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Chronic neck pain- GP out of ideas- any advice?

(14 Posts)
debka Mon 29-Aug-11 07:22:08

It's my DH- he gets terrible neckache which leads to cluster migraines. They've dealt with the migraines by putting him on beta blockers which seem to work, but they cannot find the cause of the neck pain. He's had an x-ray, a CT scan and an MRI, none of which were conclusive. He takes ibuprofen and co-codamol at least once every day and it really affects his quality of life now. He's to go back to the GP to discuss Pain Management, but I was wondering if anyone had any practical ideas of how he might be able to reduce the pain.

Thank you smile

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Mon 29-Aug-11 07:58:54

I would ask for a referral to a pain clinic. Hopefully there will be something he hasn't tried or will get a proper diagnosis.
good luck.

vickylou2004 Mon 29-Aug-11 07:58:57

What about blood tests for inflammation?

Ben10WasTheSpawnNowWeLoveLego Mon 29-Aug-11 08:02:57

Does he get any pain in the collar bone area, shoulder or down the arm or in the hand? I have a condition that is notoriously difficult to diagnose with standard imaging so just interested.........

PerryCombover Mon 29-Aug-11 08:02:58

Sometimes a physio appointment is really useful. It may have something to do with how he sits moves or exercises and they can really help assess and help

TheProvincialLady Mon 29-Aug-11 08:03:56

See an osteopath ASAP. I suffered for months with face and neck pain which caused headaches, until I tried an osteopath. He diagnosed a misaligned jaw and started work on it - 2 weeks later I felt much better and 3 months later I was more or less cured (just have to go every year or so when it starts to slip out of alignment again). GP was useless and I even tried the dentist who gave me a mouth shield to wear at night. I would definitely try an osteopath before doing anything else.

nightcat Mon 29-Aug-11 15:36:47

another vote for osteopath from me smile to kick start things, you need more than pain management

Also, you yourself could inspect him whether he is somewhere misaligned, let him stand in front of you and see if the shoulders are at the same height/level. I was shocked when osteopath pointed out to me that I was v lopsided in my shoulders and hadn't even noticed myself blush

I only had a couple of sessions but then took it onto myself to consciously change the position and even started sleeping differently (diff side/pillow under the lower side) to realign. At first it was agonisingly painful, but after a while it really made a diff and what I had suffered for abour 4 years and had thought was going to stay with me forever (right down to the point of preventing me from desk-work) - it had now gone away.

It can be done.

debka Mon 29-Aug-11 20:44:43

Thanks everyone for your advice. We will look into an osteopath I think.

ben10, no pain in hands etc so he says.

wicketkeeper Mon 29-Aug-11 22:58:28

Never give up. Try everything. Something will work. It might be as simple as finding the right pillow (helped my DH with chronic headaches), or as complicated as finding the right consultant to perform the right operation. But try everything. Osteopath, chiropractor, physiotherapist, Pilates (this helped me enormously with chronic neck pain following whiplash), yoga, massage, acupuncture (this helped a friend of mine with chronic back pain that prevented him from working and for which he'd had three operations). Keep trying.

Gincognito Mon 29-Aug-11 23:01:59

TENS machine - my dad uses this for chronic neck pain.

Also check out Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, or google mindfulness for chronic pain.

TheDreamWeaver Mon 29-Aug-11 23:38:39

Could it be neuralgia? Friend suffered for a long long time before diagnosis.

emeraldgirl1 Tue 30-Aug-11 08:04:40

I second everyone who has said physio/osteopath. (just make v sure, especially with osteopath, that you find a reputable one). I had exactly the same problem as your poor DH, awful headaches (though thank god not cluster headaches which sound dreadful) for months, endless investigations (CT, MRI etc) all of which were v scary. I was put on beta blockers which not only did not help (dont know if they can have any effect if the cause is biomechanical, can they?) but also made me feel like I was walking around in a fog... then a musician friend recommended an osteopath she and her musician pals use, I think they get a lot of muscle pain from practicing etc, and within ONE treatment my headaches reduced by 75%. I still go for an occasional massage but I have found the most important thing to keep the headaches away is NOT to use a laptop (don't know if your DH uses one for work much at all?) Since getting a proper computer and a proper desk chair (cost a small fortune but worth every penny) I have kept headaches and neck ache totally at bay for months.

Are you in the London area OP? If so I can give you the name of the osteopath I used.

debka Tue 30-Aug-11 11:21:05

Thanks emerald but we're on the south coast, bit far away from London unfortunately. Sounds like an osteopath is the way to go- does anyone know if there is a website or something where I can find a good one?

lostmymind Tue 30-Aug-11 13:14:06

Has he seen a Neurologist? Can he think of any underlying cause for this pain - previous injury/whiplash/fall etc? When you say inconclusive, who reviewed them? Another option is to see a rheumatologist.
Pain Clinic through referral may be better than pain management by the GP alone. Osteo or Physio a good idea, traction for neck-related pain might help too, be very careful that osteo is well-versed in dealing with neck pain.

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