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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    7 years of severe chronic cervical and thoracic pain

    7 years ago I injured my neck, since then the pain has gone from sore all the time to the point where I'm barely out of bed. In winter it is twice as bad. My symptoms include deep pain in those areas and sometimes sharp pain when I move. The area is very tender to touch. My shoulders rise towards my ears and my high back and shoulders get so fatigued very quick. When I lay down and take all weight off my neck and high back, the pain lowers 30-40% in 30 minutes. I have to wake up every 2 hours and move the area about, otherwise, when I wake in the morning I'm absolutely destroyed. My CT scan of the area is remarkable. Instead of it just being in the neck, the pain is now 6 inches long. But 7 years ago I had small c6/c7 disc prolapse. Please, I need advice on this I'm thinking it could be a version of arthritis.
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  • 1


    Brian Lee


    I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 and have worked in various healthcare settings, including primary care, private practice and community health services, … View Profile

    Not sure how long has this Q been here for, but I think the reason why you don't get response here is because the Q you asked is a big Q, and is just not going to be properly answered with a couple of paragraphs. 

    Just to put your mind in ease, from your description, I think the issue is more to do with muscles than joint. Just because you find pain is worse during winter, it doesn't mean everything is joint related, heat/cold affect all structures. 

    Many people have some degree of disc bulges that are asymptomatic, given that you had CT scan that show nothing remarkable, again it further strengthens my preliminary thought that your problem isn't joint related. 

    This is all the advice I can provide without seeing you in person. I believe you got good chance of recovery if receiving proper care from a physio who knows what he is doing. If you are not in Melbourne, try to find a physio who had good experience dealing with chronic and complex conditions, as I think general sports and musculoskeletal physio in private practices had less exposure to those difficult cases that are often seen in public primary care (not hospital physio)

    Good luck, hope is still out there

  • 2


    James is passionate about osteopathy, it’s philosophy and works with facilitating the bodies innate drive for health and balance. He enjoys teaching patients about how … View Profile

    Agree with the answer above. This can not be simply answered in a couple of paragraphs.

    When pain has been around for a long time, the body gets really good at running the same pattern big problem is that the nervous system becomes hypersensitive and is hyper protective to anything which it deems to be a threat.

    So what we can't do is just work with the affected area and hope that pain is going to away. We need to deal with the sensitised nervous system. It's a bit like a engine light on the dash board of a car. The light comes and it tells us there is a problem, now we can get rid of the light by pulling out the globe but it's not dealing with the problem. Likewise we might not find anything on the CT's or MRI's (the engine), but still have the the light come on. The bigger problem is actually with the electrics. This is what needs to be addressed.

    It is important to seek an individual consulation with someone that works with pain patients. Pain clinics in melbourne are fantastic but often you are waiting up to 2 years for a consult. 

    There are a couple of video links here which you might find some value in

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