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Happy new year everyone ... I hope those who indulged last night aren't stuck too deep in the hole now ... and that everyone's feeling well and hopeful for a year of improved health.

I for one am looking forward to getting a better grip on this neck thing and getting myself out of pain. I'm going to need to be persistent and dedicated, and I'm going to have to do what I'm told, which is hard for me. :)

MRI & X-ray results show arthritis throughout my c-spine, a bulging disk at c5-c-6, and reverse curvature of the spine. The pain from last Weds through Monday (before and during the X-mas weekend) was unbelievable...the worst I've ever exerienced. The stress of cross-country travel didn't help the pain, I'm sure, and my guts shut down for the five-day stretch. Luckily, I was able to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist 2 days after my return (just enough time to get copies of the films)--and then I started physical therapy the very next day (last Thursday). I've been trying to faithfully do my exercises...I'll see the physical therapist twice a week for the next 6 weeks. Cortisone shots were also offered, but I think I'll wait to see if the therapy does the trick.

I liked the PT--and I think we'll make a good team. I'm going to teach him about POTS and he's going to teach me how to strengthen all the pertinent muscles and improve my posture and more, I'm sure. He said a few things that were especially interesting ... like that the pain I was in was absolutely the cause of my guts shutting down. (I think I remember him saying that was due to the increase of sympathetic nervous system response ... or was it decrease? help!) I had assumed it was POTS ... but no--this kind of thing can happen to anyone. I do believe that pots can cause an exaggeration of symptoms, tho.

I feel like I could be prompting some contradictory replies by writing that ... and I don't mind. I'm just sharing the information I received, and it makes sense to me. They both said that these neck problems (seen in scads of people over 40) are not the cause of dysautonomia nor are they an effect.

Just something else to be managed right now ... sigh.

That's all I got. Neither the doctor nor the PT had a theory to offer about the arm-cramp-middle-of-the-night autonomic storm of 12/1. Maybe a new electrophysiologist I'm seeing Jan 12 will have a clue. Until then, no cookie for you!


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thanks for updating us on the mri...i was definitely wondering what you had heard.

your spine sounds like it is in snazzy shape...not! :)

i hope that the PT is helpful. do you think your pain is flaring from it? that is what i found and had to back off. you have to work and find a balance. sometimes the pt's go so much by the book they forget to take in your individual differences. sorry, a little soap box there. please forgive me.

it sounds like you and the pt will be a good match personality-wise, which is always a big plus.

not exactly a great 'happy new year' piece of news. but i hope that it does mean that you will be able to help your pain and manage it better...

as you know, i think charlie brown says it all with, good grief!



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Oooof! Sorry your spine is kind of like mine :) I also have a retrograde curve in my neck. In addition to that, I have scoliosis that runs from my mid c-spine to my mid thoracic--I have known this since high school--and I compensate pretty well.

Yes, those guts shutting down can be excruciating. Sorry to hear you've now had that torture too.


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Just wanted to share that I get pretty "bound up" any time I travel, especially by air, but also by car. Not that it adds or detracts from your PT's theory. :lol: I think, too, I don't drink as much and certainly don't move/exercise enough on the road.

I continue to be interested in following both (Merrill and MightyMouse) of your back and neck issues... mine has been really awful the last week or two. More weird stuff... more "internal" tremors at rest, more shocks or sparks, weird twitches and a sensation that almost feels like my cat is purring inside my calf, or heel, or alongside my spine. And, of course, the regular pain and nerve burning. Gotta love the body... it can do some pretty strange things.

Of course, it doesn't help, I'm depressed tonight. My husband took our kids 3 hours away to stay overnight and ski all day tomorrow on the fresh snow. Geez, it killed me to see my ski stuff stay in the closet!!! But, I wanted them to go and have fun. Yesterday was my one-year anniversary of my ski accident that went "down hill" leading me into spinal trauma and POTS. :blink:

Any suggestions for back pain and neck pain relief, please share! New set of films will be done at Mayo in February... that is, unless it gets too bad before then.


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i am not sure all of the things that you have tried for pain...

lately i am finding that wearing a soft cervical collar some of the time during the day is brining me a huge amount of relief. more than anything, i am just vain! and i hate that part of wearing it! isn't that terrible? i'm embarrassed to admit it!

also, love my tempu-pedic stuff.

some days, heat helps, others not.

i like the analogy of your cat purring inside you! :blink:

sorry you are having a down night! i am too! (does that help a little?) :lol:


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Emily-- you bet it helps...

My hubby just called to say their hotel is nice. Balcony looks out to the slopes and overlooks the outdoor hot tub. Just me and my kitty cat here, listening to the rain turn into freezing rain.

Ok, so you're the one about the Tempur-Pedic... I have sleep apnea, too and wondered if that might be a good pillow to try. Do you order it online through their web site?

Oh, and let's see, I just counted the Kleenex boxes around the house, including the living room...7! Plus 1 in the car. And the Bounty brand napkins in the kitchen work in a hurry and don't hurt the nose too bad! :blink:

Boy, I need to go to bed. I'm getting beyond depressed and headed into loopy.


