are simply going through a tough time right now.It may last awhile-or it might be gone quickly(most desireable),but either way,you will find ways to cope with and manage a lifestyle around your pain until you can be rid of it.We all do this every day,and in any way that works best for us.

    Please keep us posted!
  • Thanks Robin.

    Thank you. Scully was a nick name I earned in my sailing world..........although I can't do that either right now !

    So good to hear that I am not alone, BUT, awful to know that so many people are suffering too.....it's so debilitaing.............I miss my sailing, miss working, miss driving...............but I will keep looking forwards to getting sorted.

    I think the EMG is a nerve conuctivity test of some kind. And the Gabapentin is neurotin? Either way I'll try whatever it takes !

  • The EMG is to see if you have nerve damage and if so, it's extent. I've had a couple of them along with nerve velocity testing each time. They can be a bit unnerving (pun intended =)) ) but I didn't think they were bad at all. Gabapentin is the generic name for Neurontin.
  • Welcome to the boards!

    A good few of us are from UK - you are not alone!

    My own issues are lumbar spine but I would say that docs are reluctant to operate unless there is a serious other risk involved and they tend to make you go thro all conservative measures first too.

    Sounds like you have some good medication (may be what is making you tired) and the nerve tests are to see what is going on. Hopefully will give the docs a clearer picture.
    Are you under a Neurologist, Ortho or GP?

    Take care
  • Thank you for your welcome.

    So nice to know I'm not the only Brit !. Although born and raised in Vancouver.

    Dealing with my GP, although getting an appointment is not easy. And a consultant Neuro who is reluctant to correct it.

    I thought the meds may be making me sleepy and forgetful, I wouldn't mind so much if they worked a bit better though. But, as your tag line says, suffering is optional.

    How do you cope? I'm finding I can't drive right now, but that said I don't have the best car for smooth driving. I wonder if I shall be able to sit at my desk for a full day ever again! Seems to make it much worse, even with the correct height, posture etc..

    Fair winds
  • I have the exact same complaints as your first post, except I drop everything I put in my right hand. The headaches at the top of the head, shoulder pain, pain in the forearms....everything. I have had one Epidural Steroid Injection last week that I haven't received any relief from yet. So far, the best thing for pain relief beyond the Hydrocodone and Soma is to take a towel and roll it up, wrap a heating pad around it and lie on it for awhile. I actually sleep on mine most of the night. It seems to help having that "pressing" on my neck.
  • Yes, Gabapentin (or Neurontin) is for nerve pain. What dosage are you taking. It can be increased up to 1800mg a day, I THINK. I know I take 1300mg a day, and my PCP said I could go up more if need be. I don't find it makes me sleepy, but I'm not sure it's doing a whole lot for my nerve pain/muscle spasms either. Lyrica worked better, but I couldn't afford it. EMG is to test for nerve damage. The codeine works well at night, but you might ask to try Tramadol during the day for pain. It's not an opiate. Has your dr recommended any physical therapy? Ice or heat? All of these conservative measures might be able to help, especially with the stiff neck and headaches. Did your symptoms start with an injury, or just natural wear and tear from the aging process? Might make a difference in treatment. As you read the posts on here, you will find most of us would like instant success, and to go back to our normal lives. Unfortunatly, we have to play the hand we are delt. That doesn't mean you are useless! But it does get frustrating at times, doesn't it. Try to be patient, and get through the diagnostic process, and then you will have more information to make the decisions you will need to make to heal the best you can. And welcome! Can you talk a little, I love your accent :))(

  • Hello spinaltap !

    Thank you for your reply, and, I read with interest your rolled up towel. I have just bought an ergonomic pillow that acts in the same way, it has memory foam and is shaped in such a way as to support your neck. It's great and after a couple of nights use, I slept for almost 6 hours without waking with the pain.
    Link is

    I am sure they ship all over the world and not just the uk

    Thought it might help

  • Hello Maggie, and thank you so much for your reply, all your replies in fact. I am so lucky to have stumbled on to this site..........an my Gabapentin, I stumble into lots of things!...lol. I take 300mg 3 times a day, and an extra at night time, so 1200mg per day. It does make me sleepy, forgetful, and a bit staggery at times.

