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Pinched nerve - agonising pain

(28 Posts)
DorothyL Mon 12-Feb-24 09:04:13

Can anyone advise?
6 weeks ago I woke up with terrible shoulder pain, which eased once I’d been up for a couple of hours.
After a week of this the pain worsened and is now fairly constant, keeps me awake all night and in agony much of the time.
Casualty doc diagnosed probable frozen shoulder but this was overturned by orthopaedic doc at GP surgery who says it’s a pinched nerve in neck.
I live in Spain - health service here wonderful in many ways but they prescribe drugs like smarties so I always check prescriptions before taking.
He prescribed Oxycontin, which I won’t take as it’s highly dangerously addictive, and 28 day tapering course of oral prednisone starting on 60mg daily.
I have cut the prednisone start dose to 45mg and am stopping after 10 days, tapering to avoid side effects/withdrawals - I have to do all this without medical guidance as docs attitude here is very much “do what I say or you’re on your own” 🤷🏼‍♀️
My questions are -
1/ Has anyone taken short or long course prednisone for pinched nerve? Please share your experience of effectiveness, side effects and withdrawals?
2/ Can anyone recommend a standard dosage prednisone treatment for pinched nerve??
Sorry, am of course aware you are not doctors! But I really have no choice but to seek advice from others who’ve been in similar situation.
Thank you so much 🤷🏼‍♀️

Jaxjacky Mon 12-Feb-24 09:06:40

Do you have physio available? My UK surgery quickly provided it for me which helped a pinched nerve in my groin.
I can’t help on the drugs, sorry.

dragonfly46 Mon 12-Feb-24 09:13:37

I too have been having problems with my shoulder and the physio at our doctors surgery sorted me out. I think exercise is the way to go.

BlueBelle Mon 12-Feb-24 09:14:20

Oh do go to a physio a sports massager or a osteopath
I had a frozen shoulder a long while ago completely helped by an osteopath, another time I had a really really bad back went to an osteopath and after three sessions of massages it was well on its way to being cured he gave me some exercises to do at home to finish it off ( he found the place immediately and also what was causing it )

Thoro Mon 12-Feb-24 09:16:48

Can't help with drugs (I did have prednisone but for a chest infection) but would agree that physio is the best first option.

BigBertha1 Mon 12-Feb-24 09:42:37

I think if I was going to tinker with drugs prescribed by a doctor I would get some advice from a pharmacist first. The I would get a physio app.

TinSoldier Mon 12-Feb-24 10:27:16

Firstly, prednisolone is a powerful anti-inflammatory so I would only take it if it has been confirmed that the pain is caused by inflammation. I’d be wary of a doctor who prescribes highly-addictive opiods such as Oxycontin.

Secondly 60mg of Prednisolone is a large dose, usually the maximum that is prescribed for anything not least because of the effects it can have on the body.

Prednisole will quickly take over the natural function of the adrenal glands which is to secret steroid hormones. That’s why the taper is necessary - to coax them back into performing that function.

Long-term users of Prednisolone will know that you have to taper very slowly or symptoms will return. I have to take it sometimes for a relapsing and remitting auto immune condition. Even when I am in a severe flare I am prescribed no more than 40mg a day orally. It’s necessary to control severe inflammation but it makes me feel utterly wired and unable to sleep at night even when I take it in the morning.

That said, if you do have some temporary inflammation, then Prednisolone should work quickly and you should start to feel a measure of relief within a few days. if it doesn’t work then it’ll be a good indicator that the problem isn’t inflammation.

Finally, make sure you check the contraindications. Make sure it is safe for you to take.

pascal30 Mon 12-Feb-24 10:57:55

You could try shiatsu or sports massage.. I find more effective than drugs

DorothyL Mon 12-Feb-24 10:58:07

Thanks so far to all those who have kindly replied.
I have been going to private physio weekly since this began (not available on state health here until months after diagnosis), but although she is marvellous she has not yet been able to fix it.
She agreed I take short course of steroids 5 days + 5 day taper off. We both agreed I should ignore doc’s 28 day prescription!
The pain has been brutal and unmanageable 🥺 and the steroids immensely relieving, but I would not take as painkillers - am on,y taking I hope that short steroid burst will calm inflammation so help healing.
Does this make sense?? 🤷🏼‍♀️

annodomini Mon 12-Feb-24 11:34:24

Bowen Therapy worked for me. I know that many people are sceptical when I mention this, but if you're at your wits' end, this gentle, yet effective, therapy could do for you what it did for me. Here's a link which explains it better than I can.

foxie48 Mon 12-Feb-24 11:58:01

I understand your reluctance to take oxycontin but as someone who is currently taking it with gabapentin, which is also addictive, I thought I'd share my experience. I needed good pain relief following a recent accident, not just so I could sleep, move and have a reasonable quality of life but also so I could cough and breathe. Amongst other things I'd had a pneumothorax and then developed a lung infection. I spent two week in hospital on a huge cocktail of drugs. I've found tapering off the drugs has been fine, it's been done slowly with instructions to take notice of my pain levels and to try to ensure I stay "comfortable". I've had side effects ie nausea, constipation and feeling very tired but the pain management has been excellent. Obviously your choice about what you wish to take but I wouldn't want anyone to read your post and think it's an unsafe drug. Taken under medical supervision for the right reasons it is a very effective slow release pain killer ie it's effects last for 12 hours. Frozen shoulder is horrible, I hope it gets better soon. I'm sure you know this but it is important to keep some gentle movement going.