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Ginger, a one-year marker for any kind of life hurdle is tough, but the anniversary of your accident must have been difficult indeed--especially with your family trudging off to the hills to play in the snow. I feel for you right now ... Focus on how icky cold wet mittens feel and frozen nose hairs and lungs and what it's like to think your toes will fall off 'cause they're so cold... then snuggle up under a blanket with a warm cup of cocoa and watch Elf on dvd and giggle... That'll set you up with joy again...

I imagine you went through weeks or months of physical therapy after your accident. True? You might consider talking with your physician about starting up again and targeting the parts of you (cervical spine?) that are causing you more grief right now. It could be that in healing the parts that were injured before caused a certain kind of compensation in the muscles of the back that are now affecting your neck ... and you can work on strengthening them, reteaching them how to function, in order to alleviate the pain you now have.

Are you expecting to have an MRI done in February at Mayo? Regular X-rays? (I had x-rays first, then MRI.)

That's what's going on for me, I guess. I've had 2 sessions...the first was mostly talking and then learning a few exercises; the second was hands-on massage and gentle manual stretching/manipulation and also some excercises with a weight on a pulley and also an "arm bike."

Emily, I asked the orthopedist's nurse (I had to call the office after I saw him) whether a soft cervical collar might help alleviate the pain, and she said they don't recommend wearing a collar for anything other than a very brief period of time because it "teaches" the muscles to be lazy ... whereas the goal is to strengthen the appropriate muscles through physical therapy and exercise and posture so they can take over again.

BTW, the PT told me that problems at c5-c6 is quite common in the general public--the most common spot for bulging disks and other c-spine problems. (It's not a particular for us pots people ...it's the part of the neck that takes the most stress/wear and tear b/c it requires the greatest flexibility etc)

As for pain relief during a particularly bad spell: I take 400 or 600 mg of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours (I like to get on it and stay on it...for a few days til the worst passes) ... I also sit under a hot shower for a while; moist heat tends to loosen things a bit.

Hope you feel better soon! Take good care,


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Merrill, glad that you have a plan that will hopefully help reduce the pain you have been enduring. It is good if you can have a PT to work with you who is willing to learn about your illness. I have been lucky with PTs in the past who have taken an interest in my "uniqueness" and really tried to customize our work.

I have a soft collar and really would like to wear it more than I do. My neurologist said the same as what Merrill reports that the muscles will get lazy VERY quickly wearing the brace. He did tell me it is OK to wear in the car to stabilize my head. I have found that yoga and massage therapy have helped but if I get really bad pain, I will wear it a few hours.

Ginger, I can appreciate how you must be feeling. Our 3 kids were home for the holidays and after 3 days I ran out of steam. My husband and the kids had a lot of fun that I couldn't but I try to look at the fact that I did pretty good overall and I was just so happy to see them. I don't however think our families can fully appreciate how we want them to have a fun, lively life but that at the same time it can be devastating to be the one left behind.

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And yes, I'm quite warm in my PJs with the kitty on my lap. Oh, I'm wearing the ones my kids got me for Christmas... they are decorated in penquins... ON SKIS! Little turkies thought that would be very funny for mommy. My best friend gave us all ski patrol t-shirts, too.

Merrill-- I had a ton of xrays and MRIs and CTs with and without contrast earlier this year after the accident... showing the bulge at C5-c6 and even I think c6-c7 and also gradual degeneration in lumbars/sacrals. They orginally feared cauda equina syndrome, which is pretty dangerous. Also found a congenital defect, a transitional lumbar/sacral. Like a L6 only half is shaped and acts like a sacral vert. Weird, huh. So, yes, MRIs for sure, maybe regular films, too.

Well, I'll leave ya'll with a funny tale before I go fall asleep....especially given the holidays and feeling, like you said Geneva, left out...

We got the kids (big ones, too ;) ) a ping pong table for Christmas. Boy, do I love ping pong. Played it a lot growing up. Anyway, challenged my husband and even in my weakened condition, I WAS GOOOOD! My husband felt pretty lousy that he couldn't even beat me in my condition! lol So, he may be skiing, but I'm still the ping pong champ! :lol: Hummm, and I wonder why my back hurts! :P

Good night all


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Guest tearose

We are all falling apart! :lol: Time to open the dinet spa!

Sorry for the missed ski trip, for the aches and pains of the C5, C6 of which I too share, how about something different for pain relief..spiked cocoa! or tea with amaretto? ;)

Merrill, sounds like you like the maneuvers of the PT or is it the PT himself.. :P !!!

Just be sure to do the homework he gives you. I find that if I make the extra effort and do my home exercises faithfully, I improve so much faster and stronger.

So do your homework!

Feel better, tearose

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yes, i'm the tempur-pedic girl.

there are lots of imitation brands out there, but the foam is less dense and i don't care for them as much.

as for ordering...you can call the company or go on the web or see if you have a local furniture store that sells it. think it is just www.tempurpedic.com

the only thing is...once you call for info...you will never stop getting mail from them! oh well. there are worse things.

sorry i didn't get back to you sooner...i got sidetracked with this serious brain fog.

they have several different styles. so the one advantage of going to a store is being able to try the styles...b/c they are pricey!

hope this helps,


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