Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Herniated cervical disc flares again

Last October I was hospitalized for a month with a herniated cervical disc. I had to wear a cervical collar, take strong painkillers, not lift, not turn my head, take increased amounts of Prednisone and just rest.

My rheumatoid arthritis was diagnosed in 2008 and has spread through my body. The last places it appeared were my neck and my jaw. In 2010 I started to feel very dizzy, have pain in my neck, shoulder and top of my back and also numbness in my left hand. The dizziness became quite a problem as I started to fall and it was then my husband took me to the hospital. I had a scan and was told it was the cervical disc that was herniated to match one in my lower back. Between the two I have a great deal of pain and walking is very difficult. I use a wheelchair because of the pain but sitting is as uncomfortable as walking and at times even lying down is painful.

I have looked into the options for pain relief. I use a TENS machine which I like as it is easy to use and no medication is required, heat pads and cold pads are brilliant but only give temporary relief, strong painkillers work well but if I take the amount recommended by the Rheumotologist I get stomach problems.

People are not very helpful with their comments.
I get a bit of pain now and again.
You should do more/less exercise.
Arthritis is only for old people.
Its mind over matter, just get on with it.
Its only arthritis it can't kill you.
At least its not cancer.

So many people are not well informed and don't understand about rheumatoid arthritis and what it can do not only to your joints but other parts of the body too. It can cause dry eyes and mouth, pleurisy and heart problems. It is also recorded that people with rheumatoid arthritis have a shorter life expectancy. Due to the steroids I have also developed diabetes.

I was told if I can come off of the steroids there is the possibility the diabetes will clear up. In December I saw the rheumotologist and he was pleased with the way the disc was healing so I started to decrease the steroids. I have had pain but have stuck with it. Then a few days ago I started to feel pain in my neck again. The dizziness returned and some numbness in my hand. I rang the rheumotologist and he told me to start wearing the neck collar again, take painkillers, increase the steroids, not to lift, don't turn my head; all the things I did last time. I had hoped to be off the steroids by April. If my symptoms are not better in two weeks I have to ring him again.

In the meantime I am reliant on my husband and family again and my independence has had to take a back seat for the time being. I can only hope that my disc repairs in the next two weeks.

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