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Chronic neck pain -- help?

Marie_0802MMarie_0802 Posts: 1
edited 02/20/2013 - 11:20 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I have had neck pain for approximately 2-4 years now. When I was younger it did tend to "crack" once in a while, but never hurt or did it very often.

Nowadays, my neck becomes very stiff and sore, I get headaches (which I am unsure if the headaches cause the neck pain or the neck pain causes the headaches), and my neck cracks a lot and gets stiff/painful very easily. I also used to think that when my neck became warm (i.e. having a scarf on, my hair down in the summer, etc) it began to hurt, but now I am thinking my neck becomes warm when it hurts (as in, first the pain, then the heat). My fiance has felt my neck when it becomes hot and says it feels like my neck "has a fever". Sometimes I have to "manipulate" my neck into extreme rotation, either with my hands or by laying down and pushing the side of my head against the ground and rotating my body the opposite direction, to find short-lived relief. I am also finding these days that letting my head fall backward helps occasionally to relieve pain. Tipping the head from side to side and straining/holding will also cause cracking and help for a matter of seconds with pain. I have tried both hot packs and ice packs and these work intermittently and vary as to which one does the trick. Tylenol or Advil works occasionally, but I try to avoid using it too often due to liver damage, etc. I was on Dilaudid and Baclofen for about a month and this did and didn't help; some days it would work, some days it had no effect. I have troubles sleeping (restlessness and pain). I tend to wake up very stiff and painful through the neck and upper back (between the shoulder blades). I try to stretch between the shoulder blades by doing a cat stretch or grasping my hands together and reaching far out in front of me either in sitting or standing and this does help, but only for a matter of minutes. Neck pain/stiffness can range anywhere between 0/10 to 10/10 with an average of 7/10. The thoracic/upper back pain can range anywhere between 0/10 to 7/10 with an average of 4/10.

I have jaw pain that becomes worse when the neck pain is worse. This includes cracking, stiffness, warm to touch, and pain. I have had a click in my jaw for as long as I can remember - a deep clunk in the right joint, and more of a grinding noise in the left joint (which I tend to describe as the sound that is made when you break a glow stick - like tiny gravel or rice).

I have also had dull/achy shoulder pain, right worse than left, for some time now as well. The right shoulder has issues with full rotation and has a lot of deep clunking when attempting to do so. I find reaching behind my back is more difficult with the right than the left and causes a pulling sensation over the top of the shoulder.

I also have hyperthyroidism and am taking Tapazole 5 mg per day. This was diagnosed just over a year ago and so far has been well-controlled, though I am overdue for another blood test.

Basically, I am frustrated and worried, but I am also the kind of person who puts off going to see someone because either a) I am worried it will be nothing and I will have made a big deal out of something that is not and end up looking silly, or b) it will be something and it will either be scary or end up costing me a lot (i.e. for medication, treatment, etc), though I know if it is needed it is worth it.

Should I be seeing someone for these problems? I mean, I know I should...but is it worth my time? Or do you suppose they might just tell me to continue using heat/ice, medication, stretches as needed and that nothing can be done?

Thank you for any help, I look forward to reading responses!

Frustrated and Painful
Marie S.


  • laneygirlllaneygirl Posts: 31
    edited 02/20/2013 - 4:28 PM
    Hello, I just wanted to say that your post made great sense to me. While though I don't share the same exact issues you are having, I too, have been having discomfort issues in the right shoulder blade area that appears to be affecting my neck as well. I also relate to your conservative approach to liver damage causing pain relief--toughing it out, and only taking it when you really need to. I also very much relate to your a and b scenarios / i.e. "is this just a normal thing that happens to everyone, and its such a departure from my usual self..." or "is this the onset of something I really need to get figured out and get on top of..." Both concerns make perfect sense. I think the cost factor makes perfect sense, too. Trying to find the most optimal/cost effective approach for your set of issues. I think the right thing you could do for sure, is to make some calls in your area and/or low-cost clinics and feel out things on a customer service level, ask some questions relating to the type of issues your having and go a little on your instinct as far as your best options. You make great descriptions of the discomfort/pain/symptoms you are having and sound very articulate about your concerns. Try to find a middleground with your doctor and feel things out, and find an optimal solution that works best for you. At the very least, you will be able to get permission to do certain exercises on your own, find some resources for cost-effective therapies you may qualify for etc. Obviously, you are already doing some things that work for you and managing what you are going through. I think you should feel great about your personal strength in coping! To get the most out of your visit, write down your concerns, the explanation of your symptoms, what has been working, and state that you are worried and would like to know what effective solutions you could try that you aren't already. You could also use the opportunity to address other issues related to your health as well, make the visit worth your time the best you can. Anyway, I relate to your struggle, your concerns and your reasoning -- and you care about yourself and your health and with a little research in your area you might be able to find a situation that will work best for you and your concerns. Keep up the great work!
  • Hi
    I know how your felling
    Almost word for word, I am having all the same issues
    After many many test I am diagnosed with bulging disc in neck, arthritis and degenerating disc.
    I am not a doctor so I can't say it is what you have , I am a long way from being normal and waiting for more steroids and test and maybe fusion.
    Can't give you advise on what to do but I am seeing a neurosurgeon and pain doctors.
    If you find anything that helps, please let me know.
    Good Luck
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