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Coat Hanger Pain


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#1 Mack's Mom

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 07:35 PM

I've recently come upon this term "coat hanger pain" & boy does it describe me! It's a severe pain I've been having across the top of my shoulders and into my neck. I experienced it alot in my thirties and it inexplicably went away. For the past week it's been back with a vengeance. I googled it and it's almost always linked to autonomic dysfunctions. Who do I see for help? My internist, an othopedic, a neurologist, a cardiologist? Help!!! I'm living on Aleve around the clock and I need more relief.

Thanks-
Julie

#2 ellen

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 08:08 PM

Yes I have coat hanger pain but when I described it to my old PCP he had never heard of it and dismissed my complaint as the most common complaint he hears "from people your age" (50). But I've had it since my thirties.

I got a new PCP who referred me to a rheumatologist, and she told me I have degenerative disc arthritis in my neck. I take Tylenol arthritis formula.

#3 Ernie

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Posted 28 August 2008 - 10:13 PM

Hi,

I take Proamatine.

#4 Sunfish

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 12:56 AM

yep...it's almost a daily thing for me but is DIRECTLY related to my orthostatic intolerance/ hypotension. if aleve is helping you some you may not be dealing with the same thing b/c the type i have - and that i've discussed with various autonomic docs over the years - is more blood pressure related than anything else. i'm on a good amount of pain medication for other issues and they do nothing for the coat hanger stuff. the only thing that relieves it is lying down...

so...in terms of who to see? true coathanger pain as it relates to dysautonomia is an autonomic issue so it's not likely that anyone but the autonomic docs will "get it". for me it's better the better my OI/ OH is controlled. as ernie mentioned also, midodrine is a part of that equation for me, though by no means does it alleviate the issue for me anymore (it used to.) i'm surprised you haven't heard the terminology before as i'm pretty sure it's been discussed on the forum several times....

sorry to not have a better fix to offer, but you're definitely not alone!
:blink: melissa

#5 jump

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 10:38 AM

I've found that gentle yoga that focuses on the shoulders, back, neck and arms helps a good deal. I think maybe because it increases the blood flow to that area? not sure. maybe it's just placebo, but it helps me!

#6 DelphicDragon

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 11:32 AM

This, along with tachycardia, is one of the first symptoms I get when I'm under too much orthostatic stress and need to lay down. It's caused by the brain "stealing" blood from the muscles of the shoulders and neck. The best way to stop this, I've found, is to lie down the minute it starts, if possible. That gets the blood back to the brain and also stops the pain. No pain medicine touches this one for me.

Sara

#7 flop

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 05:18 PM

Lying down is the best help for me but not practical to spend all my time lying in bed! I've found that massage is a huge help, my personal trainer does sports massage and I find it really beneficial. The deep massage stimulates blood supply to the muscles and my neck and shoulders are often warm to the touch for a couple of days after a massage.

The other thing that helps is (as always) water and salt loading, the better your BP is controlled the less likely it is that the brain will steal blood from those muscles.

It is also worth being aware that neck and shoulder pain is a very common complaint in otherwise healthy people and it can be caused by poor posture, using computers for too long and carrying things.

Flop

#8 Mack's Mom

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 06:42 PM

Thanks everyone for your information and suggestions. I'm so sad this old symptom is back. I do have osteoartritis in my neck from a car accident in my early 30's. The osteoartritis is always present, but this pain isn't. It comes and goes. It's been mostly gone for the past five years, but steadily present for the past week or so. It is unbearable, like my neck and shoulders can no longer carry my head. Lying down relieves it instantly. I checked and my BP is pitifully low when I stand up, 85/59. I'm guessing everything is flaring and this is just part and parcel of it.

In the past, I have found relief with Tylenol 3 and Vioxx. For now I am taking double doses of Alleve around the clock and can barely function. I'll have to see what my internist recommends. I know I'm burning the candle at both ends. School has been in session for over a month here in the South, and with our newly harried pace I've been getting too little sleep, etc. I drank lots of gatorade today and do feel a bit better. My heart breaks for those of you who deal with this daily. It is the worst.

Gratefully,

Julie

#9 kitchmill

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 01:06 PM

I agree that massage helps immensely! I have coat hanger pain almost constantly, and every now and then I get a good massage where they concentrate on the neck/shoulder/related areas and it really relieves the pain for a while. If you have a Healing Hands chain in your area, I highly recommend them! Reasonable prices, and well trained staff. (You don't need to go to a spa for a good massage.) The last massage I had, the therapist only did upper body so she focused the whole hour on mostly my neck and shoulders.

I have to say though, since I started Midodrine a few weeks ago, I feel like my pain has lessened... and my migraines have gotten better (although time will tell with that). I don't know if the increased blood flow to my brain has helped keep the pain away, but it sure feels like it!

#10 HoudiniCat

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:11 AM

I also got one of those little, inexpensive, hand-held vibrating massagers. Using it for a few minutes on the back of my head, around my neck and shoulders seems to give me some relief.