I can't find any relief......

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 6/27/2009 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Please help... I am looking for someone with similar symptoms... I feel so alone and that no one understands...

I am a 41 year old female that is extremely active.... I play competitive tennis and workout daily....I have had neck pain for the last 10 years... I finally found a Dr last year that has tried to help... I have been in pain management since October 08

I had a cervical neck MRI four years ago... was told by an Orthapedic Dr that nothing was wrong with me.... I am extremely fit and I feel the Dr's look at me and don't take me seriously.

Had another MRI last year and it says the results from the last MRI are worse.

Basically I have four herniated discs a bulging disc and arthritis in five places....degenerative disc disease... the curve of my neck is slightly going the other way... my bones slip out of place... I hold my head every so slightly to the right... this causes constant muscle spasms in entire neck shoulder area.. also my right shoulder is slightly higher than the left... also my right elbow is always feeling numb... sometimes my jaw goes numb too.

I do not have one specific incident that caused my problems... I had couple of falls (tore my hamstring) and two minor car accidents.... but nothing outstanding to have caused my pain.

I have tried everything..... massage, acupuncture... physical therapy... muscle release.... 5 cervical facet injections... the last thing I did was Botox in my neck/shoulder area...it helped so much with the pulling but I feel I am in more pain now.... I am scheduled next to have a cervical epidural block.

I have refused all meds until early this year... I was put on Skelaxin, and 5mg of vicodin.

I am now have 5mg of percocet ...I take 3 at a time once a day around noon and get 0 relief.... I take Skelaxin here and there but that's all I take right now.

I did not like Celebrex or Meloxicam and Volteran gel did nothing for me.

I am in pain 24/7....I just don't think anyone understand how much pain I am in all the time..... I try to push through but it's getting harder and harder to cope....

I am just looking for someone with some understanding...... my insurance company (Blue Cross) is a joke.... I pay over $400 for my muscle relaxers... it took almost five months to get approved for the Botox and now it's been two weeks and I am not close to even getting an appointment for my epidural... my pain management Dr had to refer me to another pain management Dr who does do the epidurals.... the jumping through hoops and all the red tape is ever so frustrating.....

Thanks for listening sad

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 6/27/2009 10:20 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Draka,

First I want to say welcome to our HW family.  From the sounds of your MRI report, you do have reasons for pain?  The fact that you have numbness signals there is some nerve involvement.  Have you seen a Neurologist or Neurosurgeon for an opinion? Orthopaedic Dr's in my experience are not who you should see with Neck issues. 

There is another treatment you may want to google called Prolotherapy!  I have had this and it helped me alot, of course now I am on Medicare and its not covered so I'm unable to go back for more treatments.  You can email me directly after you read the info if you want.

You will find friendship, empathy and always a kind word from all of the wonderful people here on HW.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 6/27/2009 10:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the response Patti and for the welcome!

The Orth Dr I saw was a referral from my primary care Dr..... they both told me there was nothing that could be done for the pain I was complaining of.... just really brushed me off..... that made me switch Dr's... I now see a female primary care Dr who has referred me to my current pain management Dr (my female Dr actually listens to me) as well as my pain management Dr now.

At C3-C4 my MRI report says: marked compression of the right nerve root sleeve.

My pain management Dr thought Prolotherapy would not help since the 5 facet injections I had in Jan did not help me at all.......

Thanks again!

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 6/27/2009 11:19 AM (GMT -6)   

     Dear Draka,

       Good morning :-)   My name is Dani. It is very nice to meet you. I am new here too. Everyone is very caring and truly DO understand. Healing Well has become a comfort to me in more ways than one, a true gift. I know for sure there are other folks with DDD and some with structural problems in the neck. I'm so sorry that it is causing you so much pain. shakehead   It sounds like you are working ever so hard to regain your mobility and control the pain  smhair  

I am in pain 24/7....I just don't think anyone understand how much pain I am in all the time..... I try to push through but it's getting harder and harder to cope.... 


