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New. One year after injury... am I just complaining?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I was hit from behind Feb '08 pretty hard (totalled, etc.) with no broken bones, no herniated disc, not bulging anything. Nothing major to show up on any tests except fluid on MRI. I'm thinking, "Great!". Well, I continue with therapy, exercises, do all I have to do. 5 months after, still not back to normal. Dull pain in arm at times from shoulder, reaching up sort of pinches in neck/shoulder, still have these knots in upper back and trap especially, cramping or soreness around shoulder blade and crazy long headaches resulting from these things. Also, sleep was NOT the same... waking up several times in the night, lots of discomfort, frequently pretty painful.
Well, now its been almost 14 months and while I'm not near handicapped and I have so much to be thankful for, these things are still here. I don't suffer everyday, I'm very lucky. But, these things are HERE! The headache I have now I've had for almost 3 days with the soreness and the knot in my trap shooting up into my brain, or along the back of my ear, almost like into my jaw. Sleeping thru the night is a distant memory! I may have ground my teeth before, but I get these knots there now. Sometimes I think I'll go NUTS trying to figure out if I'm just whining because I'm supposed to 'be over' this. I sometimes actually wonder if I'm just weak because I'm getting back into my exercise regimen (even though jogging ceases with the horrible pinching in my trap)and I'm in no way unable to perform daily activities, but sitting on my couch, unloading the dishwasher, lying in bed, common things are a constant reminder that this 'thing', whiplash, injury, whatever is still there. I don't know if its active, maybe its just the stain of the injury, but I'm not imagining it. (yes, I stretch, do the therapy exercises and all)

Can someone please just tell me if they understand this? And is this at all medically accurate? Most sources mention recovery after 6 months! If someone can say, 'It'll be here for a while, just suck it up', I can do that because then I'll know that I just live with pain somedays, discomfort often. But if this is not how its supposed to be, I'd like to know that I've explored all options... Injections were suggested. I've had cortisone, which helped for about a day maybe- it was wonderful! Also, facet injections were suggested by someone who's seen this help many people out.

Thanks for any input.


  • Hi Ash and welcome to Spine-Health.

    Have you had an MRI of your cervical spine, or at least an x-ray, to rule out disc problems? The knots in your back sounds like the muscle spasms I had before I was diagnosed.

    We all know here that you're not whining and that your pain is real. Please tell us a little more about what your doctor says, tests you've had done, etc. The more information we have the more we might be able to help.

    Take care and again, welcome to SH.
  • Thanks, Cath. =)
    -x-ray, 14 months ago... negative
    -MRI, last May, fluid buildup at C6, C7, & I dunno, the 'upper' 2 T's
    -PT, completed with significant improvement, end May 08
    -PT therapist noted that my right shoulder pops when rotating and still does, but this pop doesn't hurt.
    -Lidocain injections were a GODSEND for about 12 hours
    -Use TENS, really helpful (still use)
    -Chiro, this guy cracked my neck and back. I do that myself a million times every day. Maybe he wasn't great. He did note several spasms, even in my upper neck and near jaw.
    -I continue to do my little stretches and use heat pads/ massagers
    -Ibuprofin is sort of like candy, but I don't take anything else.
    -Occasionally Roserum to help sleep.

    On second impact (the car hit me, then caught up with me and hit me again into a van), my head did not hit the headrest, it went toward the backseat & I think that really did something.
    I did at one point have serious nerve issues about a month after the wreck, felt like even the hairs on my arm where burning! ER said it was nerve sesitivity due to the injury. Gabapentin worked okay for about 3 weeks, then did not help the stabbing muscle pain.
    The pain is not everyday, thank goodness. Although, I will have a weke where it is everyday. Sometimes its just a presence that's there with this headache and I realize its there and I'm living with it. But for a good 3 days out of the week, it is a real problem.
    ONE PAIN: It feels like cramping and grinding around the bottom of my right shoulder blade, in the muscle. That then goes up into my shoulder/trap area. This ache goes into my upper arm area/shoulder and sometimes I shake my arm because it aches. I 'pop' my neck and shoulder and right wrist ALOT. My neck i have to crack about every hour.
    THE OTHER sort of WORSE PAIN: seems to originate where my trap meets the bottom of the back of my neck. This seems to cause the bulge or knot in my right trap. That, I'm told is a spasm. That all shoots up horribly into my neck and head, sometimes to behind my right ear. My jaw will sometimes be affected as well.

