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Newbie Looking for Advice

FronzizzleFFronzizzle Posts: 2
edited 05/03/2015 - 9:08 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all,

Sorry for the long message, but I want to make sure to include everything...

I'm a 40 year old male, in generally good health (high blood pressure, nothing else of note). However, I have a constant problem with stiff/sore necks & shoulders and I'm not sure what the next step is to try and diagnose/treat the issue.

I've never been in a car accident or anything else of note. When I was in 8th grade, I got a stinger from playing tackle football, it lasted a couple of days and then went away. When I was 20, my wife and I were play wrestling, she accidentally kicked me in the head and a couple of days later I had a really bad stiff neck that also went away shortly after. Not sure if either of these could be the root cause or not.

About once every five years, I get a stiff neck that is 100% debilitating. I can't move my head, lay down, drive, etc. I literally can't move for a day, then the 2nd day is about 20% better, the third day 50% better until around day 6 or 7 I'm back to normal.

If this was my only issue, I'd be fine dealing with it. However, in between episodes my shoulders and neck are pretty much always sore, especially on the right side. There is a spot on my upper right back, if my wife pushes on it I can feel it all the way up through my head, neck and jaw and it follows the pain path. I also get frequent headaches that always start with neck pain.

I've had a some x-rays and have been told that I have arthritis between all of my vertebrae. I also have advanced arthritis in both shoulders, confirmed with a MRI. Recently, I went to the dentist for a normal checkup, they did a panoramic x-ray. When the dentist was reviewing it, he said that the ligaments in both sides of my neck were calcified. When talking, he mentioned something called Eagle Syndrome and recommended I Google it (which I did). Some symptoms fit...others don't. My regular doctor - I'm on my 3rd one - attributes the pain to the arthritis and isn't inclined to look any further.

Finally, I started getting regular massages (about every 4-5 weeks). They help tremendously, at least in the short term. Even if they don't take the pain away - which the frequently do - they ease the stiffness and "unlock" me, so to speak. Sometimes the relief lasts for for a few weeks, other times for 10-14 days.

Because the massages help, I tend to believe it is a muscle issue but of course, I don't know for sure. I'm sure the arthritis doesn't help, but I'd like to get something more definitive than "take Motrin or ice it".

Anyway, I'm not sure what the next step is, other than change doctors again and see if I can find one that will...do what, I'm not sure. Physical therapy? Another x-ray or MRI? Just looking for some advice on avenues to pursue, questions to ask, etc. Thank you in advance.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 05/03/2015 - 9:09 PM
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    You mention you are working on your third "regular doctor".
    Does that mean your primary care doctor?

    Did you tell your doctor what your dentist told you?

    Are you seeing anyone who specializes with arthritis and spinal issues?
    Only a doctor who understands all your issues can really guide you with what best next step for you.
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Did the MRI shown anything being pinched?
  • Thank you for the replies.

    My original post wasn't very clear. I had an unrelated MRI on a shoulder problem, which showed arthritis there. The x-ray showed arthritis in my neck, I've never had a MRI on my neck.

    Yes, third primary care doctor. I haven't seen a specialist...I wouldn't know how to begin to find one. Does my doctor need to refer me, or is that dependent on my insurance?

    Yes, I told my doctor everything my dentist said but she didn't really act/react to it.
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