The Pain of Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Approximately five years ago, I found out I have a condition called cervical spinal stenosis. A previous article I wrote regarding this medical condition entitled Cervical Spinal Stenosis, explains how I found out I had the condition, as well as my personal account of living with it after surgery. I didn’t include information on dealing with the pain of cervical spinal stenosis, because at that time I wasn’t dealing with the pain. I was simply tolerating the pain. Recently I decided I was tired of suffering, and I visited my family doctor. The following information provides my personal account on dealing with and managing pain associated with cervical spinal stenosis.

Pain in the Neck?

In my particular case, there are times when I’m completely pain-free, and other times when I’m very uncomfortable to say the least. Most of the time I wake up feeling pretty good, and by the end of the day I’m in pain. It depends on what I’ve had to do, and what I’ve been forced to do.

Most grocery stores in my area no longer carry out groceries as a service to their customers. The only store that does is considerably more expensive than other stores. This means I sometimes have to lift things I really shouldn’t lift, but what seems light to most can be extremely heavy for me. Lifting a full gallon of milk with my right arm is a challenge, let alone heavy bags of groceries and other necessities. When I’m forced to lift things I shouldn’t, I pay the price later.

Although my neck bares the scar of surgery on cervical discs four, five, and six, I don’t feel pain in my neck. It’s generally a dull uncomfortable pain that runs across the top of my back above the shoulder blades. Sometimes the muscles tighten, and it’s hard to pinpoint the real source of the pain.

Move it or Lose it

My experience with cervical spinal stenosis has made me realize the more I am inactive the more pain I experience. My situation seems to fit the phrase move it or lose it. If I don’t get enough exercise on a regular basis, when I do have to perform certain activities, I’m weaker, and I experience more pain as a result. When I was working in a moderately active job, I suffered less, and I felt stronger than I currently feel.

If you recently had surgery for cervical spinal stenosis, if possible, consult with a physical therapist to perform and learn muscle-strengthening exercises. At the very least, ask what you can do at home to improve strength in an effort to avoid muscle strain and pain. The adaptation of the 5 Tips for Speedy Back Surgery Recovery can be done through the person. The normal living of the person will start in less time and strength will be received to handle the pain. 

I unfortunately did not receive the amount of physical therapy I needed. After my surgery, my insurance company would only pay for therapy at a location approximately forty miles from my home. Driving 240 miles each week to receive physical therapy wasn’t feasible, especially in my condition.

My Advice to Those Suffering With Pain

It’s never a good idea to unnecessarily take prescription pain relievers for cervical spinal stenosis or any medical condition. Some can be habit-forming and highly addictive, but if you have cervical spinal stenosis, need pain relief, and aren’t finding it through therapy, exercise, or over-the-counter pain medication, by all means seek the relief you need.

I lived with the intermittent pain of cervical spinal stenosis after surgery for almost five years before seeking help. After recently realizing I had forgotten what it felt like to live without pain, I decided to consult my family doctor. I was tired of pretending everything was fine when inside I was screaming in pain.

My doctor understood my needs and prescribed medications to help manage the pain. He said I would have to manage it for the rest of my life, but that wasn’t something I didn’t already know. I just wanted to find the relief I so desperately needed. I was tired of hurting.

Prescriptions for Pain

I was prescribed 350 mg Soma tablets that can be taken up to four times a day. Soma is a muscle relaxant that relieves muscle pain through the nerves. I was also prescribed 50 mg Ultram tablets for pain relief. One tablet can be taken up to four times a day as needed.

I have 7.5/500 mg Vicodin tablets for severe pain. I can take one tablet every eight hours if need be. Since I recently filled the prescription, I haven’t needed the Vicodin. I’ve taken Vicodin in the past after a physical injury, and I don’t like the way it makes me feel the day after. I call the aftereffects a Vicodin hangover. It isn’t pleasant, and I can see how it could become addictive. Some would probably take it again just to combat the aftereffects.

I don’t take any of my pain medications unless I absolutely need them. Soma and Ultram can be habit-forming, and it’s a well-known fact that Vicodin is a narcotic that can be highly addictive. I’m just happy that relief is available when and if I need it.

No one with cervical spinal stenosis or any other medical condition should suffer needlessly. Prescription medications for pain are nothing to be ashamed of if they are taken strictly for their intended use.

If you have spinal cervical stenosis, ask your doctor for pain relievers that are right for your particular condition, and seek the relief you need. You deserve to live a pain-free life.