    I am to be refered to a pain management clinic, still waiting for that, and also this EMG so the guys at the Neuro Unit can see what damage there is if any.
    The Gabapentin has kicked in and has dulled the pain, but the stiffness and the left arm being useless is still there of course, I can't feel the fingertips sometimes ! so have to type with one hand.......amazing how one adapts if one has to, yes?

    I had no injury that I can think of, except, some years ago, when sailing across the Atlantic, things were pretty bad and whilst I was winching, I felt a really bad pain in my shoulder and neck..........but I think it's probably just an age thing to be fair. I do miss my sailing though, and was due to sail over the pond agin this month, Cape Verdi to Barbados, had to cancel that obviously.

    Never mind, there are a whole bunch of people on here who have much worse problems than I do, and I really respect that.
    But feel comforted by the fact that I've found this community of really great people.

  • Ahhh Scully,when it comes to pain it's not really fair to measure yours against anothers in that manner.I always see people that are concerned with worrying over their own pain when they think anothers or others may have it much worse.This concerns me because our pain is individual,and we all have to deal with it in our own way regardless of anyone elses being worse/not as bad.It's yours and you are permitted to get angry,frustrated,be afraid,worried,and even grieve for the part of you that you mentioned feels useless.It is a part of accepting who we are 'right now'.I liken it to a person that has gained weight and is trying to lose.If they don't accept themselves and like themselves for who they are,as they are,right now-they may never be able to be healthy and keep that weight off once they do lose it.I truly believe this with a person living with chronic pain.Of course I don't mean liking the pain,or liking the fat,if infact one is trying to lose weight-only liking ourselves.

    I can't even imagine having to give up something like sailing for instance.It's been so long since I've done anything really big or fun,and you can be certain that I will be one of your biggest cheerleaders waiting to hear of your next sailing adventure.My disabilities started many years ago and progressed over the years,but I did not become disabled due to my cervical issues.My neck problems didn't start until 2007,and though I've had many operations-none were spine related.I'm thankful for that.

    Your sailing sounds like something I've only read about in books or seen on TV.I love boating,canoeing,and the ocean in general.NC is a coastal state and we try to get there often,BUT,I've never been sailing,and Michael (my BF) and I have always wanted to go.He's a scuba diver and he taught me to dive,but I'm afraid to go deep diving.I can't even canoe anymore because of my shoulder...it's been dislocated 3 times & is unstable.I could have surgery,but...

    So you see...I'll be anxious to watch your story unfold.How awesome to go sailing 'over the pond'...I love that phrase.BTW~My mothers entire family is from England.Her parents immigrated to the US in 1930 or 31,and though my aunts & uncles were born in England,my mother (their sibling) was born here.I have relatives there,but know nothing of them-my family is pretty stingy sharing information and of course my grandparents are gone.My mother joined them in passing in July of 2008,so it's unlikely I'll ever find anything out.

    Oh~I'm sorry to get off topic.I was having a little fun there thinking of sailing and imagining life 'across the pond.' :-h
  • Hi Robin,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I know I have to accept my pain, and I guess, no, it can't be measured as we all have diffeent thres-holds, and cope differently.

    Don't worry about getting off the topic, it's nice to hear. I'm kind of similar, in as much that I was born in Canada, my Mother is English and when things went awry for her, she returned to the UK, and I came with her. Intended to return but made a life here instead.

    Probably best not to get me started on the sailing thing...lol - I've sailed for years, and gained my 'Ocean Master' ticket. But Ohhh I could tell some stories !!

    Thank you once again for your support and encouragement.
  • Your already outstripping many others in the pain managemet game. I see acceptance as a coping mechanism that comes with beginning to adapt to the new life you find yourself in. It takes real wisdom and a willingness to be truthfull with yourself to take the step.
    It took me awhile to come to where your at, as I learned that acceptance is not a defeat,a giving in. Its adapting in that wonderfully human attribute,tenacity. Adapt and overcome, most people who have had their infirmity come of late, after having had free run over their body for decades find this forced pon them and are resentful of the fact, I was, having had a pretty active and healthy run of 33 years I found ughhh, cant lift, cant run,sit...you fill it in.
    The worst part is the not sleeping, like you said your tired all the time, My thought on this is that the body feels the injury,and like any injury wants to rest so it can get better, but these injurys sometimes arent the kind that heals, or the simple act of compensating for the injury has you working harder for the same amount of work.
    I hope you find relief and wellness soon!
    take care
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

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