I think your right. I dont think the folks around us truly understand. I mean... when your asked every 5mins "whats wrong?" and have to fight the urge to say "What are you NEW?"  well... But here? Everyone has been there to some extent. :-)

I am just looking for someone with some understanding...... my insurance company (Blue Cross) is a joke.... I pay over $400 for my muscle relaxers... it took almost five months to get approved for the Botox and now it's been two weeks and I am not close to even getting an appointment for my epidural... my pain management Dr had to refer me to another pain management Dr who does do the epidurals.... the jumping through hoops and all the red tape is ever so frustrating.....

   We were switched to Blue almost a year ago. Oh my goodness! I'm glad that someone else understands what it is like. It really feels at times that I need a degree in "Insurance ology" to figure out if I can afford to sneeze. shakehead   More recently thou, Blue has been working very hard to try to retain my care at the level I need to survive. Eventually I was sent to the most wonderful supervisor and she has really helped out alot, what a blessing. We met her a few months ago and she along with the hospital have been working very hard so I can.. well Live. I do worry that it will go back to the way it was before we met her... Odd no? That as an everyday American I am unable to comprehend the complexities of my insurance.. but yet am held finically responsable for the mistakes of major corporations /  healthcare providers... that I dont understand! In any case, what really helped for us was to call the main office and seek assistance with reguards to the claims. Keep pushing for what you need and where. If they are placing expectations on you that you simply cannot live up to (driving all over heck and back 6 differant doctors for each differant muscle)tell them.  If an everyday healthy man/woman were asked to jump through the same hoops they would fall short everytime. shakehead Ad... I ramble on and on. Sorry, Blue has become a very life changing part of my Health... I hope it continues to improve thou. Small steps are steps just the same. *sigh*


In any case, it really is nice to meet you. :-)   I am very glad you found Healing Well Community.



Post script. I forgot to tell you this. I too get injections, but my pain is in lower back and all inflammation related so for me, the injections are a major fighter of my pain.  yeah

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 6/27/2009 11:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the understanding and support Dani... just getting this out does help... this is the first time I have really communicated about my pain.

I wanted to add.... I have an appointment this Tuesday with my pain management Dr...... I really have avoided all pain killers until recently (January)

Right now I take

3 pills of... 5/512 Percocet.... once a day
Skelaxin here and there and only one pill.... mostly at night.

In all honesty I get very little relief.... by 5 or 6 o'clock I am very irritable and need to go put my head down for some relief.....

I feel I am making myself worse and that my pain is all in my head.... because it consumes me... I read that book Mind Body Connection... am I doing this to myself?... I feel crazy at times .... exercising, tennis and driving are becoming more and more difficult...

My doc mentioned a patch for longer relief..... I have been very afraid to take any meds but am gonna bit the bullet and give something stronger and longer lasting a try... I am so afraid of being dependent.....

Post Edited (Draka) : 6/27/2009 10:32:58 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/27/2009 1:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Draka,
I also wanted to welcome you to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. There are many great supportive people here and yes, we do understand what it feels like to have pain all the time, and to have to struggle to get relief, to find the right mix of medications, procedures, PT along with - and this is something you're not going to probably want to hear - activity adjustments. Are you still play competitive tennis? Because that could very well be contributing to your pain. It's a pounding sport, plus all the movements are definitely going to aggravate the normal changes that come with aging, along with any other conditions.

I kow you're not going to want to consider this. None of us want to give up or limit things we love. But most of us here have had to. Have you ever considered that it might be time to at least pull back from the competitive arena? No medication will help if you're constantly irritating the area that's hurting to begin with.

It's tough to think about, but it may be the only way you're going to get some relief. A good physical therapist should be able to help you evalute this.

Again, welcome.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 6/28/2009 8:40 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks and yes.... I have considered giving up certain things..... I have already..... I don't do any activities with a lot of jumping movement like step class, running or jump training.....

My tennis is one of the only thing that even gets me out of the house these days..... I won't let this keep me prisoner.... I could.... that would be easy....

I am going to ask my Dr on Tuesday for stronger longer lasting meds.... he has offered them to me before but I refused..... I am going to give them a try... so we will see....

