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What A Pain In The Neck!

GotMetalBoy

Power User
I've had issues with my neck, left shoulder and back that are all caused by pinched nerves in my neck. I haven't been able to play guitar for over 2 months and the pain is worse than ever before. It's weird bc my left arm feels numb to touch but has extreme pain kind of like multiple tetanus shots. I have full motion in my arm and my shoulder doesn't crack or grind.

I have a doctor appt tomorrow and wondering if anyone has experienced similar issues and what they did to fix it. I have high deductible insurance, so I don't want to waste a ton of money on unneeded tests or xrays. I know most health insurance companies don't like to pay for a MRI but if that's what I need, I don't mind paying out of pocket.

A little off topic but I'm going crazy not being able to play guitar. Anyone know of any Guitar virtual instrument plugins that sound realistic and can palm mute and make string noises like mutes? As long as I can still compose music I'll be able to keep my sanity.


== UPDATE Wed 7/31 ==
Thank you everyone for the kind words and info! :)

I went to the doctor today and I have to go for physical therapy next Wednesday. I was prescribed 100mg Gabapentin (Neurontin) 4x a day and also take every 4 hours 200mg Ibuprofen and 500mg Acetaminophen.

I also have to go for an ultrasound next Wednesday because my liver tests haven't been good. I don't drink alcohol and tested negative for Hepatitis A, B and C, so not sure what it could be.

Regarding music, I found 2 Guitar virtual instruments that look promising:
1. Musiclab: Realeight: https://www.musiclab.com/products/realeight/info.html
2. Orange Tree Samples: Evolution Dracus: https://www.orangetreesamples.com/products/evolution-electric-guitar-dracus
 
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Geezerjohn

Fractal Fanatic
Sorry to hear that you are feeling poorly. I can only suggest that you have the doctor appointment and see what they say. You might consider chiropractic care. Some people think that such treatment is like voodoo, but I had chronic back pain and the chiropractor fixed the problem. I do hope you are feeling better soon.
 

Project Mayhem

Experienced
I know this going to sound crazy, but I have had amazing results with acupuncture (elbow, couldn’t even lift a coke can). I was a huge skeptic but saw some pretty remarkable results that my cousin got, so I decided to give it a shot. That was 25 years ago, and haven’t had a problem since. For what it’s worth.

CBD users also report positive results in terms of inflammation... its cheap and easy to try.

Hope you find relief
 

dpeterson

Axe-Master
I've had 2 cervical fusions. The pain is no joke, debilitating. After the procedure, it's like a switch was turned off, pain gone. Recovery takes a while, each time was about 2 months total. Cant lift anything as heavy as a gallon of milk, and the collar is something else to try to get used to.
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
What you are describing is called radiculopathy and it's a serious condition caused by cervical disk disease (stenosis).

They will take x-rays first and then probably try physical therapy and traction. If that doesn't work then it's an MRI and likely an ACDF (anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion).

Like Dave I've had a fusion. It's an unpleasant operation and the recovery is long but it works and the pain relief is almost instant.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
I've had 2 cervical fusions. The pain is no joke, debilitating. After the procedure, it's like a switch was turned off, pain gone. Recovery takes a while, each time was about 2 months total. Cant lift anything as heavy as a gallon of milk, and the collar is something else to try to get used to.
What you are describing is called radiculopathy and it's a serious condition caused by cervical disk disease (stenosis).

They will take x-rays first and then probably try physical therapy and traction. If that doesn't work then it's an MRI and likely an ACDF (anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion).

Like Dave I've had a fusion. It's an unpleasant operation and the recovery is long but it works and the pain relief is almost instant.
Would I be able to work during the recovery?

I have a stand up desk at work that moves the entire 4ft x 8ft desk up and down and I could get a special chair. I could also work from home and have a stand up desk and special chair. I work in IT and answer calls, chat / messenger, reply to emails and remote into PC's. I use 3 22" monitors, a Logitech M570 trackball mouse and a Kinesis Freestyle with VIP3 kit split keyboard.
 

dpeterson

Axe-Master
Would I be able to work during the recovery?

