I recently wrote about many of the things that cause bone loss. There are many causes from genes to medications to inactivity. I was surprised when I received the diagnosis. You might be too. So why not go to my first post and take the risk assessment quiz. Then come back and learn how you can work to prevent osteoporosis.
Usually, your doctor isn’t going to order a DEXA bone density scan until you are 65. Since I am on Medicare due to disability, I get all the notes that Medicare people get. A year or so ago, I saw a note asking, “Have you had a bone scan yet?” I ignored it because I was under 60. But this spring, I thought, “Why not ask?” And my rheumatologist jumped right on it to say “Yes, have your PCP order it this summer.”
Neck pain is a widespread problem. It often appears because of keeping one`s head in an uncomfortable position for a long time; especially by twisting it up and turning your head. Various aged people have it but mostly 40-60 years old.
The pain itself is often repeated and brings a lot of problems; such as, limiting movements in the neck, one can even feel it in an arm. There can often be numbness in the hands especially at night.
Other More Serious Issues
Another serious problem is dizziness and sometimes even problems with balance and unsteady gait. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often. This happens because of irritation or compression of the vertebral arteries inside the neck. The blood gets running through the back of the brain, where the centers of body coordination are located. Such conditions are called vertebral artery syndrome.
Rough rotatory head movements are not particularly recommended. However, gentle movements can be useful, such as “air” writing letters and words with the tip of the nose. It is very good to draw an infinity sign. These movements must be done very slowly and smoothly, without provoking an increase in neck pain. Put it another way, any sudden movements of the head should be avoided.
Reminder: I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.
I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.
In no case, should you allow anyone to perform any maneuvers on your neck such as massage, stretching, etc.
Until you have an MRI and no discal hernia is found, maneuvers on the neck are not allowed by any specialists, manual therapists, nor physiotherapists. Manipulation is especially dangerous for patients who have a hernia in contact with the spinal cord or when the spinal cord is squeezed by a hernial bulging.
People over 40 often have osteophytes in the cervical spine. These spinal bone outgrowths direct themselves towards the spinal cord. If you make maneuvers on the neck, this can lead to damage of the spinal cord with irreparable consequences.
Regardless of where you work and your lifestyle, you can get rid of the cause of pain in the neck. Get rid of bad habits, doing exercises for the neck and properly organizing the workplace. If attacked by sharp neck pain, do the following:
Wear a neck collar made of special foam materials. You should choose its size so that there is no over-extension of the cervical spine, as this will entail increased pain.
During the first hours, attach ice wrapped in a towel, or an ice bubble.
Warm-up after the ice has slightly decreased inflammation, starting with a warm heating pad and ending with a hot shower. Do not over cool after a water treatment!
Use warming rubbing, but not at the same time as heating pads.
Take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 2 tablets 3-4 times a day after meals.
A set of exercises that relieve neck pain:
Slowly tilt your head forward, then back.
Keep your shoulders still. Slowly tilt your head first to one and then to the other shoulder.
Slowly turn your head from side to side.
Place your palm on the side of your head, and with the palm of your other hand, push towards the first. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 3 times on one side and the other.
Do the same exercise, but only by tilting your head forward, showing your palms on your forehead, slight resistance to tilting your head. Putting your palms on the back of your head, show slight resistance to tilting your head back.
Holding a load of 1.5-2 kg in your hands down, lift your shoulders as if shaking them.
Do each exercise 5 times twice a day. Perform the first 3 exercises for 2 weeks before proceeding to the rest. This workout complex will help to strengthen and relieve the spasm of the neck muscles. Thus, take care of yourself. But do not postpone the solution to the problem of neck pain for a long time.
Bed Position for Neck Pain
Your position in bed is also of great importance when treating neck pain. If the mattress is not orthopedic, place a shield or board under it to prevent excessive bending and extension of the neck. But as soon as you can, it is advisable to buy an orthopedic mattress.
Sleep with a small down pillow under your head.
When you lay on your side, it is better to put a not very thick roller on the pillow. It should fill the so-called arch formed by the lines of the shoulder, neck, and head. In this position, the cushion will help maintain a physiological straight position for the neck without subjecting it to bending, extension or lateral tilt.
On your side, the cervical spine will be located on the cushion, and as a result, the spine, neck, and head will be as if on the same line.
When lying on your back, it is also good to put such a roller under your neck. You can sew it by yourself, it should not be very hard.
When having significant levels of pain, temporarily limit movement in the neck. A special neck collar would be beneficial and recommended. For the first time, you can make it yourself out of cardboard; covering it with a soft cloth from the inside, and attaching ribbons so that it can be tied behind.
Naturally, all the recommendations above are only the first medical self-help.If the pain continues, you should consult a specialist neurologist or orthopedist involved in spinal pathology. But even if the pains have passed after the implementation of these recommendations, and in the recent past you have already had episodes of such pain more than once, you need to consult a specialist doctor and have an MRI of the cervical spine to exclude serious pathology requiring special treatment.
I also work out my mind. I work out the hurt and the pain these last years have brought in my life.
I workout forgiveness toward myself- for unhealthy coping mechanisms that kept me stuck for so long.
I workout experiencing those low points and how now I have a deeper understanding of those who are going through dark times.
