Posted 9/19/2015 11:39 AM (GMT -7)
Everyone responding has some really helpful things to try. I can only tell of my experience. I didn't know any too much when I started getting the various treatments, and though I've had many of the above-mentioned post's, I've still got the headaches, tinnitus, neck and shoulder pain ...
While recovering from ACDF for C3-4 and 5 other spine injuries I was sent by my pain doc to an experienced PT for neck and trap massage. The doc specified what to do and what NOT to do. The PT helped with pain until I arrived back home. At least it didn't hurt anything. PT, gentle, helped with range of motion enough for me to keep it up at home. I still have to turn my body to look for traffic when driving, but it's better, and I can look down enough to see my bra hooks, although it's been years since I could hook behind my back. After surgery I had to step into it.
Trigger point injections didn't do anything. Muscle relaxants just put me to sleep, except Valium 2 mg, which didn't last very long, and Klonopin at night, which helped a lot but after 2 months trying still made me very sleepy most of the next day.
Neck brace - soft one - helped a lot when my neck got tired, but I was supposed to be building up muscles, and I've been off that for several months.
I still sleep on the couch occasionally, although for the last 2 weeks I'm on Opana at night and it stops pain lots better than anything else. But that's not a cure.
I've had numerous injections and ablations which worked for years for other spine problems, but they've been ineffective for the last 3 or 4 treatments.
Sinus problems, infections and just lots of mucus are helped a lot by NeilMed saline sinus wash , especially in the morning. Other bottles work, but this is the one I like the best. It washes deeper than squeeze bottle sprays. 12 hour Mucinex tablets (the small ones I can swallow) can be helpful at night. They're OTC, so worth a try for thick secretions. It thins secretions so the cilia in the sinuses can clear the gunk. I get allergy shots weekly, which stops the fall weed allergic reactions. It's hard for antibiotics to reach the sinuses. One doc told me only sulfa drugs get there enough to work. But after one day I react badly to those because of intolerance to sulfites.
The trick is to figure out whats causing the pain every day. My headaches can be sinus - radiating backwards over my head or cervicogenic, starting in my neck and shoulder/ trapezius radiating forward to forehead.
I'd use my TENS unit, but where do you attach the electrodes for neck or forehead? It's very effective for lumbar aches/muscle tightness. I got that free after the doc prescribed it. Directions say not to cross spine, although others do it and PT did that too.
I've had a lot of trouble with nausea caused by landing on my head with my full weight and crushing vertebrae, although it didn't start until a couple of months after surgery, which is normal. Recently the doc said it's Meniere's, which causes nausea and tinnitus. But I didn't display any of the symptoms when given the ENG test. Over the last month or so, I'm having bad vertigo when tipping my head backward or rolling onto my right side in bed. Vertigo triggers nausea. I had Epley maneuver (head maneuvering to put the crystals in semicircular canals back in place) twice last year, and it worked a treat, until now. I have another appointment with the ENT this coming week to put the crystals back again. I'm going to try to learn to do it myself.
I'm leery of traction because of my plate and screws. I won't let another chiro touch me since the last one popped my neck (before injury and surgery) after I told him not to. That's the only treatment insurance will pay for. PT though, is paid by insurance.
So, pick and choose whatever might help you. You certainly have some good responses. I enjoy reading other's helpful posts. It helps me when I go to my docs.