I have a stand up desk at work that moves the entire 4ft x 8ft desk up and down and I could get a special chair. I could also work from home and have a stand up desk and special chair. I work in IT and answer calls, chat / messenger, reply to emails and remote into PC's. I use 3 22" monitors, a Logitech M570 trackball mouse and a Kinesis Freestyle with VIP3 kit split keyboard.
Yes I worked towards the end from home as I am a programmer. First couple weeks though I doubt you will want to. I just sat and watched a lot of movies. Can’t get the incision wet, showers are fun with plastic wrap haha.

One thing I’ve done at home and work since is to get the monitors up to eye level so I’m not bending my neck down. I have monitor stands at home and a dual monitor mount for work.

Good luck.
 
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hippietim

Fractal Fanatic
When I was born I had torticollis. Basically, your neck muscles shrink and your head gets pulled to one side. I had surgery as a baby and again as a toddler - head and torso cast is not fun. When I was 18, I got rear ended at a dead stop by a car doing 40-50 mph. Within a few years, neck pain started. I’ve lived with ever increasing neck pain for the last 30+ years.

About a year ago, I started having problems playing for an extended period of time. My fingers on my left hand would seize up briefly or shake. When this happens at a gig, it really throws you off. I’ve played some odd stuff to compensate along the way.

I kept putting off doing anything about it. Then my shoulder began to hurt. It got bad enough to where lifting something like a gallon of milk the wrong way would hurt like hell. I stopped playing between gigs to see if that would help. Of course not. But I’m hard headed. @Larry Mitchell came my way for a few days which was awesome but I couldnt play much and I really wanted to steal some licks. Shortly after that, I actually had to cancel a gig because my shoulder hurt so bad and my hand was shaking when I tried to play.

So I talked to a friend who is an exceptional PT who directed me to one of his colleagues that does diagnostic work along with being a PT. I’m an idiot. Literally, after the first hour session I got noticeable relief. Each time I go there is measurable improvement. As it turns out, the torticollis and accident over time has caused me to favor certain neck positions that weaken the muscles and misuse my rotator cuff and shoulder. There’s tons of tissue in my neck and shoulders and surrounding areas that is hard as a rock. My shoulder was actually forced forward. All of this was causing strain and bad pressure on the right (wrong) vertebrae to mess with the nerves in my fingers. I’m sure I’m not stating all of this exactly right but that’s the gist of it.

At this point, my shoulder movement is about 75% of the other side, my neck movement has improved significantly, the neck pain is down to where it was probably 15 years ago, the shaky hands are happening less often, I haven’t had my hand seize up in a while, I’ve made it through some gigs, and I’ve been able to play more and more. Of course, the last month has been killer at work so I’ve barely had time to play.
 

Rich G.

Experienced
I've been having pain in my neck for years. It often radiated to my right shoulder and down to my right elbow. After some trips to the Dr and X-Rays they said "I have a neck of a 90 yr old" and left it at that... which did nothing for the chronic pain. I did a lot of research and came to the conclusion that I had "Tech Neck". At least after 30 years of programming it seemed to be the most plausible explanation. I began to do exercises (look up Tech Neck on YouTube) whenever I could. Basically pulling your chin back to correct your posture. After about a year the pain radiating down the back of my arm is nearly gone and shoulder pain is no where near what it used to be.
 

muudrock

Experienced
Best of luck with a diagnosis and treatment. I know how back neck and back pain is. I had an L3 burst fracture and it's amazing how unbearable any kind of spinal issues can be. Not the same as you, but I know how you feel. Good luck!
 

JoKeR III

Power User
With a lot of the suggestions seen in the forum when it comes to gear, this is actually the last place I'd ask advice about symptoms I'm experiencing. :smile:

Seriously though, absolutely check with your doctor and definitely ask about acupuncture. I was a naysayer for a long time until it was a 'last resort'. Very impressed with the results and the extent of what it can cover.

One final thought - Stay positive and hopeful! What you think and what you say have a HUGE impact on how your body reacts and heals. Keep strong, I sincerely hope everything works out for you.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
Thank you everyone for the kind words and info! :)

I went to the doctor today and I have to go for physical therapy next Wednesday. I was prescribed 100mg Gabapentin (Neurontin) 4x a day and also take every 4 hours 200mg Ibuprofen and 500mg Acetaminophen.