    And thanks for the welcome. Its hard explaining it to people when there is no bruise or cut.
  • Another thing, PT told me that being hypermobile, I could have moved way beyond 'safe' extents during impact. I just googled what hypermobile is and I definitely fit that category. I was not aware that this was a real classification.
  • Well, after some (more, ongoing) research, I've definitely determined that I am hypermobile- which explains other issues with aching and knees and ankles, and wrists, unrelated to this problem.

    Also, I'm looking into occipital headaches/issues. This seems spot on for the neck/head pains and horrible headaches I have.

    Seeing a doc to see what facet injection might do to relieve things.
  • Ooops, sorry - it's been over 10 days since I last read your post.

    I had to look up hypermobile also and I must be that too because I can double-joint my thumbs and pull my left arm out it's socket when I want to. Which, by the way, is rarely but it's pretty fun to show people and watch them cover their eyes and go "eeewwwww, stop". :-)

    I'm glad you're being proactive in your healthcare and be sure to keep us updated.

  • Ash, I was in a car accident about 20 years ago and the pain was horrible!!!!! I did not get any relief for almost a year. I had horrible spasms and pain everyday. I felt better after they put me on naprosyn or feldene. Ice also helped.
    Don't let anyone tell you whiplash is not serious. I attribute my whiplash to my severe neck condition now that has so far required 2 surgeries this past year.
  • Thanks for reassuring that this is real.

    I've not been told it isn't real, but you do get a lot of 'Really, that shouldn't be...' type of responses. And with no scar or bruise, you kind of start to question yourself.

    I'll update with any findings. Til then, I move and jog every day that I can! Thank goodness for the TENS and my shiatsu pillow!
  • Cath,
    Yeah, when i looked it up, other things started making sense. And I even checked out my daughter who has the same bendy abilities. She often tells me she might have broken her ankle, or she 'rolls her ankles', other issues. It is an interesting find. And while you'd think a more flexible person might be protected in an injury, the opposite has been proven.
    That may have accounted for my initial injury, but this prolonged stuff is what I need addressed....

    I do hope you get to feeling good. Thanks for the support. Because of people like you who do know what they're talking about (not just looking at abstract charts) I am not going to doubt what I'm feeling.
  • Okay, lots has happened. FINALLY saw a doctor (Pain Man.) that didn't just looked baffled when I explained what was going on. THANK GOD!
    That was over 3 wks ago. A a couple of days ago, I undergo 3 facet joint injections to C2,C3,C4 and an Occipital Nerve Block. Oh, I found out that the horrific headaches were related to Occipital nerve issues. He told me that since I'd waited so long (Which, by the way, was me following other doctors' orders... 'give it time, its a soft tissue injury') he'd put my full recovery at only about 75-80% or so, rather than the 90-95% he usually estimates. That's fine, I'll take what I can get! I'd rather be proactive.
    So, 48 hours later and I'm trying NOT to take meds so I can feel out what's going on. Oh, I'll be taking some in about an hour, I guarentee. I've read that it could take a few days before actually noticing the affect. I'm hopeful, but given my delay in treatment, would another round be needed if this one helps, but not all the way? Will I just feel 'normal' when all the soreness wears away? I'm so excited to get some 'normal' back! BUT, based on doc's projections, if I need more relief, I'm okay with it- guess I'm trying to stay realistic as well.
    On my chart at the surgery center I noticed the term 'Spondylitis'. Now, i talk to the doc again in about 2 weeks, but based on this treatment, is what I'm experiencing related to Spondylitis? I'm just not sure that he officially mentioned such a diagnosis, but I've researched it and it sounds a whole lot like my issue.
    Anyway, I'm full of hope!
  • One other thing that might make sense to some....
    I was maxing on the daily dosage of Aleve, or Motrin, or Tylenol...whatever I felt like giving a try at the time. So much so that I'd get frequent nosebleeds. The PM Doc explained that my source of pain had very few blood vessels, so delivery of the meds to the site of pain was very little and ineffective. Duh. That completly made sense. It helped me because I'd been fearing this was untreatable or I was imagining this pain.
    I just though I'd share that, may make sense to someone else.
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