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22 Year old with debilitating neck pain, please help

AL48AAL48 Posts: 1
edited 12/04/2014 - 7:14 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I just graduated college this past spring and was supposed to start a job this summer, but am unable to due to brutal constant neck pain. It began my junior year of college, first when I was looking down studying or writing, and progressively got worse to the point where it has been almost constant for the past year plus. The pain is dull aching/discomfort on both sides of the neck right next to the vertebra towards the base of the cervical spine. It is still worst when looking down, bad when sitting in general, a bit better when up moving around, and lying down gives some relief. I have been to all kinds of practitioners: doctors/chiros/PTs/acupuncturists etc. and have had no results. The xrays and MRI have only revealed that I lack the normal curvature of the spine, not only in the cervical, but also in the thoracic and lumbar (I have some less severe low back pain as well). I have pretty much not been comfortable for over a year and the pain completely dominates my life. Lying down and being active are the only things that give me enough relief to make life bearable. Even writing this post was a challenge. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated. The doctors keep telling me that having no curve in my spine isn't normal, but doesn't necessarily cause pain and they don't really know what is wrong with me. I have always been active and generally healthy, so this pain taking over my life at age 21-22 has been shocking. Has anyone heard of something like this?

Thank you


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 12/04/2014 - 7:14 PM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • It sounds like your neck pain is similar to my issue. I went through years of my PCP not doing anything about my complaints(neck, stomach issues, sleep apnea, etc.). I started seeing a chiropractor last year in march or april and finally started getting somewhere. I was also told that I have no curve in my neck. It was straight and forward which makes sense given that I was often looking down at my computer or writing at my job among the abuse from the more physical parts of my job. Anyways, the Chiro started me on a treatment plan that included traction to regain the curvature and massage to release the tight muscles in my neck. The traction device seemed to work ok since according to the x-rays but I think it also may have caused more issues with the herniated disc. Who would have known without an MRI? It seemed to help a little at first but I kept having pain in my neck. He tried many different things to help me but nothing worked. At the last 2 massages, I started having an increase of pain due to the therapist putting pressure at the base of my skull. At that point the pain worsened. I saw my PCP and my chiropractor about the issue. The PCP didn't really do crap for me and blew me off yet again. My Chiro kept working at the issues without success. He ordered an MRI and we found that I had a couple bulging discs at C4 and C7 and a complete herniation at C5 and C6 with pressure on my spinal cord. I was referred to a neuro surgeon and had surgery approximately 2 weeks after the initial appointment because of the severity of the problem.
    All I can say is keep going to doctors until you get someone who is willing to stick with it to find the problem. I know it is expensive but you are too young to live with that much pain. It seems to be a very difficult thing now a days since I have experienced and heard from others that a lot of doctors barely put an effort to finding out the real issue. This kind of reminds me of a show I used to watch on TLC called Mystery Diagnosis. I hope someone can help you find answers.
    Tracie C
  • Don't give up on wellness and health, you are too young. Have you seen a neurologist or had your b12, magnesium and hemoglobin checked? Seen a rheumatologist? I'm just trying to throw things out there.Going crazy with water, juicing and vitamins might take the edge off while you pursue options and a diagnosis. Lack of curve is a problem. It throws your balance and posture off big time causing wear and muscle strain in my opinion. I am not a doctor and cannot diagnose but I have read that and been told by the chiro. Even high heeled shoes can cause me back pain because of balance issues and posture.

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