Although I have had 2 surgeries on my cervical spine for ruptured discs and lax ligaments (am now fused from C3-C6), I am now told that I have significant osteoarthritis at C1-C2 (atlanto-axial joint) Accupuncture did relieve a lot of the associated muscle spasms but I still get bone pain sometimes even at the base of my skull. I've also wrenched the left side of my neck twice in the past 6 weeks at work. No arm or shoulder pain, in fact only symptoms for prior surgeries were nerve pain in arm - never had neck pain!
At no time did any doc tell me I had OA. I specifically asked this new doc if he saw any disc or bone spurs at that level and he said no. Lab work for RA was all negative.
I have not had a similar experience but I am wondering how long it was between the time you were told you had no evidence of arthritis in your neck until the time you were told it was there and significant? Did they test you for more than RA? There are over 100 different types of arthritis. What are they treating you with for the pain and arthritis? What solutions have they offered you? What kind of specialist are you seeing?
My last ACDF was 2 years ago and 12 month post op check was excellant. This neck pain started 6 months ago, but didn't see a new ortho spine doc till 3 1/2 months ago when all simple home remedies just weren't helping. This doc asked if I had RA and I said 'not that I know of'.....his only advice was to stop all range of motion stretches/exercises and do comfort measures only, ie tylenol, and let him know immediately if I get worse. So went to PC doc and she ordered the usual RA list of labs, all negative, and started me on Mobic. Consult letter to PC from spine doc said I had 'significant OA of C1-C2.' Even with Mobic, I found myself still needing Advil. Have now stopped Mobic and am using Advil and tylenol as needed. Per PC, I do have an appt. with a Rheumy for a 2nd opinion in June, but to be honest I am not hopeful that this doc will know how to read an xray......
LOL, rheumy's are among the sharpest docs around. The thing is there are so many autoimmune conditions sometimes you have to shop around to get one with the right experience and with whom you can work well. June feels like an eternity when you are in pain and in limbo. Hang in there and keep us posted.
Thanks for your interest....at least I am functioning and can work. Pain in left side of neck and up into base of head is starting to get bad again. I may see if I can get some accupuncture again to tide me over.
Everytime I looked at the 'ask a doctor' section of this web site, it always says no more questions. I wonder if they have just stopped using that portion......oh well.
Some of the ask a doctor forums fill up fast. Try to hit the site earlier as that may up your chances of getting your question submitted.
I know that accupuncture helped me a lot when I was going through the diagnosis process and waiting for the right treatment to be identified. I hope it gets you relief, too. Have you tried using anything topical like biofreeze?
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