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DDD in Neck: How do you find comfort?

MangoMMango Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have been suffering from neck and shoulder pain in my left side for over a year now, but given the nature of WC just recently was diagnosed with a chronic painful degenerative disk condition. I am waiting to have an MRI approved for some (more) physical evidence and had an EKG that showed a slight abnormality in my ulnar(?) nerve from my elbow to hand in L arm.

Currently I am finding difficulty in maintaining comfort. Although I have acquired a few tricks to put my pain at bay--resting my elbow on a soft surface or using SalonPas patches--I am still finding it quite uncomfortable to go to sleep or sit. Even when I try to fix my posture and sit straight, my head/arm still feel heavy on my neck, and I can not seem to find a way to stay comfortable. For sleeping, I have a generic memory foam pillow with the groove in the center. Although I realize the neck support is beneficial the next day, it is painful on my head/shoulder because of how firm it is, making it difficult to sleep throughout the night. I realize comfort is a personal matter, but I am hoping I can try to learn from others' personal testimonies. :)

Thank you for reading this!


  • Mango,

    In my past my Ulnar was trapped in my right elbow, wrist and palm. They called it a 'triple crush' - assumed due to flying helicopters, and the position my arm and wrist stayed in for thousands of hours. Until I had surgery, I used a soft but rigid splint to keep my elbow nearly straight when I slept. A lot of people "curl" their arms at the elbow when they sleep, and as such, doesn't give the Ulnar a break. It is called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, not to be confused with 'tennis' elbow.

    Also try to continue to reduce how much continued bending or leaning on your elbow as much as you can. Some folks get enough relief that surgery can be averted.

    As for your neck and sleeping. It sounds like you answered your own question. If you feel your pillow is too firm, try getting a softer one that still offers support. Other things that might help is propping yourself up a bit so that your upper body is elevated a bit - I sleep that way, and headaches are reduced, and neck shoulder stiffness is reduced. I hope that helps.

    Welcome to Spine Health!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Mango!
    I suffered with terrible neck pain and muscle spasms from atlantoaxial facet arthritis for a year prior to surgery. In my case, daily neck traction was a life saver for pain relief. In addition, I purchased a special pillow from my chiropractor for people with neck problems. The manufacturer of the pillow is Therapeutica, Inc. It cradles your head when you sleep on your back and has a nice incline for your neck, and had depressions on each side if you are a side sleeper. It is elevated the right height to support my neck during sleep, and I love love love it!
    Hope you find relief, hang in there! I was in a vehicle accident (that was the cause of my neck problems) that was covered under workers comp, and they would never authorize a MRI for my neck or back....they just kept shuffling me to different doctors (one was 4 hours away!) and giving me the run around. Hang in there and stay strong!
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
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