Monthly Neck Ache and Fatigue? Me too, here’s what I’ve tried

Ever since I had my first child I’ve had this annoying monthly neck ache.

And over the years it’s gotten worse!

My monthly neck ache normally coincides with my monthly cycle and is a hard one to describe to the doctors. It’s an intense ache in the muscle that runs from the top of my neck down to my shoulder tip. And it’s only ever on one side of my body at a time. It lasts a couple days before disappearing completely… until next month.

Pain killers take the edge off but don’t help completely. Massage makes it feel a little better, but doesn’t last.

The neck ache makes me irritable and hard to be around. Sorry kids and husband!

Then it got worse

The last couple years I’ve also felt extreme fatigue a couple hours before the neck ache sets in. The fatigue and brain fog lasts the whole time making it nearly impossible to concentrate on things or get anything done. Normally I listen to a podcast while doing mundane tasks, but when I have the neck ache and brain fog I need total concentration to do the mundane task (which for me is collecting and packing eggs on our farm). Too much noise hurts my head and so does too much bright light.

Sometimes I just have to lie down.

I so wish I didn’t have this pain and tiredness every month. It’s so so debilitating and unpredictable. It can come on within a week of my cycle which makes it hard to plan things because I never know when I will feel terrible.

Things I’ve tried to take away the pain

I often feel alone in this. None of the GP’s I’ve seen have any helpful suggestions. I often feel like they think I’m making it up when I try to describe my non-sensical symptoms.

I’ve also tried massage, acupuncture, and seen a natropath, but nothing seems to help. I’ve totally changed my diet when I thought I had liver issues that were causing my fatigue including cutting out dairy and meat and focusing on raw whole foods. Changing my diet in this way hasn’t stopped my neck ache and fatigue.

(But on a side note cutting out dairy and meat helped in other unexpected areas… such as noticeably softer and more subtle skin on my face (with smaller pores). My shoulder acne has reduced amazingly. I had one toenail that had been white for years and that cleared up and other persistent foot issues cleared up also.)

I’ve started carving out time to exercise every morning (except when I have the neck ache) in the hope that that might help.

Admittedly I’ve become a whole lot healthier and feel better about my body, but the monthly neck ache and fatigue still continues.

The Cause? If only I could go back in time

I’m currently seeing a natural therapy guy who does massage, pressure points, cupping and other things and I’m noticing an improvement. He thinks stress has a part to play in my neck problems. I hadn’t considered this before, but now that I think back I realise how stressed I was in my first year of being a mum.

When my first baby was born I was stressed about money – how were we going to live on one income for a whole year? I was stressed about my baby not yet sleeping though the night when I thought she should’ve been. I was stressed about nap timings and when to feed. I was stressed about getting naps and feedings right so that I didn’t have to feed in public.

I wish I could go back now and tell 30 year old me in my first year of being a mum not to worry. I wish I could tell myself what would become of all the stress. What the stress was doing to my body and how I would have to live with physical pain because of that stress for the next 12 or more years. But would I have listened? Maybe not.

Maybe I wouldn’t have listened because if I didn’t stress about these things then who would?

Then I could tell myself about the cure I’ve since found for stress:

Be honest and open and hand all your stress and worry to the one who made you, the one who created the earth and everything in it.

Hand your worry to the one who knows your future but also stands next to you right now.

Hand your worry to the one who knows your every thought.

Hand your stress to the one who will provide the money you need when you need it. This has been true for me many times (see how here).

Hand your stress to the one who longs to teach you how to trust in him and live stress free and enjoy life moment by moment.

Hand your worry to the one who has his hand out waiting for you to take it. Hand it all to Jesus.