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Neck pain for over a year.

A little background to preface this: I am a 19 year old male and have been having neck pain for over a year now. The pain sometimes goes away for maybe a day or 2 at a time if I'm lucky, and the pain varies, sometimes it can sting if I touch my neck or put pressure on it, but when I'm not messing with it it's just a dull nagging pain that's extremely annoying.

 The pain started when I was cracking my neck one night (I haven't cracked my neck since, the doctors told me it was terrible to do) and all the sudden my whole body went numb, so I went to the ER and they took a CT scan for any signs of stroke or artery dissection, they found nothing. So I thought okay, this will probably go away soon, but oh boy was I wrong. The pain stayed and about 4 months after the Ct scan and me having this pain I went to a neck and spine doctor who told me to get an MRI done to check for any cervical disc herniations. So I went and got the MRI, the doctor said my discs were fine. And here I am almost a whole year later and the pain has not gone away and I'm sick and tired of it, I can't live the rest of my life miserable like this. I'm really lost and don't know what to do. Since 2 doctors said there was nothing wrong, I don't really want to go to another one again and waste even more money just to hear that I'm fine when I know for a fact that I am not. 

Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.



  •  I would get the copy of the MRI report and CD and get a second opinion. MRI interpretation can vary among doctors. Do you have radiating nerve pain?
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
  • Hey brother, don't give up. Tests showed there was nothing wrong with me and the doctors said the same. I dove into research to figure out what was wrong. My suggestion is to take time to figure out your condition as soon as possible. The internet is your friend. Learn to understand research papers as well. If it is over a year, it is most likely permanent and you will have to get maintenance for the rest of your life. This may be a blunt reality you will have to face. During my research, I found out that they hadn't even discovered what was my condition until later that year. Because I didn't know what it was, I made it worse by getting the wrong treatment and cracking my neck on top of my injury. I am nineteen as well and have been suffering since I turned sixteen because some (edit...language) ran into the back of me. If you have any questions or advice, feel free to contact me.

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  • Thanks for the replies guys, would a CT scan from over a year ago and an MRI from 9 months ago (both taken after pain begun) be valid? Or could something have changed in my neck within that time? Also how much do second opinions usually cost? Appreciate it.

  • I had several taken throughout the years to submit for review. It could change between them, but if it is after what happened, then it should show. My condition only shows up through post-mortem inspection. There was nothing to see on my MRI, CT, or X-RAY that suggested anything readily apparent. Before you see a doctor for a second opinion, you must research and figure out what it is you have or think you have, because if nothing shows up on the scans, then it is a waste of money. I know by experience. When you get a second opinion, it should be an opinion of if your research adds up based on your experience. That is what your second opinion should be. You are going to have to put in the work because the doctor won't do it for you.

  • I know it has been nearly a month since you posted, but in case you are reading it - I have had neck pain for quite some time, even after a cervical fusion (5/6) a year and a half ago. But it got worse in July this year - and I knew there was something Wrong. (Capital W.) After trying all the things I know how to do (I know the PT exercises, NSAIDs, etc.) and nada, I went back to my neurosurgeon, and the x-rays showed the fusion looked great. So he sent me for an MRI - which he said looked fine. Sent me to PT, which didn't help. After a month, he saw me again, and said he wanted me to have a bone scan, and if that didn't show anything, it would be time for pain management. I honestly expected nothing.

    Only - the bone scan clearly showed two problem areas, C3/4 and C4/5. He started to say I needed to get a CT scan - but went back and looked at the MRI images again, and saw the issue, and said I needed a fusion of those areas. (Said the only problem is, when you go above C5, you often have swallowing difficulties, so I will have to chew my food thoroughly.)

    Not yet on the schedule, but will be having that fusion after Thanksgiving, maybe early December.

    So - sometimes the imaging may be clear about things, and sometimes, you just need the right test. If that doesn't help, though, see about seeing a pain management doctor. It is possible he would see something else to help you.

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  • LeaRN, it feels like you are describing exactly what I am suffering. Except for the last part. After bone scan, my neurosurgeon did a pain injection, which didn't help. I am in so much sharp and burning pain but everyone says, just need pain management. :(

  • elagp, when I thought pain management was in my future, I did a bit of reading, and have read of people having them help by approaching things from a different vantage point, finding causes that were not spinal that were helpful. So don't give up hope for pain management. and pain relief.

  • Have you had any luck?  What caused your pain to start in the first place?

    If it was caused by a whiplash type event, it might be possible that you are suffering from "Atlas subluxation complex."  I am only putting this out because I suffered for nearly five years and several professionals unable to diagnose the issue.  I recently had a second treatment because of minor nagging discomfort.  I'm not 100% yet, but feel better than I had anytime in the last 5+ years.

  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745

    This member has not been back to the forum since September so I am closing it if the member comes back we can reopen it if requested by them.


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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