Pain in the Neck

This week marked four weeks that I’ve been having right-sided neck pain. Today is day 31.

In August, about a week before Railbird Festival, I woke up with neck pain so severe that I couldn’t really move my neck without intense pain. After a few days, and luckily before Railbird, my neck pain went away. I figured I had just slept on wrong and didn’t think anything of it since it went away on its own.

Then, on Friday, September 24th, I woke up with right-sided neck pain again.

I couldn’t move my head side-to-side. I couldn’t touch my chin to my chest or move my neck forward or down. I had lost all mobility and function with the right side of my neck and shoulder, and I lived off of heat patches and Tylenol before I finally had had enough.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse

Every morning for a week, I woke up with the same neck pain. I have plenty of pillows in my house and I was trying to change them and sleep differently, to see if it was really me sleeping wrong or my pillow causing me the neck pain, but nothing helped.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse

Usually, when my neck hurts like this, it only lasts a day or two, so I never see the doctor about it – nothing like this current situation with my neck.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Degenerative Disc Disease - Mary Horsley

After the first week of pain, I finally went to Primary Care after waking up each night around 3 AM and not getting any sleep from being restless.

I was given a prescription for meds and had x-rays taken of my neck and spine – I felt silly when I had to get some of the x-rays with my mouth open wide.

My X-rays showed degenerative disc disease in my C-4 to C-5 and C-5 to C-6 spine area, with bone spurs and muscle spasms. No wonder my neck has been killing me lately.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Degenerative Disc Disease - X-ray - Mary Horsley

I’m was to continue with muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory meds, with lidocaine patches on the area while I waited for a referral to a chiropractor.

In my follow-up visit a week later with my care team after my neck x-rays, I also mentioned my on-and-off left foot pain.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Heel Spur - Mary Horsley

I get pain in my left heel and in between my third and fourth toe. Sometimes it hurts for days, especially when I’m doing too much on my feet, like dancing.

I’ve had it for years and I have mentioned it to Primary Care once before. I usually forget to bring it up, though, because it usually goes away in a few days and I figured it was normal everyday wear. My doctored ordered x-rays of my left foot and insoles for my shoes.

In those X-rays, we can see a bone spur on my left foot heel – a calcaneal heel spur – that has been causing me pain when I put pressure on my heel. This can stem from Plantar Fasciitis – degeneration of the band of tissue (fascia) at the bottom of your feet that runs from your heel to your toes.

I’ve been given insoles for my shoes and told to only wear sneakers for a few weeks to see if it helps.

A referral for podiatry was ordered along with the chiropractor and now we wait to see what my body does. I almost feel bad for even mentioning my foot because it has been the least of my worries since this chronic neck pain began.

So, it seems my body is breaking down on me, degenerating if you will. And let me tell you, it hurts.

The VA was booked in the chiropractic clinic for the next 30 days, so the VA had an appointment made for me with community care – an outside clinic they approved.

I had my first consultation with a chiropractor this week, with adjustments to my neck, hips and back. My neck keeps getting nerve pains, and it goes back to the same position after the adjustment each time.

The chiropractor thinks it has been in the same position for so long, it naturally wants to return to a painful spot. We just have to keep adjusting it and hopefully we can help the pain.

My right side neck is less tight in the muscle but it has been having nerve-like pain that radiates from the back of my neck to my shoulder and down my elbow to my wrist. I wake up with pain everyday now, and nothing makes it go away, not even the meds.

I do have to take a few days off of the lidocaine patches after a few days of wearing them – I am allergic to the adhesive and it peels and irritates my skin to all get out.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog

The chiropractor adjusts my hips, too, as one leg seems just barely longer than the other when I lie straight. After the adjustment, they are even. I think this stems from my body posture and compensating for my ribs so long, my spine and torso have shifted, so why not my hips and legs, too.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Chiropractor Degenerative Disc Disease

I’ve gotten to see the massage therapist a few times, too, which is nice, but it leaves my shoulders and neck feeling bruised.

I’ve seen the chiropractor three times in the last week, with another appointment scheduled for tomorrow. I think our plan is to have three visits a week for four weeks. I hope my neck pain goes away before another month of it.

This weekend, I am still having neck and nerve pain. I was up at 4 AM and I had a hard time going back to sleep, even after taking medicine. I got up again around 930 with the same pain.

It is odd that by the end of most days, my neck pain does start to subside. I have found that since I am standing most of the day, that pressure on my spine and neck is relieved – but every morning I wake up with repeat pain.

