Re: cervical and thoracic spondylosis
I'm sorry you're in so much pain, I really feel for you. I have lumbar and cervical spondylosis. I also had severe lumbar spinal stenosis for which I had surgery almost 3 years ago. Recently, though, my neck has started in again and sounds a lot like your symptoms. My pain is in my neck and goes to both sides, but is worse in my left shoulder area. I also sometimes get sudden nerve pains as well as tingling in some of my left hand fingers. I've not had this checked out yet, though...no x-rays or mri's done, but I have a feeling I either have a herniation or perhaps now cervical stenosis.
I certainly know exactly how horrible all the pain is as I've dealt with it for many years now and I just turned 40 not too long ago. My low back and neck problems started when I was 33 or 34. I also know how it is when you just cannot sleep or lay down at all with that terrible pain. I've had what I now think is nerve pain in my hands in the past that woke me up from sleep. I've also had severe sciatica that was 24-7 no matter what position I was in. I could not sleep at all either when I had that! OMG! Then it's a double whammy because not only are you in severe pain, now you can't sleep either and that affects your immune system, you get sick easy, you feel blah and foggy. It sucks.
I am not sure if you have nerve pain, though it sounds like you might. It sounds like yours might be following a dermatomal path, which would make sense. Do you also have muscle spasms in your neck, shoulder, or anywhere else?
I will tell you what helps me somewhat, at least better than anything else I've tried in the past. With the help of my PM and a lot of trying different combos of meds, I now take tramadol, soma, and lyrica. The lyrica is used for nerve pain and I have found it seems to lessen mine or it's not as severe for so long. I have been taking Lyrica for about a year and 1/2 now, so you might want to ask your doctor about it. There's another similar medication called neurontin. I have found that Soma is the absolute best muscle relaxer for me, anyway. It works very well in controlling all my muscle spasms and cramps. I do still get them, but not as terribly severe as before I took Soma. I currently have spasms in my neck and shoulders, and yes, it does hurt, but I am so used to pain now, plus I know Soma does help because there have been times when I skipped a pill to see what would happen and oh boy, did I get much worse. The tramadol does help a tiny bit with some of my joint pains.
Another thing I have found and have read others post..is that pain killers do not seem to help nerve pain at all. I know I have tried vicodin, vicoprofen, percocet, and darvocet in the past when I had nerve pain or sciatica..and none of these drugs really helped. The only one that seemed to help just a little was Vicoprofen (combination of vicodin and ibuprofen - painkiller and an anti-inflammatory), but it still no where near relieved my nerve pain enough. Oh yes, like someone else mentioned, the only other thing that helps my spasms somewhat is moist heat. You can buy all sorts of moist heating pads. I have one that has some little beads inside and you heat it up in the microwave. It's designed just for the neck and shoulder area and also has a tie string so it stays on (it's not a small heating pad). I heat it up, put it around my neck and it feels great. But..it only helps while the heating pad is on. Once I take it off, the spasms are right there.