HelterSkelter1 Mon 12-Feb-24 14:51:33

Can you book an osteopath appt? I have found them better than a physio for the back and neck problems I have had.

Luckily I live next door to the clinic of the one I have used several times so very easy to hobble there.

TinSoldier Mon 12-Feb-24 15:07:12

DorothyL. What you wrote at 10:58 makes sense.

As the Presnisolone seems to be working then it must be some localised inflammation.

I did look up frozen shoulder on the NHS website. It says this:

It's often not clear why people get a frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder happens when the tissue around your shoulder joint becomes inflamed.

The tissue then gets tighter and shrinks, which causes pain.

Frozen shoulder can happen because:

you had an injury or surgery that keeps you from moving your arm normally

you have diabetes – it's still unclear why this is, but it's important to have your regular diabetes check-ups to catch any problems early.

The American Diabetes Assocation says: Doctors aren't entirely certain why people with diabetes get frozen shoulder more often than people who don't have diabetes. It could be a result of high glucose. One theory: Glucose molecules may attach to the collagen of the lining of the shoulder, making an already stiff area even stiffer.

I don’t have diabetes but I do know that sugar can aggravate my own inflammatory condition, even natural sugars in foods. Sweet potato is a big culprit as are other foods with high levels of mannitol, for example, watermelon.

If the problem reoccurs, it might be worth looking at your diet.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 12-Feb-24 15:28:48

You need a chiropractor!

Cossy Mon 12-Feb-24 15:39:55

Cannot advise on drugs BUT I get a lot of trapped/pinched nerves.

Strongly recommend sports massage or physio or even acupuncture. Ice pack or hot pack for some immediate relief.

BlueBelle Mon 12-Feb-24 16:58:10

Osteopath would be better than physio I didn’t get very far with physio

M0nica Mon 12-Feb-24 18:24:05

DH had this prohlem about 10 years ago. His GP prescribed paracetamol and amiltrryptin (?), which was useless and was vey unwilling to refer him on, so we went private.

The private consultant replace amiltryptin (?) with gabapentin, which did work, sent him for an MRI scan to exactly diagnose his problem, followed by 3 steroid injections into hi shoulder. Done under Xray in order to ensure each injection went into exactly the right place. pain killers topped immediately and he hasn't had a twinge in his arm since.

JdotJ Wed 14-Feb-24 11:15:48

You say you are having physio - is it possible to have this alongside hydrotherapy. Worked wonders on my frozen shoulder a few years ago. I was due an operation on my shoulder but, because I was sole carer for my elderly mother, my Consultant decided steroid injections plus the exercises would be preferable. They lasted 10 weeks plus resistance bands used alongside but it definitely worked.

Pmem Wed 14-Feb-24 11:29:28

I had a similar problem which was resolved with alexander technique lessons. You should check to see if there are any teachers in your area. Best treatment I have ever come across.

4allweknow Wed 14-Feb-24 12:05:36

I too would try physio. Whilst you are juggling the dose of your medication, are they having any effect? If so, why not continue until end of course. If not, well, physio seems your next option. Good Luck, so awkward as affects head, neck, arm movement

Sawsage2 Wed 14-Feb-24 12:14:43

I had a frozen shoulder, no treatment (hate gp's, hosp) lasted 6 months, couldn't turn round in car etc. My friend had one, had lots of treatment, still lasted 6 months.

Jacksgrandma123 Wed 14-Feb-24 12:41:15

I had steroid injection for frozen shoulder which resolved it almost immediately. Hope you feel better soon

Gaping Wed 14-Feb-24 14:03:53


You need a chiropractor!

Very rarely put anything on here but wanted to share my experience with these conditions. I have had trapped nerve in the neck twice and, on one occasion, at the same time as frozen shoulder (in both shoulders at one point.
For the frozen shoulder my GP tried injecting in the shoulder but it didn’t help. Nothing really helped with that other than exercises with a stretchy band recommended by a physiotherapist.
The only thing that helped with the trapped nerve was a chiropractor as suggested by Grandtante

FranP Wed 14-Feb-24 15:34:26

Ibuprofen to reduce any swelling/ inflammation and an Osteopath to re-align everything. Even when your trapped nerve slips back into place, the local muscles will be "screaming" so rest and painkillers will help, so give it a bit of time

Mojack26 Wed 14-Feb-24 16:27:43

Yes I thought prednisone was steroid for breathlessness and chest infection not for a pinched nerve or possible frozen shoulder???? I agree with everyone else physio and I would get another opinion