I already have enough to worry about with these slipping ribs of mine, my Crohn’s disease, migraines, and Fibromyalgia. I almost forgot my Stelara dose this week, too, because I have been so consumed with worrying about this neck.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Stelara Injection

This was my Stelara shot #24 and I ended up bleeding and bruising at my injection site this time. I know my body was needing this dose, I can always tell about a week before it is due. I also know that the anti-inflammatory meds and pain meds are not friendly to my stomach.

Also, peep the pajamas and the lidocaine patch on my shoulder being held on with medical tape. I haven’t really left the house but once or twice in the last week because I am trying to take it easy on this neck and my body.

Trying to be healthy and happy is hard, y’all. I don’t need any more issues to deal with, let alone more issues that include pain.

On the positive side – I got my flu shot and a booster for whooping cough during my follow-up visit, too, and I’ve already gotten my third COVID dose. I got the Flu Type-A in 2019 and I had COVID earlier this year – I don’t want repeats of those.

To finish out the month, I’ll be getting an end-of-the-month COVID test, with a few more scheduled before mid-December. I have to be extra careful and extra prepared since I only have around 50 days until my drive to West Virginia for my next Slipping Rib Syndrome (SRS) surgery – which hasn’t been forgotten, I’m just in the waiting stage for now.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog slipping rib syndrome dr hansen

With my neck pain, my ribs have been acting up, too, with some nerve pains in my right (non-surgical) side, which doesn’t bode well for those ribs. I know a lot of SRS patients end up needing bilateral procedures, and with the way my body has shifted, my spine moved, and my torso compensating for the left side pain, things are looking to be on the negative for my right side.

I will bring that up in my pre-surgery meeting with Dr. Hansen, as I think my right side had minor slipping in my very first meeting with him in January, if memory serves me correctly. But, at that point, I was not experiencing pain on my right side, even with the hooking-maneuver and rib manipulation, so surgery was not necessary to for that side…yet. There is always a “yet”.

I will mention my right side to him in December, and I will contact him before that to mention that I have been on anti-inflammatory meds for this neck. I will need antibiotics and things like that post-op, so I need to be off of meds before, much like my Stelara.

I am actually due for my next Stelara dose on the day my surgery is scheduled, so I will have to wait two weeks beyond the due-date before I can take my shot. But, that is eight weeks away, and a lot can happen by then.

I really hope my neck stops hurting sooner rather than later, though. It has been the worst pain for me and I have a pretty high pain tolerance considering everything I have been through in the last few years. I do not want to be on medication for this neck forever – I hate the way they make me feel. I don’t want to wake up with more pain every day, I’m already used to enough. And, I don’t want to be as house-ridden as I have been with this neck because pain while driving is not fun.

But, to be fair, October hasn’t been all bad.

I got to go see the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spooktacular, which was amazing with all of the detailed pumpkins on display. I think they advertise that they have more than 5,000 pumpkins and it was worth the trip to go see them. (Thank you, Trevor!)

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - mary horsley - Louisville ky jack o lantern spectacular spooktacular 5000 pumpkin carvings halloween

Prhbtn Lexington has unveiled some new murals for this years 10th anniversary – I immediately had to go find the two latest additions and I am waiting on the third to be completed. This one reminds me of Kentucky Agate, or Devil’s Agate – the stone I wear around my neck. The artist who painted the mural said that Ky agate is what he was going for! I think it may be my new favorite mural in Lexington.

Pain in the Neck - It Could Be Worse Blog - Mary Horsley - Lexington Ky Mural

We also carved and painted pumpkins for spooky season – I themed mine like all of the blue and white chinoiserie I have in my home with a glitter stem for added razzle-dazzle while my love went with a University of Kentucky themed carving.

I have also completed this years Halloween costumes in record time – usually I have multiple costumes to work with, starting early with preparations each year, but this year has been hard on me. I am surprised I finished ours in a matter of days and I am excited to show em off come Halloween. Even Bilbo’s costume is finished early this year, too!

In all, I’ve been pretty negligent with replies, with seeing people, with this blog, and pretty negligent about keeping up with most things.

Know that I am trying.

For me, It Could Be Worse.

Previous Posts on Slipping Rib Syndrome from It Could Be Worse:

Slipping Rib Syndrome – Hansen Technique & One Month Follow-Up

3 Years & Five Surgeries – Slipping Rib Syndrome

3 Months Post-Op Slipping Rib Syndrome

Any Way You Slice it – Thoracic & Hand Surgery, Again

Rib Plating Surgery and Thoracic Appointments

Slipping Rib Syndrome

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