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Chronic pain

Wits end with dh and chronic neck pain/headaches

55 replies

ForeverbyJudyBlume · 01/11/2021 09:51

Dh has always suffered from neck pain and headaches - when he's having an attack life is miserable for him and everyone around in.

Since the beginning of this term the attacks seem to be more or less non-stop. It is impacting us a family horribly, he is always in a filthy mood and biting the kids' heads off, we can rarely do anything as a family - for example twice we've been going round to friends' houses and I've had to go alone. On holiday, it is a given that he will have neck pain for the first two days and lie in bed moaning. He is awake half the night groaning and thrashing about, which keeps me awake too. Last night about 5am I started crying saying I couldn't cope with being so worried about him all the time and I get it in the neck as being unsupportive.

Over the years he's tried acupuncture/chiropractors/osteopaths/pilates/yoga/swimming. He's had an MRI - zilch. He's adamant none of them work or work for long. He sees a massage guy regularly who helps a bit but saw him this Saturday and it seemed to have no effect. I've made an appointment with the GP for this week but don't hold out much hope. I think he needs to see a therapist and a lot of this is based on childhood trauma and a total inability to deal with stress, he mutters that yes he will but then when I press him on it he yells at me to stop nagging him.

I am at the end of my tether with exhaustion and anxiety. I love dh but if it carries on this way I am going to have to leave to save myself and the dc. Any advice on where to take this would be welcome

OP posts:

MedusasBadHairDay · 01/11/2021 10:09

If it's neck pain causing it I'd have thought a physio was the best bet, it's probably related to posture.

I struggle with it as a result of my hypermobility, and find that it's worse if I'm sat at a desk and end up slouched forward rather than sat upright.


Bagelsandbrie · 01/11/2021 10:12

He needs to see the Gp and get some proper pain relief if nothing else. What pain killers has he tried so far? I have severe joint pain due to lupus and I have Tramadol and high dose Cocodamol 30/500 (I don’t take both at the same time, I take the Cocodamol during the day and the Tramadol at night) and find it helps me to have a reasonable quality of life. I agree he also needs physiotherapy.


Greenmarmalade · 01/11/2021 10:13

I think stress makes my neck pain much worse. Could it be this?


Whinginadeville · 01/11/2021 10:17

Sadly this is his problem stop offering solutions and repeat that the impact on you and the dc is too great he either sorts it or the marriage is over. I'm sorry he's in pain but there are solutions he needs to find one. The price you are paying is too great his suffering does not give him a monopoly on suffering.


ForeverbyJudyBlume · 01/11/2021 10:19

He takes cocodamol but is very reluctant to touch painkillers in case he ends up addicted (he does take them quite a lot though)

Stress is definitely a part - which is why he needs therapy. He had a pretty grim childhood.

Physio - I think he's had in the past with not huge success but he is hypermobile and that plays a part too.

I just feel right now this will go on forever unless he proactively finds a solution and it is destroying his life and his family's by extension

OP posts:

ClaireandTed · 01/11/2021 10:49

Get him to ask for pain management therapy. If he's worried about other forms of therapy this may be a good 'way in' for him. I have similar issues, and was so sceptical about it but it helped SO much. We had to do it online due to COVID but it was fine. I've since been diagnosed with chronic regional pain syndrome. Definitely exacerbated by stress. The key is to pace himself and not push himself during the rare moments he is feeling better, but to establish a base line of very small activity that he can manage each day.

The therapist gave me many other strategies to deal with stress and we did talk about the anxiety that the condition caused. I too have issues from the past but she didn't ask about that at all, she focused on practical strategies to deal with anxiety in general which really helped.

Also her confirmation that it was likely not an ongoing injury but a past injury that caused the chronic regional pain syndrome really made me feel better for some reason.

So - definitely ask the GP to be referred for pain management counselling.


ClaireandTed · 01/11/2021 10:52

PS I know it must be so hard for you to cope with. I do feel for him so much though as the constant pain causes so much sadness and also fear that it will never go away.

For me, it is much better than it used to be, although still 'there', and I still definitely have flare ups which can be agony, but they are fewer and I feel more positive about coping with it overall. I do see a wonderful osteopath who is very gentle so it may be worth asking around for another one to try.


ClaireandTed · 01/11/2021 10:55

Also - all the stuff here is SO helpful. Definitely take a look at all the resources. There is stuff from medical professionals but also people who suffer.


Jurassicparkinajug · 01/11/2021 11:03

Many people take painkillers without becoming addicted. He's already taking codeine which is addictive and he is OK with that. The GP can refer him to the chronic pain team but there's a waiting list. In the meantime he should try some different pain relief. GPs will start with low doses of opiates or antiinflammatories then will increase as needed. They won't just stick him on a really high doses of oxycodone (like what happened in america).
Being in pain is miserable but it doesn't give him the right to take it out on his family. I've had long covid for a year and I'm very aware that I don't want to bring my husband down. It seems rather selfish. Is he depressed too? Depression makes pain worse. Hopefully his GP will help.


