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Three months since I got a bionic neck

February 19, 2014

Three months ago I was in hospital feeling pretty good — the surgery had worked, I could feel my arm and I had come round from the anesthetic better than I had felt in months. In fact although I had some bad days, some tired days the next few weeks were all better than I expected post surgery.

Then I started to do things. Simple things like carrying a bag, going shopping, making tea (using a travel kettle) and driving short distances. Turns out my muscles in my back are in a bit of a mess. Depending who you talk to it may be that the muscles are damaged and healing but it may also be the nerves in the back recovering and growing back. Everyone says it is healing. Problem is it is taking a long time. I started physio 2 weeks ago – the first 2 sessions were with a private physio who did some soft tissue massage and gave me some simple exercises and then I saw an NHS one last week who gave me similar exercises. These will loosen the muscles in my neck and along my shoulders as they are currently very tight and probably the root of my pain. I am also doing rehabilitation swimming once a week which is helping too – even though I basically just float!

 The pain is mainly in my trapezius muscle which as you can see from this image is basically all over the back. It is probably coming from my neck. The muscles round my waist which are hurting are ones which you use when you lift your arms – they have probably been taking some of the strain whilst my trapezius is healing.

The best way I can describe the pain when it flares up is like a complete over reaction to the action I have done (often I can’t tell you what it was). It burns, it goes from no pain to agony in no time and there is very little I can do to stop it as there is very little warning when it is at its worst.

I have had days when I have managed to manage the pain but there is no real pattern to why that is.

I do think on the whole I am recovering from the bouts of pain better and quicker but on Monday I drove to see one of my best friends. She lives about 20 miles away and it is a drive I wouldn’t think twice about normally but by the time I had returned from her house I was in so much pain that despite taking diazepam, declofenac and co-codamol I couldn’t lie on my back, I couldn’t sit or stand. Even the pressure of a hot water bottle was too much. In the end I managed to find a position in my side where I was pain free but once I moved the pain started again. The pain hurt on my shoulder blades, my neck, down my back and round my waist. Breathing even hurt. Eventually after another diazepam and Alan coming home and rubbing some tiger balm in the pain was managable but I felt like I had gone back a few weeks to the pain I felt after eating out. Two days later and it still hasn’t totally eased. It feels bruised, burning and to be honest I am fed up. I want to go back to work, I want to be able to sit without it hurting, I want to be able to make plans and not have to cancel them. I don’t want to spend a week recovering from pain.

But whilst this week has been very painful on the whole things are improving. On top of the pain I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. I am now taking vitamin D pills and sitting with a light box which have definitely helped. Not feeling so exhausted or achey helps focus on the back as the only thing to recover from.

So, onwards with the physiotherapy and trying to manage the pain. Second NHS physio is next week.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim Parsons permalink
    February 19, 2014 10:57 pm

    I can’t imagine that level of pain, Helen. I presumed you would be fine by now and skipping along to your wedding.Hope there is a major change for the better before April. Cheers, Jim

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