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pain in the neck….

Posts: 15
Joined: Dec 2012

Can anyone out there recommend therapies/ treatment for chronic neck pain due to radiation? Having difficulty holding my head up these days! Don't have much muscle in neck and shoulders and what is there isn't very strong. Seeing speech therapist for issues with vocal chords, also due to radiation, and she has noted the deterioation in muscles, etc. Anyone else having these problems? Is there physical therapy for this? acupuncture? Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks!

Posts: 16
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi 40yearsand counting:

I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with the neck/shoulder pain but you are definitely not alone with this. I have been experiencing the same issues plus pain in my upper back. For the last few years, I have been going to a rehab Dr who works primarily with long term survivors at Sloan Kettering. I have gone for physical therapy which is designed to strengthen the area along with proper positioning and posture. The goal is to hopefully slow down the process though as of now, there is no known way to stop the deterioration. There are also meds used for pain control but I have elected not to take any at this time. I do use lidoderm patches when the pain gets to be too much. I also go for medical message about 1x per week which I find does help a bit. I believe there are others that have had some success with yoga. There's nothing wrong trying different modalities such as acupuncture but you might want to talk to a Dr that's familiar with your history and your symptoms before trying anything new.



Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2011


i also have similar symptoms to you and the other writer which developed 15 years after radiation.  My problems arise from RFS as well as osteoarthritis off my neck.  i also went to Sloan Kettering, learning about its expert long term survivors clinic.  I am very grateful I learned about the program through someone on this website.  The physiatrist gave me a Headmaster Collar which added to my my function and quality of life. (Amazon, Health MegaMall and numerous other vendors.) I also have PT, deep tissue work, postural and core exercises.  In addition to helping you with neuro and ortho problems, the internist  there can help you know what to do in respect to ongoing monitoring of yourself with vaccines, routine tests.  He can also explain the cause of all those wierd symptoms and lab results we all get.  Good luck!


allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010


 This information might help and may be worth having a discussion with your doctor. I was born with Klippel Feil Syndrome and have always suffered with neck and shoulder pain. I had botox injections in my shoulders and neck 15 years ago, but did not benefit from it. If the structure of my cervical spine had not been deformed at birth, the doctors felt I would have had better results. The injections did not do any harm, but also did not relieve my pain. Can't hurt to ask your doctors if this could benefit you. Neck and shoulder pain is not fun! I use a heating pad nightly, and take over the counter Anacin to get relief. Please share back, if you find something to relieve the pain. I for one would be very grateful to find a solution. Best wishes...Sue

(Follicular NHL-stg3-grd2-typA-dx 6/10-age 63)

Botox Injections Reduce Chronic Neck and Cervical Muscle Pain

Oct. 13, 2012 — A study presented at the Anesthesiology 2012™ annual meeting revealed Botulinum toxin type A (BOTOX) injections significantly improve pain and quality of life in people with chronic bilateral posterior neck and shoulder myofascial pain syndrome.Traditional therapies for the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome include medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), steroids and muscle relaxants, physical therapy and behavioral modification."At best, long-term benefit with traditional therapies is transient and unpredictable," said Andrea L. Nicol, M.D., M.S., Director of Research -- UCLA Pain Management Center, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Anesthesiology -- Division of Pain Management, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Even with these treatments, some people with myofascial pain syndrome get incomplete benefit or no benefit at all."BOTOX is used commercially to treat multiple painful medical conditions, including migraine headaches, spasticity and cervical dystonia. It is also used cosmetically as a means of reducing the appearance of frown lines and wrinkles."BOTOX is in a class of medications called neurotoxins and when injected into muscles, blocks the nerve signals that cause the tightening of muscle, leading to muscle relaxation. Thus, BOTOX may offer advantages over traditional therapies for myofascial pain syndrome due to its prolonged and sustained effects," Dr. Nicol confirmed.

About the Study: The study was conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles by Chronic Pain Management Specialists F. Michael Ferrante, M.D. and Andrea Nicol, M.D. All subjects who enrolled in the study were given injections of BOTOX into the painful muscles of the neck and shoulder area during the first phase of the study. Subjects with significant improvement to BOTOX treatment moved on to the second phase of the study and were randomized into two groups. Subjects in the treatment group had BOTOX injections into the painful muscles of the neck and shoulder area. Subjects in the control group received a placebo injection (salt water) into the painful muscles of the neck and shoulder.Those enrolled in the study were monitored intermittently to assess their response to the injections. Pain scales and questionnaires were administered to document response and perform data analysis.Analysis of the results revealed subjects who received BOTOX injections had:

  • A significantly greater reduction of their pain scores compared to those subjects who had received placebo injections.
  • A significant reduction in the number of headaches they experienced on a weekly basis. A significant reduction in the interference of their pain with regards to general activity, sleep and enjoyment, indicating an overall improved quality of life.
    • The severity of the subjects' headaches (numerical pain score rating) was reduced.
    • Given the findings of this study, BOTOX may be an option for those who have been suffering with myofascial pain syndrome and have yet to find relief with traditional therapies.


Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 2560
Joined: May 2012

I saw the caption to this thread, and KNEW it could NOT be about my wife ! Sorry; she is a profound blessing, and is all that got me through chemo.

40 Years,

You mntioned acupuncture.  My brother had a severe head injury about 12 years ago, and got vertigo so bad he could not walk well for a long time, and kept severe headaches.  We went to numerous doctors, to no avail.  He finally went to a Pain Management specialty group, and they tried (after some other therapies) acupuncture .   It worked, almost instantly.  It took about two months of return treatments before he was 100% over the symptoms, but has not had headaches or vertigo again since, which as I said was nearly 12 years ago.   He is a believer in it.

It is "worth a shot !"  (Sorry !)   I hope it resolves you neck issues,


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