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difficulty swallowing

snoopyssnoopy Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I just wanted to let everyone know about my experience with severe degenerative disk disease in my neck from C 1 through 7. I am in terrible pain and I'm not able to tolerate any kind of narcotic. I have a collar that I wear for a little while during the day and it seems to help. I always thought that my problem choking and difficulty swallowing was because of my neck problems. I thought it was the spurs blocking my esophagus, but it was not that. In reality it was the nerves that were being pinched because of them. I went through hell to find out that it was my neck all the time causing my problems.. They thought I had myathenia gravis and did all kind of tests, now they have reached the conclusion that it is my pinched nerves in my neck. Apparently the nerves from C 1 TO C3 supply the most of the body's vital organs and when they are not functioning properly they can cause all kind of problems. Choking and difficuly swallowing is one of them. The neck is the main nerve suppy for the breathing muscles, the heart, swallowing, speach; thyroid.. I looked up neck chart on the internet and it helped me realize a lot of my symptoms were being caused by my severe neck problems. Accupucture is supposed to help with the pain. I can't afford it right now unfortunately and reflexology, accupressure all help to take the edge of the pain without narcotics.. I am also taking gabapentin for my nerve pain. I hasn't helped yet but apparently it takes a long time to kick in. Time will tell. Nerve block injections I have not tryed and I'm afraid to take them. I'm waiting to go to the spinal cord clinic in Toronto, but it is a long wait and my last hope, smiles. I am in terrible, unbearable pain sometimes and it knocks out my quality of life, but I still struggle to be hopeful of a better tomorrow. Good luck to everyone with these problems and I hope to hear from everyone The best my partners in pain.smiles Darlene


  • Hi Darlene,

    What sorts of testing have you had? Did they do a complete swallow test to confirm the diagnoses? The one thing if the compressions are that bad you can go to your local ER, should your condition worsen. I am not a big fan of using the collars, as they tend to break down the muscles of the neck. I realize you can't take narcotics but there are other medications that might help, such as a anti-inflammatory. Also if your not having luck with the gabapentine there are also other medications they can use, depending on the dose, they can also up the dose. I know myself I was up on 2,400 mgs of it. I have sense switched to a different med, at the time using lyrica, but I do use narcotics as well.

    As far as your neck, did you have a mri done? Keep in mind while all levels might show something they may not be symptomatic. Nerve root injections are often done as a diagnostic tool to find which levels are symptomatic. I have had many of them over the years and they are not that bad. I also always look forward to the relief they provide even if it is short lived. It sometimes resets the pain cycles. You are correct the neck controls all the organs. But your looking at the cords on those levels not actually the exiting nerve roots. So if you have a complete cord compression, you might want to see about sending your films to the institute and moving your appointment up. Just a thought. Good luck and keep us posted, hope you feel better.
  • Do you have any health benefits? I know a Physiotherapist who does acupuncture and it's covered under Physiotherapy benefits or $40. for a 20 minute treatment. PM me and I can send you the address since I can't post the name of the PT place online but it's near Woodbine subway.

    Also keep calling once a day to see if there's a cancellation and to be put on a cancellation list.

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • I am in search of what to do or try next? I am very angry at my surgeon Dr. Wright, who told me I'd have a swallowing disorder for up to 3 months. I am now 10 months post op & still having problems swallowing. People have joked with me about being with the "in" crowd" I can now enjoy all the smoothies I want. I personally don't think its funny! I cannot swallow meats in any form without choking, as well as any crackers,breads,pasta's. There's nothing left living in a small town where they do not have fresh produce. But even that without meat (protein), it gets old. My throat is now starting to get worse. I hardly ever eat candy , but ate one Iv'e never tried before, only to have it burn all the way down my throat. I had a 5 vertebrae fusion with titanium. Minimal problems with movement, which is expected. Arthritis of the lower neck, expected, but continued swallowing problems? There's got to be something wrong in the hardware. Went to an ENT last week, good to know my ears look clean, but that has nothing to do with my swallowing disorder, except at times there's fluid on my R. ear & voice changes periodically. Went to a gastroenterologist yesterday & are repeating a barium swallowing test next week. I find this test it shows I can swallow soft foods/liquids just fine. Yes the prior barrium test show I can drink thick milkshakes, to thin milkshakes, water, a tablet smaller than the size of a dime & not to worry, if it can't be swallowed it starts to dissolve in your mouth, same thing with what they call "stardust" like wheat germ, it too starts to dissolve if it can't be swallowed. Another words this test is a joke! Yay for the baby food makers, but that's not what I want for meals. What they need to give me is dry crackers with water near by to show the difficulty I'm having swallowing. & get real about my situation, instead of using me as a patient for insurance purposes!
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