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Does this sound like cervical arthritis?

Hi people

I am a 49 year old male who was diagnosed with cervical arthritis with a bone spur at the C-4 and C-5 level about 4 years ago. I was also in an automobile accident at about this same time. I've also had Tourette's Syndrome since I was a child and have frequent (and sometimes violent) head/neck tics (which probably doesn't help matters).

Anyway, I don't know if these are "flare-ups" or if they even have anything to do with arthritis which is why I am posting here today - to see if anyone else can relate to these symptoms.

When I get these flare-ups (if that's what they are). I tend to get random aches and pains in various parts of my body (sometimes they are debilitating) . A few years ago the pain was in the back of my neck with lots of pain, soreness, inflammation and crunching sounds when I'd turn my head. After a period of feeling pretty good, I had another bout but this time the pain was in my upper back (on the right side) and I ended up in the ER. Sometimes after being in a certain postion for too long, if I suddenly turn my head, I can feel/hear a clicking sound and then the pain shoots through my neck.

After another period of feeling good and trying to get on with life, I now find myself with yet another bout of this which has lasted for 4-5 days so far. It started with pain in the back of my head near the base of my skull (on the right side where one of the occipital nerves are located). This pain would get worse when I moved my head. The pain eventually spread down the back/right side of my neck all the way into my right shoulder blade and sometimes it affects both arms. Sometimes the pain crosses over into the front of my neck/throat where I get little aches and other sensations. Soemtimes it feels like my right ear is starting to ache or I get an "icy-hot" feeling that occurs in my neck, shoulders or upper-back. Other times I become sensitive to the cold. I'm guessing that this is all a combination of symptoms, referred pain and/or inflammation(?).

Anyway, I've had all kinds of tests, seen lots of different specialists, etc, and almost everything always seems to come back "normal". I've been using Ben-Gay for the pain lately but that's about it.

Could someone please shed some light on this and also tell me if you can relate to any (or all) of this and perhaps share your own experience a little bit?. It's really got me freaked out and I just don't know what to do anymore.

Thanks so much, BlueJay


  • Peter BPPeter B Posts: 511
    edited 10/24/2012 - 2:12 PM
    Call it arthritis, DDD or whatever, it is all much the same-wear and tear on the neck joints.
    Happens to everyone eventually.
    What you do though can cause aggravated symptoms. You stop doing those things and it settles down.
    Feeling good again, you resume, and it all comes back.
    You have to identify the problem activities, and either stop them or regulate them.
    PC/ laptop use, sweeping, raking-any such repetitive arm movements, and poor neck posture.
    Observe how you hold your neck, and what arm movements you do repetitively, and you should be able to spot the problem.

    See a physio, and get a sports/ remedial massage. do both regularly.
    Avoid NSAIDS. You should be able to do a lot yourself to ease the pains, as it's probably what you are doing that causes them.
    I've had to stop a lot of things, and do only small activities between rests now. Pacing is important.

    For me, arm movements irritate my neck nerves. Stiff neck, pain in arms and shoulders, sharp pains near shoulder blades.
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