Can anyone let me know something about a pain patch.... how do you feel while using it? Tired... groggy.... unable to do daily functions such as driving... any help would be great!

Thanks for the support and advice

Post Edited (Draka) : 6/28/2009 7:45:26 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/28/2009 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
It's certainly worth trying pain medications to keep some quality of life. That's why we all take them. So much misinformation and stigma out there about the vast majority of chronic pain patients. And becoming dependent on medication, which happens with opiods and other meds, is something that happens to the body. The choice is have SOME quality of life or not. And that's why we choose what rightfully should be our choice - to make use of medications and other treatments to help. But in the area of chronic pain stigma stops both us and doctors. Even so tennis is tough on the body. You may need a program of PT, massage, etc. to help you along with the meds, so that you can play as long as possible. Many of us tend to overdue it, though, and what we need to do is learn and listen to our body, and that's the main way we're really going to learn how far we can go, and when we need to stop what we're doing.

As far as the patches, I've never used them so I can't give you much advice. I have read a lot on the forum though (you can search for threads) and some people seem to have a difficult time having them stay on, especially with sweating, so I wonder with your tennis if that would be a problem. And I think there may be an issue with showering - keeping it dry. But I'm not the one to ask. I'm sure lots of people use them and find them great.

Hope this helps some.


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 6/28/2009 2:14 PM (GMT -6)   
PaLady..... I know what you mean about the stigmas..... I've already learned that.... just calling my PM office to schedule an appointment and the receptionist automatically said to me... you can't get any refills... you were just here..... I was there but for my Botox and I didn't get any refills then.... I shouldn't have to explain myself... I understand the drug tests as a precaution but they still make me feel like a criminal.

My friends often joke about my condition too... IT'S NOT FUNNY!

I've done three round of physical therapy.... the problems is the cost... my husband owns his own small business.... we need private insurance (BCBS of FL) we pay $6000 a year then have to pay a $1000 deductible.... the 20% we have to pay once the deductible has been met still adds up to a lot.... that's why I can't keep up with my physical therapy.

I pay over $400 for a one month (120) supply of Skelexin..... $400 freaking dollars...I've filled it twice so far and try to just deal with the spasms so I can stretch out the medication..... I have tried other muscle relaxers (Flexadil) but I cannot function at all the following day....

I actually just wrote both my Senators as well as President Obama.... we can't afford our health care anymore.... my brother and his wife don't have it at all due to cost.... what are we it do???

I get massages once a month but again out of pocket ($75)

I am beyond frustrated!!

I did search out the patches.... and one of my big concerns is the heat here.... I live in south Florida.... I am making a list of questions for my Dr.....

Thank you again.... it does feel good to be able to talk about this with those who understand.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/28/2009 2:57 PM (GMT -6)   
You're very welcome. And yes, we all find this site makes such a huge difference in our lives. For me, it's been a godsend.

And BTW I am losing my COBRA coverage on Tuesday. I will have no insurance until I can find something my cousin can afford to help me with. I'm basically unemployed (was laid off while out on leave for back surgery from my pt. time job) and have a small business that I will probably shut down as I don't even think it's meeting expenses anymore. A lot of my debt over the years came from putting health insurance premiums on credit cards. I was self-employed for many years, so I do understand all the costs.

I have tons of things from TENS units (your insurance may pick up the cost) to heating and ice packs of almost every size! I have stretch routines I've learned from PT over the years for nearly every part of my body! LOL I can no longer afford massages, but wish I could. All I can say is learn all you can and that includes listening to your body!

Take care!


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16573
   Posted 6/29/2009 11:23 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Draka and I too, would like to welcome you to Healing Well. You have come to the right place and I hope you feel at home. We all have one thing on common-pain.

