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    Need advice for chronic neck and back pain
    An_251972 posted:
    My boyfriend is 23 and has chronic neck and back pain. He broke his neck the first time when he was 2 years old, had surgery, and then found out his neck was broken again at age 15. He had another surgery, but his body rejected the cadaver bone they used and it broke again at 16. He went under a third surgery, using a bone from his hip. He has a lot of wire inside his neck, and he is always in pain. I guess he was told after his third surgery that he'll most likely have arthritis by the time he reaches 30 years old. He'll take half a bottle of Advil if I don't keep an eye on him just because he's looking to have a pain-free moment. He doesn't have health insurance so he can't be on a pain regiment, and I feel very helpless. I massage his back and neck every night but it doesn't really do anything. Does anybody have similar chronic pain and advice on how to deter it from interfering with his daily life? Or any home remedies that will help ease his pain? He doesn't want to be in this much pain for the rest of his life and I certainly don't want to see him suffer like this either. Thanks.
    smann68 responded:
    Hi. I'm not sure if this will help and maybe he's already tried this but he could try heat and or ice therapy everyday. Sometimes you have to do it for a while to get the best results. He could also try some type of massager.

    Hopefully there will be others write in with better avenues of help.

    I hope you get the help that you're looking for and he gets some relief. Tell him to stay away from taking too many over the counter pain meds otherwise he may just add to his trouble.

    Best of Luck!
    An_251972 replied to smann68's response:
    Thanks for your reply. We've tried both heat and ice, and he prefers heat but it's never really enough. Most days the pain is mild and easily manageable, but other days like today, it's excruciating. I know he can't ever go to a chiropractor, but I'm trying to save up money for us to get on an insurance plan that would cover acupuncture. I promised him that I'd explore every option so that he will be able to see and believe in a pain-free future, I hope something works out!
    davedsel replied to An_251972's response:

    Have you searched for free or low-cost clinics in your area? In some areas there are even free or low-cost pain management clinics. IMHO, your boyfriend needs some type of medical attention asap even if it is a general practitioner for now. Eventually he should see a spine specialist.

    Many states have affordable health insurance programs. He may also be eligible for medicaid.

    Do some research and see what assistance you can find for his (and your) medical needs.

    I pray you can find answers and relief soon.

    77grace responded:
    Hi and Welcome to our community,
    Is he in to much pain to work?
    Can he get medical??These are questions that would help so I know more of what to say!!!I'm sure the natural thing syou have tried ,like Ice and heat!!!There are new pain patchs that help some people!The best I've heard of latley is Salon paz!I It come in differnt forms,just find the strongest and place where he has the most pain ,keep using it and it may help!It has Capsasen pepper in it and sometimes it doe's help me!I also suffer neck and ack pain!
    Let me know if it helps,77grace
    ctbeth replied to An_251972's response:
    Greetings from Connecticut~

    First, did your bf have orthopaedic only, or also neuro (spinal cord) injury from the vertebral surgeries?

    If he does have spinal cord injury, there are agencies that offer financial assistance for medical care to persons with spinal cord injury.

    A great, and under-utilized resource is phone 2-1-1. That is the community resource phone line. It is available now in most of the fifty states. It is free to use. They can provide you with many possible agencies who can help.

    Second, I'm relieved that he and you know to avoid chiropractic no matter what. With the bf's history, a chiro could paralyse him for life- or even kill him.

    Acupuncture? Probably harmless, but probably useless as well.

    There are many treatment options for neck pain following orthopaedic cervical vertebrae trauma, but he would need to be evaluated by a medical professional.

    Thankful to read that most days the pain is mild and easily manageable (sic). When it's excruciating, until he can get medical care, heating pads, topical cream and ointments, NSAIDS, et al, can be useful, but temporary.

    Seriously, if he gets insurance coverage, he may be best served by seeking medical care first rather-than acupuncture as acupuncturists are not versed on diagnostics.

    An MRI or CAT scan will offer valuable information that is out of the range of knowledge and practice of an acupuncturist .

