Hello! I work for OSC and have been battling neck and shoulder pain for almost three years. I decided to share my experience in hope that someone else could benefit and find answers. I also would love to start a conversation among folks who might have similar stories about neck pain and disc problems, so that we can compare notes about treatment, what works and what hasn’t, prognosis and actual outcomes.
I have always carried my stress in my shoulders. In fact, when someone would try to rub my shoulders as a kind gesture, it would always hurt instead of feeling good. Back in my twenties, I noticed that I would develop neck pain when I worked for a long time doing data entry at a computer, but that pain quickly went away as soon as I changed my activity.
Fast forward to about 3 years ago, when I was 44 years old. I began noticing pain in my neck, spine, in my shoulder and in the area between. The pain would move around some, but it was almost always a nagging, burning pain, punctuated by bouts of more severe stabbing pain. It started as an occasional problem, but after a business trip where I slept on squishy, non-supportive pillows for five days, it became a constant painful part of my life. Ever since that time, I have been nursing this pain and doing everything that I can to make it go away. My examinations and Xrays only showed mild arthritis in the neck, nothing extreme.
Yet, I hurt all of the time!
I have tried Physical Therapy (hot packs, E-Stim, a TENS unit, traction and exercises), at home exercises (performed every night, religiously) anti-inflammatory, non-narcotic muscle relaxers as well as steroid injections into the painful trigger points in my trapezoid area. I have worn out two heating pads, gotten deep tissue massage and used every type of analgesic rub known to mankind. None of these have ever provided more than passing relief.
A few weeks ago, after trying to sleep with the pain, tossing and turning at night and hoping that the heating pad would somehow “heal” me, I noticed a strange stiffness up the back of my head, which made it very uncomfortable to sleep or turn my head. I waited a few days, hoping it was temporary, but the stiffness and soreness continued and was getting worse. I decided to take action and talk to one of our Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons here at OSC. I told him my symptoms and he referred me immediately for an MRI.
Next time…the results of the MRI!