I see PaLady responded to you a couple of times and she always has alot of good input as you saw. I can tell you about the Fentanyl patches somewhat, as I used them for awhile. Because of your activity level and the heat I do not recommend you to use them. Here is why, if you are outside playing tennis in the heat you will get hot and start sweating. When your body temperature heats up the patch delivers more medication than it should and this can be dangerous. I found this out the hard way. I live in Tx and yes it gets pretty warm here. Now, when this patch releases more medication than it should then it will not last 72 hours like it should either. Had this to happen too. Also, we have some people on here right now that are on the patches and they are only getting 48 hours of relief instead of the full 72 hours. Some drs will prescribe the patch to be changed every 48 hours if that is all they are lasting, but not many will, most want you to wait the 72 hours before changing and then you spend the last 24 hrs having withdrawal type symptoms.  There is a product called Tegaderm that can be used to cover the patch to keep it dry. My pharmacy ordered mine but they can alse be bought at a hospital supply store. Usually, the drs start you on the lowest dose and slowly increase the strength of the patch.

I see you are on Skelaxin, its one of the older muscle relaxers. Like most medication if not taken consistently its just not going to work. I take a muscle relaxer called Zannaflex. which works great for me. But, we are all different so that does not mean it will work for you, we just have to try them to see what happens.

None of us want to be on medication but sometimes if the issue is this is something that can help me function and give me quality life, then I am for it. While on the patches I did drive my car  as usual except on the days when I had got too hot and had too much meds in my system. 

I know you don't want to hear it but, tennis is pretty strenuous  and its keeping your neck symptoms kicked up.  Many of us have had to curtail our activities many times.

With nerve involvement going on just be sure to keep it in check. If you get to the point of needing to see another specialist, I would certainly suggest a neurosurgeon over an orthopedic. Orthos tend to deal more with the bones and bony structures. A neurosurgeon has more experience in dealing with nerve issues, big difference. You might consider asking the pain mgt dr about a Tens Unit, they can sometimes help.

Again, wanted to just say hi and welcome aboard.


Moderator Chronic Pain
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & decreased circulation in both legs. Swveral other health issues just not enough roo to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 16 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 6/30/2009 2:45 AM (GMT -6)   
welcome to HW! I have multiple herniated discs in my neck as well. I have serveral in my lower spine as well as 2 broken discs. I think its great you can still be active, most of us aren't. (i'm only 32 and have been dealing with this for 10 years now) I have been through all the injections and medications as well. Skelaxin and darvocet are not very strong, in my opinion. Watch darvocet as well, my PM dr had stated that darvocet has a lot of aspirin in it and can tear up your stomach if on it for awhile. I never had luck with percocets either. Your dr might consider a muscle relaxer, that may help you some and it usually helps me sleep as well. You still have a lot of room to play around with medications in search of relief. Let your PM dr know that you aren't getting great results, maybe something with an extended release (ER) like Kadian (morphine) that releases into your bloodstream every 12-24 (patches can get up to 72) hours straight. I don't know what I would do without my oxycontin.
Also, ask your dr about a tens unit. Some people have good results with them. I use mine about once or twice a week. I know the neck is not as painful as your lower back (so I have read- since I have both I agree in my case), so thankfully you don't have both to deal with and therefore there has to be something that can help alleviate your pain. Don't be afraid to tell your dr something isn't working. He won't know unless you tell them so. I have a great realtionship with mine, I could tell them anything. Maybe ask for some samples of something ER or a muscle relaxer. Soma is good for temporary use (the FDA recently regulated it to 2 weeks use vs. constant) I take zanaflex which is a fantastic muscle relaxer. They make make you very sleepy, nothing like skelaxin, so be prepared. Once you are used to them it won't be so bad. I know you can even cut zanaflex in half.
And being on here helped me a lot too, just talking to people who have been there helps. We all have our tricks, ice, baths, massage even grape juice (long story- old joke on here) to helping us. The benefit is someone has 99% of the time tried a therapy or two and able to comment on it. Same with meds. Though every body is different, what works for me may not you and vice versa, we can at least pop off some to ask about and research into. There are a lot of good souls on here. And we always listen.
Glad you have joined.... good luck with your next appointment.
RX's: Oxycontin 80mg 2x's daily; Dilaudid 8 mgs 5x day; Zanaflex 4mg 3x's daily; Lyrica 100mg 3x's daily (pain & fibro.); Phenergan 25mg (as needed/nausea); Reglan 10 mg. (30 minutes before meal/nausea); Cymbalta 60mg 2x's daily (pain from fibro); Ambien CR (bedtime); Prilosec 30mg. & Senokot (as needed).
"The most critical choice you'll ever make is the one you make about what you're going to do with this. The past is over. The future hasn't happened yet. The only time is now."
- Dr. Phil

