Friday, February 18, 2011

It's Not RA, So Now What?

I finally received the results from the x-rays on my cervical spine. The good news is that the x-rays were normal and my upper back / neck are not being affected my Rheumatoid Arthritis. The bad news is that the rheumatologist could not give me any answers whatsoever.

I have been doing everything I can to release the tension in my back but nothing has helped at all. I have tried heating pads, ice packs, hot showers, baths with Epsom salts, muscle patches, cervical spine pillows, stretching, working on my posture, and pain killers. I also tried a muscle relaxant that the doctor gave me over the summer for the same problem, but it just took the edge off.

I went for a massage yesterday and a hour later I was over the moon to feel semi-normal again. By the time I went to bed I was tensed up again and barely slept.

I made an appointment with my primary care physician to see if there is anything else we could do. We went over everything and he was pretty much at a loss. It is not my bones or joints and he does not think that it is nerves because I am not experiencing numbness. He examined my back and said that my muscles seemed pretty soft, yet all I feel in tenseness and pain.

He offered me stronger pain killers, which is definitely not the direction I wanted to go because it would not be treating the cause. After a long discussion, I finally asked about a stronger muscle relaxant. He told me I could double up on what I have been taking and I told him that I wanted to stick to the pain killers that I already have. I did agree to try a lidocaine pain patch that I have not tried before and maybe call a chiropractor.

In the end the doctor told me that if this does not work he wants me to see someone about pain management and possible injections. I just hope that this helps enough that I can go back to doing yoga and exercising, which will hopefully help even more. Plus losing weight will help a lot.

Fingers crossed.


elisabeth said...

What kind of injections? I've had good (albeit temporary) results with cortisone, but there are some long-term drawbacks to repeated treatments. It sounds like massage worked well for you- maybe continuing would help? And I know some folks who have had a lot of success with acupuncture- I have not tried it yet myself. Good luck! A good pain management doc will have more ideas and combos for you to try.

Morgan said...

I did not even ask what type of injections they might be, probably because I was pretty set against getting them.

I have thought about acupuncture, especially since it is part of my primary's practice. But since my muscles always tense up right after a massage, I was worried about getting it and then a hour later be tense again. I will keep going for massages though. I usually go every two weeks and even if the effect does not last long, it is worth it.

Thanks for the good wishes!