Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

Heel and neck pain !

Posted by Constantin on 5/07/05 at 21:59 (174457)

For the last 18 months I have neck pain and heel pain. The Neck pain is located behind my head sometimes with reflection over all skol. I did an MRI, the doctor said that I am dealing with an advance form of arthrites. I had to take Mobic or Celebrex. None of them improved my situation. I change the pillow, I wear a special collar, but nothing helped.
I do not know what to do. Sometimes the pain is very strong. I have to lay down.

About the Heel pain, I did a couple of ultrasound therapy for only 5 minutes. It did help. I have to continue with this treatment. I am suspecting that is a connectr
ion between those two problems. What do you think ?

Re: Heel and neck pain !

KW on 5/08/05 at 19:03 (174529)

Acupuncture is very powerful and may be worth a try.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Jim M. on 5/10/05 at 11:42 (174647)

I could not hold my neck up, and I went to an acupucture dr. and it helped. After nine years of pain, I went to a physical therapist that showed me how to stretch my neck and the pain went away completely . I occasionally get it back, so I streatch my neck and it goes away again. All I do is put my hand on the upper part of the back of my head. I tuck my chin to my chest and lightly push my head forward and I hold it there for 90 seconds. Then switch sides. A physical therapist can show you the exact way to do it. Keeping your ABS in shape will help also. I do crunches on a swiss ball, so I don't hurt my lower back, and it helps stabilize your entire body. Three times a week for about 7 mins will do the trick.

jim M.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Julie on 5/10/05 at 16:11 (174655)

Crunches are not a good idea for anyone with a neck problem. Unless they are done absolutely correctly and precisely, they will strain the neck. Even if they are done correctly, they don't stabilise, because they strengthen the superficial rectus abdominis ('six-pack') muscles and not the deep stabilising muscles.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Jim M. on 5/11/05 at 06:01 (174687)

Thats why you use a swiss ball and go back as far as you can. A physical therapist can show you the proper way.

Jim M.

Re: Re:Crunches

Julie on 5/11/05 at 06:34 (174691)

I'm sorry, Jim, but we've got a difference of opinion here. I've been teaching bodywork for 20 years and I would not give abdominal crunches, Swiss Ball or not, to anyone with a neck problem. I made my post to discourage Constantin from doing crunches with his sore neck.

In any case, recent research indicates that crunches, which are strengthening exercises for the rectus abdominis muscles, do nothing for the deep stabilising muscles, the transversus abdominis, which are much more important, because their function is to stabilise the spine and support the inner organs. If the rectus muscles are worked very strongly, (as when people do hundreds of crunches thinking they're 'strengthening their abdominals') they start taking over the function of the transverse muscles, which they aren't meant for and can't do efficiently; and the transverse muscles are weakened. Also, if rectus become too strong, they overdo their function as spinal flexors, and lead to hunched posture.

This isn't to say that crunches are a 'bad' exercise - but they do tend to be overused.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, you can read a good article explaining it at http://www.lisafitness.com/articles/func_sports_cond_full.html

Re: Re:Crunches

Jim M. on 5/11/05 at 07:48 (174694)


I don't want to cause you anymore pain than you already have and I am not a certified trainer, but I have been in the Marine Corps for 19 years and I am familiar with pain and physical fitness.

I agree cruches or situps without proper neck support are bad and that trying to do 300 like some people do are bad. I think that is what injured my neck many years ago when I first joined the Marines. I have been running and carrying heavy packs on my back for 19 years now and I am familiar with every type of pain that can affect the bottom of your feet to the top of your neck. If you have a bad GAIT, this could lead to PF, TTS, and Morton's disease. It will also contribute to lower back pain, shoulder, and neck pain. I have never had any doctor help me with any of the above problems. I have had acupucture, physical therapists, Birkenstock sandals, and lower back and abdominal exercises reduce the pain significantly or completely. It may not work for everyone, but I just want to let you know what has worked for me, because I lived with lower back, neck and shoulder pain for nine years until last year. It is nice to wake up and be able to move my neck. I just came back from Afghanistan last month and my PF has become so severe that I could barely walk. I have since had custom orthodics made from foot maxx and I bought some Birkenstock sandals with the cork footbed that I wear inside the house at all times. This is the first time in 4 years that I think I may get rid of the PF pain. I will keep you update on that too.

Jim M.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Julie on 5/11/05 at 08:50 (174697)

Constantin, I hope you will get an opinion from one of the doctors here. If you changed your gait due to your neck pain, this could have affected your feet, but I doubt that there is a direct connection between the arthritis in your neck and your heel pain. There is often a connection between lower back pain and heel pain, because branches of the sciatic nerve serve the whole of the lower limb, but the nerves in the upper spine supply the arms and torso.

