Friday, March 09, 2012

pain in the neck

i do not remember when it started. it was unremarkable. it happens often enough: you move wrong and something catches in your neck and for a few days you can't turn your head all the way, and maybe your shoulder hurts but after a few days it gets worked out.

over years i learned that it will come out in a big fat hurry if i have a ski or biking crash, but also (and more helpfully) i have learned that a dose of muscle relaxants at bedtime on that first night usually sorts the whole thing out and no harm done.

because this i'm prone to muscle spasms in my neck and in my back and because one night of muscle relaxants usually sorts it out, i have script written for them.  i'm written for one a day, but when things are good 30 last me three or four months.

in a rough ski or bike season or when i'm sleeping in my car i might take one every three or four days or sometimes two nights in a row. a beer or two would probably do the same for me, but i don't drink.

so all i remember about when this started was that it was two sundays ago, and i remember that it had been going on for more than a day or two and i heard somebody two pews back complaining of exactly the same thing.

so it's around three weeks now. for sure this spasm has pinched something in my neck because i have pain and swelling and numbness all the way down my left arm and back into my shoulderblade and ribcage.

there isn't a comfortable position to sit or stand in, but the worst of it is when i'm lying down, partly because i do not have a complete rotator cuff in either shoulder. i have no huge deficiencies, no gigantic tears ro missing bits, but just enough so that i don't have full support of my shoulders, so lying down is a challenge.

i found a position in which the pain passed relatively quickly, but it only aggravates my reflux so that's unpleasant.

i know from the number of podcasts i am listening to each night that it takes on average and hour an a half for the pain to subside enough to sleep. it's an interesting meditative exercise. i know that the positional change alone is hard, and i have taken to lying down for short bursts during the day just to get used to it. i also know that while i am moving there is less pain, but when i am still the throbbing, pounding, aching starts and i have an interval of subsuming pain.

yoga helps. the exercises from physical therapy help. i've taken three of the muscle relaxants, but i don't like to take too many in case there's something worse around the corner.

but i needed a refill.

and i called my doctor's office and left my message on the refill line.

they called me back a day or two later with some questions. then they called back a couple hours later.  and again about an hour later, to tell me i need to come in for an office visit to get my refill.

ok, fine.

their first available opening is may 5.


1 comment:

Dr. Jane said...

Neck pain is trying, to say the least. I wouldn't let numbness, and particularly not weakness, go for too long because that can be a sign that something is impinging the nerve. Your friend the doc thinks 5 weeks is to long to wait for an evaluation if there is numbness. If it's mostly painful and infrequently numb, do you have any friends who are massage therapists? A good massage therapist, like a good physical therapist, can work miracles!


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