Working out Loss
I workout that friends, even one I had half my life, can walk away and because of that, I learned the healthy boundary of relationships. And that I have the gift of forgiveness and to love but also not to expect that in return.
I work out that being on this path is rare– most don’t take the time to find themselves apart from identifying as something-
college student etc.
Instead, I am working that out from the other end, finding myself, then success in what I want, and so on and so forth.
It’s empowering because I am not relying on anything to tell me where I “should be” or on anyone to make me feel valued.
I value me- because of all the humbling experiences that led me here and help me to show others their value too- and that to value yourself- it must come apart from anyone or anything.
-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️
Thank you, Jessie, for these words of encouragement. Back when I was swimming a mile a day, I found it to be very beneficial in working out my hurts, pains, emotions.
Friends, How to you work out your pain and emotions? Share in the comments.
This week’s guest is Sarah LaDow, the Fibro Butterfly. She’ll be sharing about physical therapy and exercise. She just started her own blog to help awareness of Fibromyalgia, MCS, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. She has found like many of us with a chronic illness that the chronic illness blogging community is so uplifting and encouraging. That is how we recently met, through Chronic Illness bloggers
She lives in Northern Indiana and works online because of Fibromyalgia and MCS. She has suffered from Fibromyalgia all of her life and with MCS and Rheumatoid Arthritis for the last 10 years or so.
Before becoming ill, she was a university professor teaching several courses online, but can no longer concentrate well enough to continue. She has no regrets – just moving her talents into other channels, like blogging.
Continue on to read her letter to explain how physical therapy and exercise are a part of her fibro life.
Hello, My friend,
When I first became incredibly ill with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), I was told to avoid any and all contacts that might expose me to more perfume. I spent the year grieving in bed, and while I did, Fibromyalgia slithered into my muscles, stroked my brain, and stained my body. I suspect I’ve had Fibromyalgia since I was a young child, but I’d never fed it quite so well as a year in bed. It grew into a giant python within my body.
Getting a Diagnosis
When I confessed how I was feeling to my internist, I was lucky because he had suspected Fibro for a long time–we did the testing, and voila! I know many victims of Fibro wait years for a diagnosis, never knowing what is destroying them. And in a sense, I did too, since I’d never broached the topic with my internist. We also discovered that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis–the weights just kept coming!
We began trying medicines, but he insisted that I must also move those muscles. Come to find out, pretty much every physician on the planet wants those who have Fibro to exercise. Thus began my love/hate relationship with exercise.
The snake wasn’t the only thing that grew during my year of grief. I had become way overweight; I’d never weighed so much in my entire life. I’m quite sure the Fibro and the meds added to this weight, but I wasn’t helping.
So, now I was weighed down with MCS, Fibro, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and overwhelming fatigue. Every step felt like I was moving through wet concrete.Everything exhausted me and doing anything hurt. I would actually cry at the thought of physical therapy (PT). But I started anyway. I began PT at the local hospital. I was pretty sure I had died and entered into physical education h___.
Physical Therapy Hurts
Right away, they wanted me in the pool with a special class for those with Fibromyalgia. I suspected the chemicals would hurt me, but I tried it anyway. I’ve always loved being in the water. It was wonderful to exercise in the warm pool water, but after therapy, everything in my sinuses was inflamed and swollen–I received two weeks on prednisone with an admonition to never go near the pool again. I was devastated. For those who don’t suffer from smells, the water is an excellent place to begin exercising!
Thankfully, the physical therapist was not about to give up–she moved me to other types of exercises, such as the treadmill, the bike, weights, and stretch and balance class for those with Fibromyalgia.
Stretch and Balance Class
I’m not going to lie; the first time I participated in the stretch and balance class, it hurt. Badly. But I didn’t give up–I attend that class twice a week. After just a few weeks, I was moving fluidly and not moaning in pain every time I moved.
On the days when I wasn’t in my assigned class, I walked on the treadmill and lifted weights (never anything above 20 pounds because if I did, I flared).
I’m happy to tell you that I have graduated from PT into what the therapist calls my “Guided Path”. I still do everything, but now no one is standing over me. All I have to do is check in once a month, and they weigh me, run blood tests, etc.
Losing Weight is Slow but Sure
I’m thrilled to tell you that I have lost some of the weight of Fibromyalgia–since I started last January, I have lost over 20 pounds. I am so proud of myself!
Flares still happen and sometimes time off from exercise becomes imminent, but I always go back as soon as I can. I find if I skip a day, my muscles know it and weigh me down with pain. I also still have to rest after working out, but this probably surprises no one. According to WebMD, exercise should lessen the fatigue of fibromyalgia. Sure, right. Hasn’t worked that way for me, but it might for you.
You don’t have to start with Physical Therapy– you can start exercising simply by walking around the block. Start with 10 minutes of walking–that’s what I did. I’ve now worked my way up to 45 minutes of walking. This isn’t the Olympics–start where you are and do what you can. Over time, you might find exercising helps you, too! Why not try it?
Don’t miss any of the “letters” we are writing. Check out previous letters and subscribe to this series on the main “Letters to Friends” page. If you know someone with fibromyalgia (and you probably do), join my Facebook page Fibromyalgia, Is it For Real?
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