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Pinched Nerve in Neck...help!

Discussion in 'Pain and Inflammation' started by LucyLouWho, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Has anyone ever had a pinched nerve in your neck where there was abnormal MRI but it wasn't significant? I have a pinched nerve with degeneration of discs but not issue with it causing narrowing in the spinal canal. The ortho doc is saying there should not be need for this much pain.

    Well, the pain specialist says, "Yes, there is." It causes pain in my shoulder, my jaw and into my arm. I am so upset because I am scared. Will this be forever. I have a hard time sleeping.

    An epidural worked during the summer, but only for 2 months. I have to have another one in January. My neck hurts (clearly) and the lack of sleep from it is a drag. So tired.

    When I do sleep, it's great.

    Did anyone have anything like this and then it got better? What helped it to get better? Chiro care can make it worse.
     
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  2. hedgehog

    hedgehog Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Have any of your doctors suggested physical therapy or acupuncture? I don't know if I have what you do, but my symptoms are similar (I have one raised shoulder though), and physical therapy helped, although it didn't cure it. Of course there's the problem of being well enough to go to physical therapy.

    Perhaps you know all these treatments already, but here's what webmd lists for treatments for compressed nerve: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/compressed-nerves#2

    I wonder if ME exacerbates this problem. Sorry you're feeling pain and hope someone knows more.
     
  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    A pinched nerve would be expected to show some disc change on MRI but no spinal canal narrowing. The spinal canal is to do with the cord, not the nerves. So that makes sense. Pain affecting jaw and shoulder is a little unusual and suggests something like the third cervical nerve root. It is more common to get trouble with sixth or seventh but third is possible. Pain from cervical root pinching is persistent and hard to tolerate but in the great majority of cases gets better on its own in the end. I am not convinced that treatments like physio or epidurals are much use. Surgery can be helpful but I used to advise people to avoid it if possible because that high up in the neck is close to really important structures and surgery is not guaranteed to speed up recovery.

    You do not say how long the problem has been going on but 9-18 months is fairly common. To begin with it seems never to get better but after a while it gradually fades. Fortunately most people only ever get one nerve root affected badly like this. My father had this in his neck. I had it in the lower back. It was one of the comments things I used to see as a rheumatologist.

    Clearly I am not in a position to advise on your specific case or to make diagnosis but those would be my general thoughts.
     
  4. zzz

    zzz Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    My father, my sister, and I have had a very similar type of pain for many years. The only difference is that we don't have pain in our jaw. For us, the problem is a pinched nerve between C5 and C6; and for us, there's apparently a genetic component here.
    Probably not, if it gets proper treatment. And as @Jonathan Edwards says, often it gets better on its own. My own condition has fluctuated over many years; sometimes I will go even a couple of years without symptoms. Overall, it's not getting worse with time.
    As @hedgehog noted, the list at WebMD lists some treatments, some of which are anti-inflammatories. For example, it lists NSAIDs, but long term ingestion of NSAIDs con be problematic for many people, and some people (such as myself) cannot tolerate them at all. Fortunately, long ago at the suggestion of a pharmacist I found an OTC topical cream that contains an NSAID similar to aspirin, and which is excellent for pain relief. It's called SportsCreme, and it's available at all major drugstores across the country. Topical NSAIDs are tolerated much better than the oral kind, and I have no problems with it.

    The pinched nerve can cause muscles in nearby areas such as the shoulder to clamp down in an attempt to stabilize the area, but this also has the effect of clamping down on the nerve, which causes further pain. The continuous contraction of the muscle also causes pain. The SportsCreme relieves this pain, which then apparently lets the muscle relax somewhat as well, putting less pressure on the nerve, and thereby undoing the vicious circle - at least for a while. I apply the SportsCreme to the shoulder and the neck where it hurts. The part applied to the neck seems to get to the primary problem, which is where the nerve is inflamed due to compression where it exits the spinal column. The pain down the arm and in the jaw seems to be referred pain, so it doesn't help to apply the SportsCreme there. But that pain tends to go away when the main nerve inflammation is calmed.

    Relief tends to last at least a few hours, and sometimes much longer. The SportsCreme can be applied every few hours.

    Massaging the shoulder muscle can often help, especially when combined with the SportsCreme.

    If this doesn't help enough for you, you might want to talk to your pain specialist about a short course of oral steroids, such as prednisone, until your symptoms are under control. This is another treatment listed on WebMD, and it's less drastic than an epidural.

    Neck problems can also be exacerbated by sleeping on a pillow that causes extra pressure to be put on the nerve. If you find your neck hurts more in the morning, you might want to try a different pillow, or sleeping in a different position.
    This makes sense. If the problem is caused by a degenerated disk, then I don't see how this can be cured by chiropractic, and chiropractic manipulation would seem likely just to irritate the nerve more, causing further inflammation and pain.

    Like @Jonathan Edwards, I cannot say exactly what your problem is or what will definitely help; I am merely relaying what worked for me in a situation that sounds very similar.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017
  5. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hi and thank you. It started in 2015 after I had my wrist operated on. I went to PT then and it did help. It went away or wasn't an issue until last year when I fell in the tub. I fell and actually injured my lower back, but my neck felt it also. I have a herniated disc in my lower back.