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 6/30/2009 5:20 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Draka.
I am new to this site but I have noticed there seems to be boards going on for and all concerns with the pain you are feeling. My pain is in the lower back and my choice of pain meds is Percocet 10mg, I take ten a day, not that I want to but if I dont I would  be pretty much useless in this world. Try your hand at different meds before you give up you tennis, you might find the right combo My pain started 11 years ago after an arguement with my ex-husband, lets just say I didnt faair to well. Heres my story, I suffered with back pain on and off, I have had 20 total nerve block, that include facet joint blocks, epidural blocks and so on, I have seen the physical terrorist about the same amount, I also had a tens unit, unfortunately for me none of it worked, so I went to see a neurosurgeon, he read my MRI and told me right aay that I needed a spinal fusion which was done in February 2008, then in March 2009 I had two lymphomas removed and now seven weeks ago I had a pain pump installed, but that is a long road to hopefully get it where it needs to be. I have been on Celebrex,Zanaflex,Soma,Vicodin,Oxycontin,MSContin,Morphine,Lidocain Patches,Lyrica,Amytriptaline,Skelaxin and so on and so on. Bottom line is all they did was mask the pain and I decided for me to stick with the Percocet and Amytriptline, as they are the two that worked best for me. I agree that you should see a Neurosurgeon as they know what to do and they do it every day. I have ha my fair times with Ortho for broken bones which they are great at but not for spinal issues. As far as tennis, just dont take your pills before hand take them after because when I take mine if I go for a brick walk I sweat and sometimes feel faint, so I take my pills after I get back. My nerves were also compressed, but after my surgery the pain was still there, because I found out that if the nerves have been compressed for a long time even if you decompress them , there could be permanent damage. Do yourself a favor get a second opinion before making any decisions, and don't no matter what anyone tells you, get a discography done, I had one, I lost spinal fluid, so now I have pain that shoots down my leg and I have migraines which I never had before. Good luck to you.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 6/30/2009 8:43 AM (GMT -6)   
At least with Blue Cross you got the botox, Humana won't even cover it for me...
Humana is a joke so don't switch to that one cause everything is considered experimental with Humana
as well, and I've jumped through quite a few hoops as well and have yet more to go thru..
Everyone here is nice and will never tell you your pain is in your head, and we care...
after you've been through the hoops with injections the next step is rhizotomies and radiofrequency
treatments, so you've got a few more procedures down the line to try and maybe something will help...
Well I just wanted to says HELLO and sure wish we could've met under better circumstances as
pain is a major bummer...
soft hugz and hope you get a low pain day soon...
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc, Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's and Ocular Migraines


Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 7/1/2009 8:51 AM (GMT -6)   
I just want to thank everyone for making me feel welcome......

Just got my stronger meds.... Roxycodone the label on the bottle says 4 X's per day.... I will do one or two maybe.... didn't take anything yesterday.... today I am feeling pretty good.... I think I am just use to my pain at this point....

So after seeing my PM Dr yesterday I have an appointment for a cervical epidural next Wednesday.....

You know there are really so many hurdles to overcome being a pain patient.... My PM Dr does not do epidurals so he had to refer me to another PM Dr.... my PM Dr gave me his #... I call to schedule the epidural and the other PM Dr's office tells me it's against the law to be seeing two PM Dr's...... I think.... Uggg....... here we go again...... I explain I DO NOT WANT MEDS..... but still she tells me it's against the law....

When I explained this to my current PM Dr yesterday he was really angry..... he called the office and got me my appointment.

WOW..... it's really always something.... this experience has really opened my eyes to what everyone has to go through all the time.

Thanks again everyone!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 7/1/2009 4:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Sadly, we all have to go through this initiation process. I've sure learned a lot that I wish I never needed to learn!

And it keeps changing!

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