CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Friday, 30 October 2009

A right royal pain in the neck

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One of the many, many reasons I had to give up driving a few years ago was the pain and loss of movement in my neck (this was also noted and confirmed by my Rheumatologist.) For one thing, I could no longer look over my shoulder for merging into traffic. Secondly, if I tried to do so, the pain and spasms were too much to bear and could easily have caused me to lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident.

This is something that's been affecting me, to some degree, for years, since I suffered a whiplash injury in a head-on collision in the 80s (I was only a passenger), but like all my other symptoms has grown with the fibromyalgia and, has worsened several-fold since I've been forced to put up with conditions in the UK. For a while this year, I had it under some control, but coinciding roughly with the onset of autumn this month, the pain came back again with a vengeance.

Apart from the restricted movement and the pain - movement itself is painful - the worst of it is a horrible bone-on-bone grinding noise in my cervical vertebra whenever I move my head. 

What started it off again was something so seemingly innocuous too: I went to the monthly self-help meeting of our local pain group (ironically). Previously, we've sat around a circular table, so one can see and interact with most of the people quite easily. This time, a long rectangular arrangement had been set out using two tables and so, to talk to people to my left and right, required a good degree of movement. I was only there for an hour or so and, I was careful to move my whole torso and not just my neck as often as I could, but the damage was done.

imageThere was about a week or so before my next outing (this time to the gynaecologist), so I set to work to try to relieve it as best I could. I have special neck pillows, a TENS machine (which I'll be laying off for a while), specific exercises I learned at pilates class, relaxation techniques and a Neck Warmer Wrap Lavender Fleece Wheat Bag Heat Pack. (Which is great, but only affords temporary relief.)

The pain had just subsided enough to get below the category of *excruciating* the day before I was due to go out again and, taking the bus rather than walk the mile + to the station, the second the bus moved, I heard the "crack" in my neck and was in agony again. A week later I had to go back to the same hospital (same floor too and no, they couldn't do it on the same day) and the day before, I'd merely leaned on the kitchen work surface (because I was having trouble standing unaided) and looked up everso slightly. Bang, crack, agony in my neck once more, not helped by outing. Now the pain seems to have taken up (probably winter) residence.

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