Ozanj · 01/11/2021 11:06

He needs to move more and make time for exercise. Non specific Neck and shoulder pain responds really well to physio led exercise but he has to be serious about making it work.


Sundancerintherain · 01/11/2021 11:08

Another chronic pain longtimer here. Apart from the cocodamol is he on anything else ? Amitriptyline for night time ( low dose) changed my life as I wasnt waking up every morning in pain.
As an aside chronic pain is exhausting, during a bad flare up I get as fed up of listening to myself complain as much as everyone else must do.


Yusanaim · 01/11/2021 11:13

You could read the Dr Sarno books, Healing Back Pain and the Mindbody Prescription. He probably wont' like it as it links the health issue with psychological problems but might be worth a try for you if not for him.


ForeverbyJudyBlume · 01/11/2021 11:14

He takes paracetamol and ibuprofen intermittently. He was excited wen I recently got a prescription of Naproxen for shingles (brought on by stress at his condition no doubt!) and had a couple of those

Pain management therapy sounds like a good idea - I just know waiting lists will be SO long. If it's available privately I'd pay just to speed this up.

Exercise - he used to swim and is looking into joining a pool again. He walks the dog and does some weights. I still feel stress is at the heart of it all - he had NO attacks during lockdown (well, one in week one or two when he was convinced he was going to to die) and I think it was because life was so much more gently paced.

Really appreciate all this

OP posts:

curlyLJ · 01/11/2021 11:14

Get him to download an app called Curable. It has been life-changing for me as a long-term chronic neck, back pain sufferer, it has helped me to entirely reframe the pain and (mostly) get rid of it and more importantly, live without the fear of it.


Yusanaim · 01/11/2021 11:14

Could there be something he is not facing from his past?


ForeverbyJudyBlume · 01/11/2021 11:15


You could read the Dr Sarno books, Healing Back Pain and the Mindbody Prescription. He probably wont' like it as it links the health issue with psychological problems but might be worth a try for you if not for him.

I think that's the issue - I can read or research as much as I like but I'm told I'm nagging and being unsupportive so I'm disinclined to do so now
OP posts:

curlyLJ · 01/11/2021 11:15


You could read the Dr Sarno books, Healing Back Pain and the Mindbody Prescription. He probably wont' like it as it links the health issue with psychological problems but might be worth a try for you if not for him.

Those books also helped in my recovery massively.

ForeverbyJudyBlume · 01/11/2021 11:16


Could there be something he is not facing from his past?

Yes, undoubtedly being sent to boarding school at 10 years old

Plus an angry (though loving) father, who now smugly says he's mellowed but sounds like he was v scary when they were growing up

That's why I am sure he needs therapy but he either says yes, yes and does nothing about it or yells at me for nagging :(
OP posts:

ClaireandTed · 01/11/2021 11:18

Get on the list for the pain management therapy, I think I waited about eleven months and that was during 2020. The resources on that web link are really helpful. He may be able to get online therapy quicker. But yes paying if you can manage it might be better. I needed eight sessions. He should be very careful not to exercise too hard. Yes exercise is important but make sure he looks up pacing and then he can do a manageable level regularly rather than on and off, they call it boom and bust. He should keep a written record of how he feels after the different types of exercise to see what works for him.

As others have said, different forms of pain relief may help, I was offered gabapentin but it didn't help me at the time.


ClaireandTed · 01/11/2021 11:20

Such a good point CurlyLJ made about living without the fear of it.

I was in such a state of anxiety and depression about the thought of it always being so horrific that I got stuck in a loop. As soon as she said that there were strategies to deal with it I felt so much better in myself.


ODFOgrinch · 01/11/2021 11:52

Does he do a job which involves maintaining a particular position for long periods? I have had long term neck pain twice in my life: initially when I looked down a microscope all day and spoke into a recorder rather than having to change position to write, and later when I used a large screen on my desktop and made small head movements to accommodate my varifocals all day.
At no time did it actually feel
Like neck strain so without a physio I wouldn't have realised it was positional.
A physio can give exercises to lessen the impact but a reassessment of work station/position and making a conscious effort to move and stretch very regularly is the main cure. In the interim try voltarol gel daily and warm pack around the shoulders rather than a systemic pain killer.


Oftenithinkaboutit · 01/11/2021 11:59

You need a consultant
So either referred or nhs


Oftenithinkaboutit · 01/11/2021 11:59

Either referred or private
Mom went to say


Oftenithinkaboutit · 01/11/2021 11:59

I went to say!!!


Strangevipers · 01/11/2021 11:59

every day even when it is not hurting so the following ;

New pillow

New mattress




Lavender under pillow

Bath/ jacuzzi


Gentle massage

Rub on ibruprofen

Buy a posture corrector

Do not sit for long periods

Pain medication

Change posteriors

A suitable char for work and sitting

Correct footwear and wear them properly have a look online

Do not twist to get up or move and use knees to bend

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