Wednesday, September 3, 2014

it's just a pain in the neck, you know?

today, i went to my first physical therapy session for the pain in my neck and headaches that i have been having. i tried ibuprofen, a new pillow( always contour- better for your neck), and ice packs. then i was in so much pain that i tried the last resort- i went to my doctor, lol. i was pretty sure that what had caused this neck pain/headaches is  the fact that i am on the phone a LOT for my job, and we do not have headsets. we did not even have the neck rests that attach to the phone until a couple of weeks ago- i bought those myself. it helped a little, but i realized that i needed more help. so my doctor sent me on to physical therapy, which i like WAY better than pain medicine. but  that is another blog, so i will move on.

i first had to fill out a pretty extensive medical history. first  question: what activity makes your neck pain worse? my actual answer: going to work. next question: what activity makes your neck pain better? also my actual answer: getting off work. i also drew a smiley face here. despite this, my physical therapist took my situation seriously, thank goodness, and had some very interesting insights. first of all, he said that all the people who work at his office ( at the desk)  have headsets regardless of whether they have neck pain or not. so he said that he hoped that my employer would come through with a headset for me( it is still in the review process). in my medical  history, i mentioned my thyroid cancer surgery and the radioactive " chemo" that i received( a very big dose, by the way). the physical therapist said that he really thought that my neck issues had occurred from the surgery( who knows what is missing, besides my thyroid, 2 parathyroids, and 11 lymph nodes) AND the radioactive I-131. the I-131 damages the tissues and muscles, which i did not know until today, but i guess i should have guessed that it could do that. 

the therapist said that i have neck issues from the surgery and treatment that have gone unaddressed ( his exact words) since my surgery in 2010! the phone situation  at work just precipitated an already existing condition. so, what i want everyone to know who might read this blog, is to  take care of your neck! if you have on going neck pain and headaches, one or both, you should see your doctor! ask your doctor to write an order for you to receive  physical therapy. my therapist used traction on my neck today. i will not lie to you, it was not comfortable( it looked like an instrument of torture). but when i finished with the 15 minutes or so of traction on a low setting, i had a little better range of motion in my neck. he showed me some exercises to do at home, also. i think that i will see improvement ( i sure hope, that is) in about 4 to 5 weeks of physical therapy. after that, it is up to me to keep up with the exercises, and of course pray for a headset! 

sometimes i am surprised at what all thyroid cancer patients have to deal with! no, it is not the good cancer at all! there are unexpected health issues that are not always addressed, or even recognized, by our doctors or ourselves. we have to be our own patient advocate, as i have said before. you have to stand up for yourself, and for the good patient care that we all deserve. i sincerely  hope that  this helps someone, and i will certainly keep everyone informed about my " neck progress". oh, i did get great news today. i can go back to zumba class- i just have to avoid any " neck moves". the physical therapist said i should just maybe " wave my arms around" during those parts. ha,ha,ha- do you think that he has ever been to a zumba class???? :D


  1. Yikes! It's horrible your work won't just give you a headset, instead of making you wait while it goes through all this "review" stuff. I have neck pain too, but that's because I have fibromyalgia.

  2. yes, it is! i still have not heard anything about my headset, even though my doctor and physical therapist want me to use one. i have a prescription for one, but no one seems willing to step up and get one for me. i guess i will just keep pestering them until someone decides that they are going to have to do something so that i will shut up! lol

  3. update: my company has approved my headset request. now it has to be ordered- not sure when it will get to me, but i am relieved that things are moving in the right direction!