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In the ongoing battle to deal with the chronic pain, resulting from my accident, I have tried a number of things. Pain medication and muscle relaxants allow me to sleep. Celebrex, prescribed for arthritis, also has a positive effect on my neck pain. And Cymbalta is pretty much a miracle drug for me since it tackles both chronic pain and depression in one little pill. But honestly, I would rather not be a walking drug store, and so I have tried several non-chemical pain relief methods.
I have never had great success with chiropractic though I know many, including 2 of my kids, who go regularly with excellent results. I haven’t been to a chiropractor in quite some time as I got tired of hurting more when I left than I did when I went in.
I also tried deep tissue massage. LOVED this although it is NOT a relaxing Spa-like experience! I would still be doing this on a regular basis except that it is not covered by my insurance and it just doesn’t fit in the budget.
Physical therapy was of limited help. Partly because the therapist massaged my neck every time I went. Loved that. But eventually I had to acknowledge that although my therapy appointments were pleasant … I wasn’t getting lasting pain relief!
Heating pads help some times, especially at night when pain is keeping me awake. And cold packs have frequently brought me relief from end of day neck pain. Especially when stress is complicating things. I keep a number of cold packs in my freezer so they will be instantly available. By the way … a bag of frozen veggies, especially peas or corn, works great if you don’t have an ice pack available.
One thing that we tried, although not long enough to know how well it worked, was a TENS Unit or Muscle Stimulator. These basically send a very small electrical charge into the nerves or muscles in the painful area causing them to move or stretch. The sensation, while not pleasant, is not at all painful. It’s sort of like a tiny pinch. As soon as I unhooked from the machine the sensation ended. Unfortunately my insurance declined paying for the unit and we couldn’t afford to pay cash for it. Especially not knowing if it would bring lasting pain relief in my case.
I have been seen by several neurosurgeons and told that surgery is not an answer in my case. I’m not sure whether I’m glad to know that or not. I really don’t like the idea of surgery on the nerves in my neck. But I hate hearing that there is little or no chance that my chronic pain will ever end.
For now … I get steroid shots in my neck 3 or 4 times a year. I take medication to manage the pain daily. And I use heat and cold to deal with flare ups as needed. And I try to remember to be grateful that I get some pain relief in those ways, that the pain is not worse, and that I am still independently mobile!