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Help! Need tips/tricks for dealing with this pain.

I will try to make a long story short here! My name is Kailey, I'm 23 years old and I have been dealing with chronic back pain due to a herniated disk at L5-S1 (and DDD) for 10 years now. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, I'm now starting to have issues with my neck. Two years ago a chiropractor took X-rays of me (he wanted to help with my back, but took X-rays of my neck too) and showed me that my neck had a slight forward curve to it. It wasn't causing me any pain so I didn't let him do anything for it as he wasn't covered under my insurance.

Cut to about 6 months ago I started feeling some mild pain in my neck, and tingling/numbness in my left arm. It didn't last for more than a day or two so I didn't do anything about it. It's been going on like that for months now, a day or two of pain and then I'll be fine. Well, the past month or so the pain has been more frequent, and more severe. Going into both arms and hands, more so on the left than right. And the past week in particular has been excruciating. The only thing that relieves the pain in my back is laying down, but it hurts my neck so much. So needless to say, I'm a little lost and oh so frustrated.

Here's my dilemma: I am currently in Chicago but moving back to NC in a week because my husband is coming home soon from his deployment to Afghanistan. With his homecoming quickly approaching, there is so much to do to prepare and I don't have time to get in to see a doctor for at least a few weeks. Not to mention with military insurance I'm going to need to be referred to a pain clinic or orthopedist before I can get any treatment, so that adds at least another week for that to get approved. I know all these tips and tricks for relieving my back pain but I am completely clueless as to what to do with my neck until I can see a doctor. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
23 years old, female, back problems began at age 13.

Herniated disc at L5-S1. Microdiscectomy in '05, fusion in '07. No relief found other than the daily tramadol.

New: neck pain with radiating tingling/pain down both arms into hands.


  • One thing that works is heat for me. It will only be a temporary fix though. Have you tried taking anti-inflammatories? You should eventually go and see a spine specialist to get an MRI soon. Have you been to your primary care doctor, so that he/she can prescribe something to get you through until you can see a specialist. Sorry I can't be more help!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • narcimetamorphonnarcimetamorpho Posts: 16
    edited 04/22/2013 - 7:32 AM
    I have a topical antiinflammatory, voltaren, that I was prescribed for my back as I can't take oral ones. So I've been bathing in that haha. But I'm not sure if its helping. I have wonky military insurance so I have to wait another week before my request for a new doctor goes through, but it's generally only naval officers who work as nurse practitioners there so I have to get an outside referral before I can get an MRI approved. Bit of a headache there! Thankfully I have plenty of tramadol and narco to get me through, I don't know what I would do otherwise. I will try throwing a heating pad into the mix though, thank you!
    23 years old, female, back problems began at age 13.

    Herniated disc at L5-S1. Microdiscectomy in '05, fusion in '07. No relief found other than the daily tramadol.

    New: neck pain with radiating tingling/pain down both arms into hands.
  • Norco*
    23 years old, female, back problems began at age 13.

    Herniated disc at L5-S1. Microdiscectomy in '05, fusion in '07. No relief found other than the daily tramadol.

    New: neck pain with radiating tingling/pain down both arms into hands.
  • I have found ice is better than heat (personally). Maybe you should try that. I actually HATE being cold, but still it does help relief my spine pain. I do NOT have neck issues, so I can not really offer any advice there. I am hoping you can get scheduled to see an ortho (specifcally a spine one, not one that does hips and rotator cuffs) soon. Try working on making that happen tomorrow. The one small piece of advice I can give is I have had lots of success with taking tylenol PM and Melatonin together at night. This has allowed me to go to sleep even when I'm in mild to moderate pain and the melatonin helps to keep me asleep. Both of these are obviously over the counter and relatively safe, though PLEASE be sure to read the bottles on both so as to be sure no other current meds or previous medical history could cause a problem. Perhaps even call your PCP and run it by the nurse. Before I leave I'd like to THANK YOU for the service YOU do for our country. I know our millitary couldn't do it without their spouses and family. You all make a huge sacrifice for us. I look at my two beautiful children and I am so grateful for our millitary. Welcome to our forum!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • StormSStorm Posts: 26
    edited 04/29/2013 - 10:54 PM
    when you have bad nerve pain almost nothing kills the pain, voltaren (diclofenac) is good, ice is good for the spine (in my case) but to relax the muscles use heat. sleeping was the biggest problem for me too, nothing I could do about that, sometimes the pain got so bad I could hardly move anymore. sleeping upright and maybe use a collar could help?....hope it gets better for you. Its difficult for you right now but don't do to much it only makes things worse !!
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