    I fell really hard back in August of this year and my neck was absolutely killing me. That's when everything went downhill.

    I went to a different physical therapy last year that worked me to death and made me worse. My Sjogrens went berserk. Totally berserk. So, I stopped going.

    I think I may try PT again at the place I used to go that put hot packs on me and did massage. That really helped me.

    I had herniated discs in my neck in 2015 and interestingly enough, they went back into place, but my neck hurts now more than then!
     
  6. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yes, I think so. I think the combination of lack of thyroid, hormonal shifts and lack of sleep and stress makes it so much worse. Ever since I went into meno...I would call it perimeno, but I now go for months with no period, it has gotten much worse. When I was getting my period regularly, I didn't have this pain to this extent.
     
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  7. MErmaid

    MErmaid Guest

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  8. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    My best friend had them for her migraines and they gave them in her neck as well and the botox caused awful freezing up of muscles. She has been in the ER non stop. I am actually worried, really concerned as her current migraine has been over 40 days now and she is a professor.

    So, I would never do them. I had botox in my forehead and developed a massive infection. Botox stimulates the T1/T2 part of the immune system and with my CVID, I can't do that. Sucks, but may be a good thing.
     
  9. MErmaid

    MErmaid Guest

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    I received injections every 6 months, for over 5 years. I never had any issues. I love the stuff! I agree we all react differently, so some people use Dysport instead.

    Hope you can get relief soon.
     
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  10. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hey Mermaid, was this for neck or migraines? That is good to hear! I will mention it to my pain doc.
     
  11. erin

    erin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I had this more than once over the years. My worst attack was December 2015. I had an epidural and other injections of pain killers. They helped, though it was a long recovery. After initial unbearable pain, that you can not even just be, exist as a human being! It went away slowly but some pain restricting movement that stayed for 2 months. Then, that gone away but I still feel that there's a constant tension in the neck area.

    Plenty rest, sleep, pain killing medicines (have allergies and GI problems with majority of them), epidural/ corticosteroid injection, keeping the neck worm and in a relaxed position as much as possible, then later in summer sun bathing, regular B12 injections, CBD oil; orally and salve applied to the area, arnica - all these helped with me. However it was very difficult to cope, serious agony. My last attack was not as bad as 2015, it was in last September. I went for the epidural within hours the pain started. Epidural lasted 2 months this time but this time pain was milder somehow.

    Get well wishes @LucyLouWho, pinched nerve on the neck is very debilitating. It does go away but you need to be careful, stress, cold and chills on the neck, carrying heavy things, doing a lot of physical stuff, especially neck down manual work, i.e. making things, crafts etc, looking at a screen etc bad for this condition.

    Take care.
     
  12. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think I mentioned this but last Friday I threw out my back. I can barely function. Then on Monday I had an epidural in my neck. Now I can't sleep on top of it. I am so sick and I can't get my lower back into a better place. My lower back now is the main issue. This is unreal.

    I have no idea how to deal with this. I also can't stand opiates. Most of them give me migraines. I am going to seek out another orthopedic doctor, but last year they had my do PT for 6 months which made me worse.

    The cortisone from the epidural is making me want to eat everything in sight and also my heart is flying. Like flying. I hope things settle down. The injection last time was great but this time I am having so many side effects.

    I need to go get that Sportscreme @zzz. I have not been able to get out. I keep forgetting whether to use ice or heat. I think with a recent injury it's ice.

    Right now I have a scarf around my neck, etc.
     
  13. MErmaid

    MErmaid Guest

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    Migraines would be an understatement, since my vision was severely impacted. TMJ was so bad, I could not open up my mouth to eat. I can tolerate pain, but I can’t tolerate a loss of clear vision, nor an inability to eat solid food. The pain kept me awake, as I couldn’t sleep thru the night. I opted for Botox, rather than opioid patches, which was the best decision for me.

    A friend of mine got Botox for neck pain, which she said helped her immensely. She had been rear ended, by a vehicle traveling at freeway speeds, while sitting in the back seat.
     
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  14. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Uh...I am so sorry. That's awful. I didn't realize that migraines/neck issues could do that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  15. erin

    erin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  16. LucyLouWho

    LucyLouWho Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    So, I am seeking out an orthopedic surgeon to really check me out as the disc protrusion in my back is causing such pain down my leg and this has been going on for a year. Originally they thought it was an SI joint issue, failing to ever do an MRI. My ortho that I see now did an MRI and both the neck and back came back with something.

    My leg from lower back is killing me. Pins and needles in feet and then now the neck. This is too much and I am tired of epidurals and all things medicine being thrown at me. My mood since the epidural is pure shit and I can't sleep or stop eating. Plus, I still have pain.

    ENOUGH. I am looking up surgery options on youtube. Don't want to, but this has been a year. 6 months of PT with no relief and epidurals. It's unreal how it's both my neck and lower back. Who has this effed up luck?

    If surgery is recommended, I will have to move first as I live up a 3 floor walk up.
     

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