    Best wishes,

    h0402 replied to davedsel's response:
    I know that there's a community clinic in our area, but I'm not sure how much they'll be able to help him because of his lack of health insurance. He can (and will) apply for a basic medical card, but from what I've heard it's a long road before he'll be able to receive it. Thank you very much for your response.
    h0402 replied to 77grace's response:
    Hi Grace,

    You know, I truly believe he has too much pain to work so I had him file for disability, although he didn't want to. He feels like it's wrong because he's not "disabled", as he says. He's so young and feels like less of a man because he can't work or provide for me. But just the other day, he was in the yard for about two or three hours doing some work, and was in so much pain for hours afterwards. I want him to not further damage his body without hurting his pride in the process.

    Also---I believe he will definitely be able to obtain a medical card and/or disability once it's processed because not only does he have this chronic pain, he's also almost completely deaf in one ear because of a cyst he had when he was a child.

    Thank you for mentioning the Salonpas! I'll definitely look into it.
    h0402 replied to ctbeth's response:
    Hi Beth,

    Thank you for your reply. I don't know if it was strictly orthopedic or neuro injury, but I'll find out and see where I can go with that information.

    And an even bigger thank you for the 2-1-1 phone number information! Never heard of it, but excited to call. Every suggestion is a step in the right direction.

    He's been to the emergency room twice in the past eight or so months because the pain has been so bad, and each time they've done a CAT scan. They told him that he has so much scar tissue in that area that when his muscles go through the normal "wear and tear", they don't heal as quickly as a typical persons would, which would explain his pain. I'm sure that once he gets a basic medical card, we can figure out a way to get that scan sent over to a doctor for further evaluation. I just hope that day comes soon because we're both sick of ER doctors telling him that he'll be in pain for the rest of his life, no matter what he does. It's very discouraging.
    ctbeth replied to h0402's response:
    I'm so pleased that you came back to our site and that you and he are pleased with some suggestions.

    I'm typing on my new iPhone so pardon typos. My daughter gave it to me for my birthday and I love it!

    How interesting in that I also "broke my neck" in an auto accident and other injuries front the accident includes one side deaf.

    Next, I am wondering why he is not participating more in his care. It is important that he advocate for himself- albeit sweet and kind of you to help, he has to be pro-active as well.

    If he has spinal cord injury, this would exhibit itself in loss of motor or sensory; he'd surely be aware.

    Have you two thought any more about his seeing the MD who did his last fusion? Having established himself as a patient with this MD, the MD may be willing to see him along with a payment schedule

    Do let us know how the 2-1-1 referral call goes.

    Best wishes,

    ctbeth replied to ctbeth's response:
    How brilliant that he is able to work outside for three hours! If he were to pace himself- work a little, test a little, work a little, rest a little-then he would probably not experience as much pain the following day.

    I can tell from your discussion, that you really care about him and want to be as helpful as you can, but it is important that he make his own decisions about applying for disability et al.

    How does he feel about your participation in this community? Has he any inclination to participate? He may have some thoughts that he'd like to share here or questions that members may be able to help.

    Please keep us updated

    h0402 replied to ctbeth's response:
    I agree that he needs to be more pro-active, and I know he cares about his well-being but he has a lot of medical bills from his past surgeries and recent ER visits. He's very prideful and is obviously having a hard time accepting the fact that as he gets older, his pain continues to get worse. In all reality, he shouldn't work. He's a musician, a very talented guitar player and singer (so I assume this means that there was no spinal cord injury since motor and sensory skills are okay) and even when he sits in the studio for hours at a time, he hurts. If sitting for hours hurts, I can't imagine him being able to ever have a job where he's on his feet day after day moving and bending.

    We've discussed calling the hospital to get in contact with the MD who did his last surgery, and he's all for it. Haven't had a chance to call 2-1-1 yet, probably not for another day or two at least with how busy my schedule is.

    He also has no idea that I've joined the WebMD community yet. I'm with him all the time, and he tells me everything. The questions he always asks me are, "When is this going to end?" and when I ask how I can help, he just says he doesn't know. I told him I've been doing some research on chronic pain management on my own. It's not that I won't tell him, I just kind of decided the other day that Google can only help so much, and that I needed more specific advice. I don't think he'd be offended about the story of his pain, but he may be upset that I brought up the hurt pride to complete strangers.

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