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Just been diagnosed having "mild narrowing of discs"

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi there,

My name is Trudi and live in London, England. Back in Jan 2007 I was involved in a road traffic accident and suffered a severe open ankle fracture. As such, I required 10 operations to salvage my lower right limb. Today I am walking pretty okay (with time restrictions) but swim and attend pilates to keep myself fit. To my knowledge there was no trauma to my neck or back at this point.

I awoke one morning after swimming the evening before with a pretty bad stiff neck about 7 weeks ago. That day I had a deep tissue massage which helped the problem. The stiff neck symptoms dissipated after about 4 days. Since this day, I now experience grinding/gravelling noises whenever I move my neck.

This sensation continued for several weeks and I kept experiencing pains in my shoulders (not severe pain) more like I had been punched in the arm and a been left with a dull ache. These symptoms are sporadic in nature currently. I had an x-ray last week at Dulwich Hospital in London and my GP has informed me that there is signs of "mild narrowing of discs". Having researched back pain and osteoarthritis, bearing in mind the location of the discs I am assuming that I may be suffering the early signs of cervical osteoarthritis.

I currently swim three times a week and also do pilates. My GP advised that it was perfectly okay to continue with this type of exercise. My old orthopaedic surgeon has advised that I see a colleague of his who is a Nurosurgeon as I want to try and get the best possible advice of managing this condition.

Having read some of the posts, it appears that many people really struggle with exercise as they are in alot of pain and experience constant muscle spasms. I swim about 3 miles a week and attend a swim fitness training which involves alot of front crawl so I am using my neck pretty often - but turning from the waist. I asked my GP whether he felt this would execerbate the problem - he though it would not.

My job is computer based (I sit at a desk for approximately 8 hours a day) and have intenions of going back to University to do an MSc in human-computer interaction. Yet reading some posts it appears that sitting at a computer for long periods of time aggravates the condition. Can anyone advise of correct positioning, desk chairs or other ergonomic aids that will assist with controlling the strain on the neck, shoulders and arms?

I would be really grateful for advice on how to manage this condition. I have yet to see my GP again for a formal meeting and ascertain my exact condition.


  • Sitting at a desk has done nothing but make my pain worse.
  • Okay, thanks for your feedback.

    What I am interested to know is if you had your workstation assessed by a qualified ergonomist? Did your physiotherapist advise on any specific desk chairs that may relieve strain on the upper part of your body, to take regular breaks, exercises to strenthen the muscles around the neck, shoulders and upper back?

    Any information would be extremely useful.

  • your employer has an obligation to assess your work area on an annual basis at minimum.
    occupational health can also assess and advise in relation to your specific needs.
    having said that it is a proactive process that usually involves the employee insisting upon what they may need. there is lots of guidance available on the department of health web site and also unisons web site as you are in the uk like me.
    best wishes
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. good luck with your future pain control! :D Jenny :)
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