Many things become a pain in the neck when dealing with a chronic pain disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis. But I am not going to get into dealing with insurance, doctors, pharmacies or people that do not understand at the moment. I want to talk about the physical pain, stiffness and weakness in my neck. This is not supposed to be Rheumatoid Arthritis according many of the Rheumatologist and medical websites. I just cannot understand how a person’s shoulders and hips can weaken so much that the joint cannot take the weight and the spine is not an issue? How is that logical? Really I need to understand how it would be logical to a doctor that the spine of a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient is not affected and does not need to be monitored? If the joints are weak then what part of the body takes on the weight? The spine right? Not that I believe that RA does not attack the spine. I can feel it there just as much as I feel it in my joints, muscles, ear, throat, eyes and the rest of my body.
Lately I have had less pain, stiffness and weakness in my neck, but it still hits me when it rains or if I hold my purse too long. Just like when I stand too long on my feet. The amount of time I can stand without pain in my feet or holding my purse is longer than a few months ago, but I still have limits. I have noticed that when my neck is in pain or feels very weak, I do get dizzy spells. I always thought it was the drugs but recently noticed it happens when the neck is stressed, like after sitting without any back support. Just like the inside of my nose swelling up, the choking, breathing issues, pressure headaches all seem to hit when my neck is stiff or weak. I still find it funny that one night I was able to find a position for my head/neck that made the swelling in my nose and other symptoms cease. I usually struggle to find a position to relieve the pain, just never notice until that night that it relieved other symptoms as well.
My last visit to my doctor I was informed that my neck x-rays showed issues with C-2 and C-3, one disc is thinning and the other has slipped just a little into my spine and the curve of my neck is now opposite of what it should be. I guess damage from the last 2 years of flares in my shoulders; I do have imaging that shows my neck was fine in January of 2010. So I started looking for more information on neck issues with other Rheumatoid Arthritis patients and found this Basilar Invagination on RA Warrior. The doctor had told me at my last visit not to worry my neck is still fine and it is C-1 that is when you have issues because it can cause brain stem compression. Well my younger sister has complained about pain there so I was a little upset and did not ask any questions. But after reading the article and following through on the link to Cedars-Sinai on Basilar Invagination which is where I see my doctor, I decided to give her a call. From the little I understand Basilar Invagination it can happen when there are issues with C-2. Unfortunately when I called and questioned her about it, she chuckled and said the x-rays show I am fine. I tried to mention to her the symptoms seem to match some of the things I go through, especially when my neck feels weak but could not get much out because she is sure from the X-rays that I am fine. Any patients that are dealing with stiff neck, pain in the neck and what I can describe as extreme weakness in the neck, what are you doing for it? What tools do you use to help relieve some of the symptoms? I would appreciate any suggestions you have. Continue reading
I have been walking usually twice a day for a few weeks now, which has been a nice change after being pretty much stuck in the house in too much pain. I have notice a change in my pattern of stiffness. Before I started walking, most of the pain was in my shoulders, back and elbows. Since I have been walking more now I deal with stiffness greater in my feet, hips and knees. The last few weeks still have been an improvement in my Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD formally RA aka Rheumatoid Arthritis). It seems to help not picking up heavy items or hold anything too long. We went to a Valentine Soiree held by the Lady of Magic at the Redondo Beach Castle. I took my Canon Rebel and purse with Motorola Xoom, the weight and/or actions did increase bruised feeling in my inner shoulders and spine for a few days. Not enough of a bruised feeling to make me not want to pick up the camera again, I will again.
Sometime the pain is worth the actions. The enjoyment of doing something at times is worth the amount of the pain that increase from doing it, whether it is holding a camera to take photos or walking the dogs. Right now I will continue walking because I can and the stiffness is on the lighter side. How long will it last? I hope it is something I can keep up but I know if the pain, stiffness or fatigue increase, I will have to skip out on the walks. I am grateful to be able to do them now and not be where I was last year, just hoping to have the energy and pain levels go down enough to make it to the store and back.
Do you walk when your pain and stiffness from your RAD is on the lighter side? How often and how far do you go? Right now I am doing a morning and evening walk around a mile or so each walk.
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Sorry I have not been posting but I have been dealing with a flare. I usually deal with more pain and stiffness in the winter months. Right now I am in California and the pain and stiffness has went down. The stiffness has been in my shoulders. My back was swollen when I got here. The swelling was visible in the muscles in my back. I would say I was at a 7 or 8 on the pain scale when I left Indiana, it dropped to a 4 after about 24 hours here and now I’m down to a 1 or 2.
Heading back to Indiana on Monday, will see how long it lasts.
It has been awhile since I did an update. I have been feeling good, not much pain or stiffness in joints but I have still been dealing with my back. I did finally get off the Flexeril in the last week.
I have added a this stuff called take charge that I can add to my yogurt and it gives it some crunchiness, it is a multi vitamin. I did notice there was not any Vitamin D in it so I picked up some Calcium Plus Magnesium and Vitamin D-3 from GNC. While I was there I grabbed MSM, Omega Complex and Glucosamine the non shellfish kind. A few days after starting them I noticed my back pain went down some but not all the way. I tried no Flexeril and the pain was down enough that I did not need the Flexeril, but I did need to do more stretching. I found doing enough stretches at night before going to sleep and I wake up without any pain. If I do not do enough then I wake up with stiffness so I do more stretches. It has worked so far!