Best way to sleep without nerve pain? - Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical Myelopathy

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Best way to sleep without nerve pain?

Dap005 profile image

Hi I have cervical kyphosis and I am struggling to sleep at night because of the nerve pain that's across my arms and legs. I was wondering what others have done to relieve their pain when sleeping and seeking advice.

I'm away from my GP and parents' home at the moment though I do plan to see them again once I go back home in two months time (when there's no lockdown).

I have attached my MRI so that it's easier to understand what my issue is (taken a year ago on holiday). I'm mostly fine during day time so long as I don't look at screens much but really struggle to sleep and lay down at night.

Best regards


7 Replies

try elevating legs or knees in bed. i need to change positions every two hours it seems. no idea on arms tho

Are you sure you have stenosis, from these MRI scans there is no evidence of stenosis. Where did you have the MRI and why were they done?I find naproxen helps a great deal in pain management for my cervical spinal stenosis.

Dap005 profile image
Dap005 in reply to jointpain

Sorry I got it mixed up should be Cervical kyphosis I think (got them done when I was experiencing pain on holiday in China so I got the translations mixed up, over a year ago, symptoms of numbness and pain have worsened since then). Thanks for the advice.

jointpain profile image
jointpain in reply to Dap005

Also known as military neck! Using neck supports in bed may help. I hope you get help with this soon. All the best.

First I would start with your pillows , do you take medication for the nerve pain and numbness there are drug's out there that can help pregabilin and Gabapentin ..I to suffer from cervical myelopathy and it effects your life .🙏

MyelopathicMe profile image

Hi Danwen

Firstly, a disclaimer - I am not a medical professional, therefore do not have the expertise to interpret your MRI scans.

But I can tell you what I see - you definitely have lost the natural curvature of your spinal column aka lordosis - hence the diagnosis of Kyphosis. Your vertebral column is naturally S shaped, but yours has straightened out. I notice you have loss of height in your intervertebral discs - this is because as we age they "dry out" so not much to cushion you from neck movements. It was difficult for me to zoom in on your scans, but I couldn't see any apparent stenosis.

BUT when you are in bed, if your neck is in the wrong position, especially if you sleep on your side or front, it may well be compressing your spinal cord intermittently. Now the spinal cord, like the brain doesn't feel pain itself. However, if you have a trapped spinal nerve root which worsens when you lay down, then you can start to have neurogenic pain - itching, burning, tingling, numbness & weakness. Depending on which nerve root is affected will affect different areas of your hands & arms - check out this link & see what parts are affected - it may well ring some bells for you.

As your spinal column naturally tried to stabilise your neck with the formation of bone spurs aka osteophytes when under strain, it could be your have something like that compressing your spinal cord intermittently.

You definitely need a second opinion as soon as you can, so a referral to a neurologist in the first instance would be the way to go. They are the medics who are great at prescribing suitable meds for neurological pain e.g. antidepressants such as Amitriptyline, Duloxetine - which are not for low mood in this instance. Some folk take anticonvulsants which are also used in this scenario such as Gabapentin & Pregabalin. What works for one person may not work for another - it's a try it & see scenario I'm afraid.

In the meantime, things you can do yourself, find yourself a neck rest & a comfy pillow. Some people swear by ice packs/sprays to help with the pain - personally I prefer a warm wheat bag. Mindfulness, relaxation & meditation are other techniques you can try but it takes practice.

If you continue to have problems, you will definitely need to be followed up.

In the meantime, I wish you well going forward

Shirley (Mod)

Dap005 profile image
Dap005 in reply to MyelopathicMe

Thank you Shirley, I believe my kyphosis is related to a football accident and bad posture combined (did a lot of computer work before in uni and school) as I'm only 24 and have this issue already. I went to GP before the pandemic started and they have prescribed gabapentin and muscle relaxants and will see them again when I get back home, hopefully they can refer me to a neurologist.

But thank you for all the information and advice , I've been experimenting with different pillows and positions to minimise impact on my nerves and will take this onboard.

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