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I'm 21 with severe chronic pain in my neck

kalicat4563kkalicat4563 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all,
I'm new here. And upon looking through this forum, it seems like the right place to go. Let me start by saying I am a waitress, and I think that my pain stems from this, but no one really knows for sure. I've seen about 5 doctors, and no one really has an answer or a reason for why I have such severe pain. The pain has been present since I got a job in my current restaurant a year and a half ago. I have previously waitressed and felt nothing. 6 months after the pain occurred my doctor sent me to an ortho, who sent me to physical therapy. It helped for the short term while I was doing it weekly, but still didn't bring me back to full range of motion or mobility. I now have a new doctor, and she ordered an MRI. (I should note that I have also had xrays, and both of these show nothing wrong with my neck/shoulder). Her only advice was to prescribe me ibuprofen, darvocet (pain pills), and a muscle relaxer. I recently just came across the anti inflammatory pills previously prescribed. Nothing is really helping.

A few months ago I finally started going to the chiro. I know from reading through a few posts that some of you are for chiros, and some aren't. I'm still kind of on the fence, I'm not really feeling any difference in the pain or improvement on my mobility. I also do home exercises. I sleep on a cervical pillow. I'm feeling lost at what to do. The doctors are just kinda pushing it to the side, not to mention my insurance is tired of paying for all these things with no results.

Sorry this is real wordy and long. I'm not sure if this needs to go in the chronic pain section or in this neck pain forum. I'm just looking to see if anyone has had similar experiences and anything I can take to my doctor and not have her poo-poo the situation. Thanks for reading.


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. I think you've posted in the right section, by the way.

    Have you gotten the results of your MRI? We can't interpet them here, but if you have then you either already have or will go over the results with the doc that ordered it. If so, what did they say about it?

    What are your symptoms? You say you're in pain, but what kind of pain are you experiencing? Are you having problems with your arms?

    As for the chiro, I don't think anyone really dislikes chiropractic care, it certainly has it's benefits, but the problem can come if you have a disc or other material pressing your your spinal cord. Then, chiropractic manipulation can simply be dangerous. Those of us with spine problems just need to know what's going on with our spines to be sure that it's ok to see a chiropractor.

    So, let us know more about what's going on and about your symptoms then we might be able to help you more. I know that many members have problems when they have spine issues at such a young age and too many doctors don't want to do anything considered drastic with younger patients. It's the nature of spine problems - is it fair? No. But it can be a problem for some.

    Take care,
  • After posting I realized I didn't really say much. Just kind of vented it out on here. The MRI showed nothing, and my doctor told me to find a new job, which unfortunately is not really an option something has to pay the bills.

    My symptoms range. Most days its just a light throbbing, which gets uncomfortable and worse as the day goes on. The muscles in my neck spasm at random, and I just feel paralyzed and unable to move it hurts so bad. Laying down to go to sleep is an ordeal cause it gets all tight making it uncomfortable to sleep and hard to relax (hence a 2:30 am post here). I don't have much pain in my arm, only sometimes when the muscles are really tight and tense my upper arm has some pain (I wish I could describe this better, but it happens so occasionally and the neck pain is so intense I barely think about my arm hurting).

    I guess I should also point out that I have a massage therapist friend who has worked on me, but my neck is so tense I can't relax and let her massage it. The really bad days it hurts if anyone touches it.

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  • Howdy Kalicat,

    A hearty Welcome to Spine Health!! Unfortunately part of your problem = age! A lot of doctors short of trauma don't see why someone in their 20's or younger should have pain along the spine. Yours according to your descriptions are in the neck, but not radiating out to the shoulders and down the arm. Is that correct? If so, *most* surgeons won't do surgery for just neck or back pain, as the surgery is normally to prevent further nerve damage, or reverse it depending on what's going on.

    Whew! Okay, with that said, if you do have radiating pain/weak/numb issues into your arm, is there a facility near you that does positional MRI's? This way the MRI is taken with your neck under normal load - the position such that you experience pain. On my second herniation a recumbent MRI showed nothing, the stand up (positional MRI) showed the hernia big time!

    Chiropractor. Like Cathie said, it isn't so much if we are for or against it, mine kept me going for 18 years. Once you have disk issues that are on the nerves, that's were a lot of us go "whoa horsey" on chiropractic. Mine actually discovered my first hernia - and it was on the cord. Do I think he made it worse? No, not really. Above all, age or not, listen to your body, and don't give up if your body is still telling you something is wrong.

    Again, Welcome aboard!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • kalikat, I'm 23 and I've had this problem for over a year now. At first I was so angry/frustrated/depressed and it was consuming me. I'm a very active man and play Ausie Rules Football at a high level for money. So it's important that I can perform at my best. I've just finished playing a season and I have tried a whole range of things to help with it. Pysio such as massage helps short term but the next day its back again. Chiro hasnt helped at all. I experimented with meds. Luckily for me painkillers help it very well but how much is too much at my age? Do i want to be taking pills the rest of my life? Will I damage my insides like so many people have done? All of these things are constantly on my mind and it wears me down and really effects my moods. I'm coping better mentally these days because I'm just accepting that atleast pain meds help me and I can forget about it for a while and go have fun with mates/sports. People can't understand what its like to have pain day in day out. I spoke to my aunti yesterday who has taken the anti inflamitry celebrex for 20 years at twice the dose for arthritis and hasnt had any stomach issues. So that might be a goer for long term management if nothing helps? What one did you try? Some are stronger than others.

    The most success I've had so far is with dry needling. A pysio stabs needles into your neck/shoulders muscles and move the needle around until your muscles twitch. It is painful for 20 minutes and for the rest of the night, but it helps for a week after that. My scans/x rays show nothing either so I can't get cortizone shots because the doctors dont know where to put it if they cant see a problem. I'm going to try prolotherapy very soon. It's a different form of injections for a different purpose. I've heard very good things about it and long lasting benefits. I'm just praying it will work so I can get over this and move on with life. I love my life but this is really damaging me emotionally.

    Email me or pm me if you want to talk personally. We might be able to help each other. seamoski@hotmail.com

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