I also have to go for an ultrasound next Wednesday because my liver tests haven't been good. I don't drink alcohol and tested negative for Hepatitis A, B and C.


Regarding music, I found 2 Guitar virtual instruments that look promising:
1. Musiclab: Realeight: https://www.musiclab.com/products/realeight/info.html
2. Orange Tree Samples: Evolution Dracus: https://www.orangetreesamples.com/products/evolution-electric-guitar-dracus
 

TG3K

Power User
You've gotten lots of good advice, and I hope the docs can get you feeling better soon.

Best of luck with a diagnosis and treatment. I know how back neck and back pain is. I had an L3 burst fracture and it's amazing how unbearable any kind of spinal issues can be. Not the same as you, but I know how you feel. Good luck!
Brothers from a different mother? I also had a bad burst fracture of L3 in 2001. And I know you and I (as well as most of the others posting) can empathize with the OP regarding how debilitating spinal pain can be.
 

muudrock

Experienced
You've gotten lots of good advice, and I hope the docs can get you feeling better soon.



Brothers from a different mother? I also had a bad burst fracture of L3 in 2001. And I know you and I (as well as most of the others posting) can empathize with the OP regarding how debilitating spinal pain can be.
Yes! Painfully so! But with work, you can get past it.
 

kakairo

New Member
Sorry to know that you are so painful, I hope you have successfully got rid of the pain now. I have been suffering from neck pain since last year. The medical treatment is short-lived and I have stopped using them. Chiropractor and acupuncture treatment is currently the most effective physical therapy for me. In addition, during daily working hours, I have to use a heating pad for the sore neck to relieve pain. I found this to be very effective.
 

GotMetalBoy

Power User
Sorry to know that you are so painful, I hope you have successfully got rid of the pain now. I have been suffering from neck pain since last year. The medical treatment is short-lived and I have stopped using them. Chiropractor and acupuncture treatment is currently the most effective physical therapy for me. In addition, during daily working hours, I have to use a heating pad for the sore neck to relieve pain. I found this to be very effective.
It's been almost a year since my neck issues got real bad but I'm about 99% recovered. My left arm and right leg no longer go numb. I've been trying to play guitar more but it's like learning to play all over again and gets very frustrating because my fretting and picking hand don't stay in sync like they used to. What's strange is my left arm was affected by my neck but my left hand works almost like normal but my picking hand is so sloppy now. I played guitar almost everyday for 30 years and then barely played for the last year but I'm hoping it won't take too long to get back to playing like I used to.

I didn't get surgery but had to make a lot of changes in my life. I use a Cervical Traction Kit ( Amazon product ). I replaced the water bag with different sized weights because I was afraid one of our cats would puncture the bag. My doctor wrote my work a letter, so I could work from home, so I can use my Cervical Traction Kit during my lunch break and when ever my neck starts to hurt. I bought monitor stands, so I don't have to look down at my screens and a chair with adjustable head rest and lumbar support. I make sure I sit up straight or lean back in my chair and don't slouch forward. I no longer play heavy weight Les Paul style guitars and play Ibanez RG guitars that are under 7 lbs. I use a Mbrace stand ( http://mbracestand.com ) when I play bass guitar. I try not to look down at things for extended periods of time and hold things up to look at them like my cell phone. I use 2 tennis balls in a sock and place the sock behind my neck ( Search the internet for "Tennis Ball Massage" ). I tried to use a TENS unit but found it addicting, which can cause more harm than good and muscle burn, so I stopped using it. I had to go on depression and anxiety meds because I started to feel very helpless because I couldn't do many things around the house, yard work or pet hygiene stuff like brush their teeth, cut nails or clean their ears. Luckily I have an amazing wife that's been very understanding and taken care of most of the things I couldn't do.

I feel very lucky that I've been able to recover without surgery because I know that's the only option for many people. I've had to learn to know when to stop doing something and not push myself because an extra 10 minutes trying to finish something can cause a couple weeks of pain and misery. The Tennis Ball Massage has really helped a lot. You can also use smaller racket balls or golf balls.
 
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