You might like to investigate memory foam pillows: try: http://www.tempurpedic.com/TempurCMSVB/pillows/millenniumpillow/ . They are made to support the head and neck in line with the spine, and might give you some relief at night. Also, have you considered consulting a pain doctor? The medication you're taking isn't helping, which suggests you need something stronger. Pain can and should be dealt with, so ask your doctor to refer you to a pain clinic.

Please do not do ANY exercises with your neck unless they have been prescribed for you by a doctor or physical therapist who has seen you, knows exactly what your problem is, and has shown you what to do and how to do it. The neck is a delicate structure, and when the discs have degenerated, which is what happens in arthritis, it needs to be treated very carefully.

Regarding your heel pain, have you read the heel pain book? It is free on this website and full of information about heel pain and how to deal with it. There are many conservative treatments: proper shoes with good support, orthotics, taping, ESWT, and many others. Print it out and read it, and come back with any questions you have. And if you have not seen a podiatrist (foot specialist) ask your doctor to refer you to one.

Take care.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/11/05 at 21:35 (174778)

Has anyone checked you for a leg length discrepancy? Here is a typical pattern (not necessarily yours): the long leg is the one with heel pain, there is a hip drop on the side with the shorter leg. When the hip drops or dips below the level of the other hip the head goes in an opposite direction to the hip drop -- sort of a 'snapping' of the neck to the opposite side of the hip drop with every step one takes.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

John H on 5/12/05 at 09:36 (174817)

I have the TempurPedic memory foam pillow Julie. Got it at the same time I got the Tempu mattress. Great pillow for neck support.

Re: Re:Crunches

John H on 5/12/05 at 09:43 (174818)

At many health clubs they have a device for doing crunches that supports the neck and head as you do them. Jim I remember at one time when a Marine held the worlds record for situps and chinups. I am thinking the number of situps was around 2000 and chinups perhaps a 1000. Some sort of dude to do this. I thought I was good doing a 100 situps and 30 pullups.

I did communicate with a paratrooper who had a bad case of PF and a great toe problem. He had a chelectomy and some sort of other surgery. The last time I visited with him he was back to jumping out of aircraft.

Re: Re:Crunches

John H on 5/12/05 at 09:48 (174819)

Julie I do not know if you have seen the very simple devices that most health clubs now have to assist you in doing crunches. It completely supports your neck and head and there is no stress placed on them. All the strain goes to the abbs area. Having two fusions at the C4/C5 and C5/C6 level I have no problem what so ever. I usually follow that with some neck exercises. Of course everyone can have a different type of neck problem so ask your Doctor. Many Doctors have never seen the inside of a health club and may not be aware of the new devices to assist in abdominal crunches.

Re: Re:Crunches

John H on 5/12/05 at 09:53 (174820)


Take a look at this abdominal equipment. It supports the neck and head as you do your crunches. Inexpensive $49.00.

Re: Heel and neck pain !

Julie on 5/12/05 at 16:25 (174840)

We have them too, John - and are just about to order the small travelling size for our travels. They're very good!

Re: Re:Crunches

Julie on 5/12/05 at 16:30 (174841)

Yes, I'm familiar with these devices and have used them. Tension in the neck is still possible when using them. I was making two points: that Constantin, with cervical arthritis so severe he needs a collar, shouldn't be doing crunches. I haven't got time to go into any more detail about why crunches are not the great exercise for the abs they're thought to be - in brief, if rectus are over-activated, transversus are over-ridden, and this is bad news since transversus are the stabilisers - you but there is plenty of stuff on the web about it.

Re: Re:Crunches

Jim M. on 5/13/05 at 08:43 (174883)

Hey John,

Thinks for the info. I will look into the chelectomy. My Birks are really helping now. I may not need anything but some time to let my feet recover. The Marines are really into sit-ups and pull-ups!

Take care,

Jim M.

Re: Re:Crunches

John H on 5/13/05 at 09:41 (174890)

Jim I spent 21 years in the Air Force and we were probably wimpy when it came to physical fitness compared to jar heads. Not much physical activity inside a small cockpit. However we were required to run and had to meet some wimpy goal each year back in the 60's when running was not fashionable. A chelectomy is for a joint problem in the great toe. Not necessarily associated with PF. Somewhat like surgery for a bunion.

Re: Re:Crunches

John H on 5/13/05 at 09:55 (174894)

Tension in the neck is probably one the first place we feel tension from stress or anything else. I agree the crunches are sure not for everyone and anyone with a neck problem should check with their Doctor before doing any neck exercises. I have a good book that covers neck exercises for people with neck problems. It was written by the founder of the Texas Back Institute. After my neck surgery (fusion) some 25 or more years ago I was given a number of exercises to perform (not crunches). I recently had my neck x-rayed and the fusion is a solid block of bone with no deterioriation which should last me a liftime. I went back to playing basketball about 8 months after my fusion. As we age I would think we will all show signs of arthritis in our cervical neck area. I know 3-4 people who have had neck fusions resulting from degenerative arthritis. My problem came from a helicopter crash.