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.