Time To Look After Myself
I mentioned very briefly in my Holiday Essentials blog post that I suffer with pretty bad neck pain, which I have just this week found out is partly due to osteoarthritis in C5 and C6. Basically 2 vertebrae in my neck.
It all started just under 11 years ago when I was in my car on my way to see my beautiful friend Sarah and her gorgeous baby Eva. I was travelling along the M25 in my trusty golf when I was hit by a lorry veering in to my lane! Luckily (?!) we were only doing around 50mph as there were road works (when are there not?!) so I am sure it could have been much much worse. I was suddenly spinning across the motorway and then slammed in to the concrete central reservation. I wasn't aware at the time but as I was spinning across the lanes I was also hit by a large van. This was all bad enough but I had 7 week old Gracie in the back of the car - mind you she didn't even wake up until some one had got her out the car.
The car was, as you can imagine, a total right off. An ambulance, fire engine and police all attended the scene but honestly I wasn't taking much of this in. I do know that the lorry driver did pull over further down the road, but in the end it appeared he gave false information, was from an eastern European country and so driving on the other side of the cab and didn't see me, but this giving of false insurance and contact information was another headache when claiming on my insurance!
Gracie and I were taken to the hospital by ambulance, I had extensive bruising on my arm and face from the airbag, and a scratch on my eyeball from flying glass. Throughout the day my neck started to get extremely tight and painful and I was told I had suffered a whiplash injury.
Little did I know the pain that would invade my life over the next decade
Around a year later I was suffering with some neck and back pain, and so my doctor referred me for physiotherapy. This didn't really help very much.
I then visited a chiropractor, who sent me first for a scan. This showed the full extent of my whip lash injury. The way it was explained to me was that the discs in my neck were crushed by the force of the whip lash moving my head back and forth in a violent action. I was also told there is no way to reverse this but that it would continue to get worse. I did find that the sessions with the chiropractor did help but at £50 per week this was just not a long term solution.
So in the past decade I have tried physio, chiropractic and osteopathy treatments and also Chinese medicine - acupuncture and acupressure. None of which are long term solutions. I have found in the past 5-ish years that the pain has got progressively worse and more intense. To the point where I was taking pain killers every 4 hours every day for weeks on end. I now have been told by my GP that I should not take any more pain relief tablets as I gave myself Analgesia Indused Headaches - she told me to google it and it was like the descriptions had been written just about me. So after a horrendous first week with no pain killers, awful awful day long headaches, I am now out the other side! I still can't take tablets but instead I use cool Kool 'n' Soothe Migraine Cooling Strips - available from lots of places, www.tesco.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.boots.com among others. I had used these for migraines in the past and they are actually pretty good. For neck and shoulder pain I use Tesco Ibuprofen Gel and Cura Heat Heat Patches. I buy these from Tesco but they are available elsewhere and there are lots of different brands. Sometimes I also use a plug in heat pad, which can bring some relief.
My GP referred me for x-rays 2 weeks ago and the results were marked curvature to top of thoracic spine, loss of cervical lordosis and moderate oesteoarthritis of C5 & C6. So that really put a downer on my day. I asked if I could have a cortisone injection as soon as possible, and she said she would definitely refer me for that treatment but that it could take a while to be seen. So I have decided to use my Vitality Health cover which I have through my employer. The people I have had contact with at Vitality so far have been brilliant and I have my first consultation next Thursday, and I am hoping to have the cortisone injection at that time. I really hope so, some days I don't know what to do with myself with the pain, which is why i got to such a bad stage with the pain killers!
These aren't my xrays but just an example of my diagosis
So wish me luck on this journey! The pain is affecting all aspects of my life and I am so annoyed with myself for letting it get so bad before I took these steps. I can't believe I let myself be in pain for so long and didn't explore treatment further with my GP. If this was my children or husband, family or friends I would keep on at them until they did something about it. But I have just tried to carry on. Stupid me. Fingers crossed for a bit of relief from the pain soon.