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headaches, neck pain, upper back pain

I am a 23 year old male. I'm 6ft. and weigh 180lbs.

I have had a headache for about two months now that is consistently present. It has only left a few times. I feel the tension in my upper back, neck, and head. The headache is mostly in the back of my head, and it wraps around to my eyes. My neck, and upper back are extremely tight all the time. Turning my head to the left is easier than turning to the right. I can tell that the pain and headache is coming from the right side of back/neck. When I wake up in the morning, my headache is worst, and I start to loosen up after I get up and stretch/ move around. If I GENTLY pinch my skin to the left of C5-C6, It hurts really bad internally although I don't have much of a touch sensation in that area (I don't know how to better explain it). To the left of my spine, it feels normal, it's just a small area on the right side that is causing problems. If I tilt my head to the left I have poor range of motion and it feels real tight. Tilting me head to the right isn't a problem. If I push my shoulders back and drop them to focus on correcting my poor posture, I have pain around my shoulder blade that sometimes goes into my arm. It all feels stiff and painful and I haven't done anything to make this happen that I know of. It is becoming extremely debilitating and I've broken down yelling multiple times (it is painful).

I've had multiple brain, and spine MRI's. The brain MRI showed a small "spot" that my doctor said isn't related to cancer or MS. I have had it imaged twice in the past year to make sure it hasn't changed. My neck MRI showed that I have bulging disks, but my doctor said that they aren't terrible, and shouldn't be causing these problems.

I live in Nashville and went through SO MANY doctors to try and figure this out, but it doesn't seem like anyone wants to believe the severity of the agony I'm in, and they just try to get my out of the door as quickly as possible.

I've tried: muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, chiropractic, massage, exercise, "resting," epsom salt bath (with lavender oil), physical therapy, etc.

any suggestions?


  • rtconant1rrtconant1 Posts: 347
    edited 01/18/2015 - 4:14 PM
    I know exactly what you are talking about. I had headaches like those for a month straight, 24/7. Mine are caused by the tension in my neck also and inflammation of the nerves at C2/C3 sub occipital nerves. I was a month out from fusion surgery when the headaches started. I started taking gabapentin for the nerve pain, cyclobenzaprine for the muscle spasms and I was taking so much Tylenol and oxycontin to get some relief but couldn't get any for a month. I barely left the house during that time. Car rides seemed to make them worse. I slept all day and night because I was so doped up just to get through the day. I ended up going to a physical therapist and we were able to narrow down the cause. The nerves at the base of my skull( sub-occipital) were inflamed. He did a dry needling procedure on the area. It didn't really help right away but between that and a dose of prednisone, about a week later, I got a little relief and the headaches finally slowed down. I still get them but there is no actual physical reason I am getting them besides the nerve issues in my neck. I am now on nortryptaline for the headaches. I have only been on it for a week so I don't know if it helps much or not.
    I am not in any way a medical professional but I am thinking that those bulging discs in your neck could be worse than they think and could be causing the headaches and the arm pain. I went for 3 years without getting help for my neck and shoulder issues. I have poor range of motion in my neck and head, I get dizzy when I look up or down with head movement, I have weakness in my legs, arms and frequent flare ups that are horrid. I went to doctors also that blew me off and now I feel like I am damaged beyond repair. The neurologist is now looking at long term pain management. I wish there was something I could say or do to help you. But I do know how you feel.
    I know you said you have seen multiple doctors and no one is helping you. Keep on going because there is one somewhere that will actually do more to find the cause.
    Tracie C
  • Tired of the painTTired of the pain Posts: 197
    edited 01/19/2015 - 3:21 AM
    Have you had an EMG? That is a test that measures the conductivity of the nerves coming from the spine. Nerve damage can be caused by herniated discos or bone spurs. Have you had a CAT scan? Sometimes they do not take young people seriously especially when it comes to pain. Some are looked at as drug seekers rather than legitimate patients. Try to find out if there is a hospital that is associated to a medical school. They usually have some of the best doctors and will have the doctors and equipment you need to get an answer. Look for a branch of famous hospitals like in your state that can help. I hope this helps.
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  • edited 01/31/2015 - 11:38 AM
    thanks for the reply. i haven't had an EMG yet, but i think that i will push for one the next visit that i have with my spine specialist.
  • E91EE91 Posts: 1
    edited 07/31/2015 - 5:59 AM
    Hi! I know you posted this months ago but I have the same symptons. I have had this terrible pain in my neck/head/eye for 4 months now. Been to the doctor 4x times now.... they just claim its imflammation in my neck. Tried ibufen and voltaren,physical therapy, chiropractor, exercise and more. Nothing worked.

    How are you feeling now? Do you still have any pain? Did you find out what was bothering you?

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    Please click on link for helpful information!
  • I know this was posted 2 years ago but I was searching for resources online to help me with my problems. I came across this post as one of the only ones that lists symptoms very similar to mine. 

    Did you ever resolve your problems or find out what was going on?

    I am trying to work through mine on my own.

    Only in the last year year, very slowly but surely, I have started to understand what is going on. I am someone who doesn't like taking meds for anything. I don't have a lot of faith in doctors, either. Some of you commenting on how you got the run around from them, is one reason why. 

    And I know that the medical and pharmaceutical industries are driven by profit, so if you think about it, most doctors have an interest in helping you to TREAT PROBLEMS AND NOT PREVENT THEM because this means more money for them. In a way, it's not really their problem  if a patient comes to them with a problem and has no idea how they could have prevented it. 

    I only saw one doctor about my symptoms because I felt in my gut that I would be able to figure out how to heal on my own without wasting time and money on overrated doctors. 

    Would be interested to know if you were able to figure everything out.

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  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    edited 11/24/2017 - 2:14 AM

    This is an old discussion the member that created it has not been on the forum for over 12 months so I am closing it

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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