I'm a 21 year old male who has been healthy and active for the majority of my life. For over a year now I've been experiencing constant stiffness/tension in my left trap/levator scapulae/neck. The pain comes and goes depending on my activities and sleeping methods. I believe this is due to a combination of sleeping on my stomach, bad neck positioning when laying on the couch and heavy shrugs in the gym( I keep good form, only up and down motion).
I had sprained my neck twice before, the first time the injury healed on its own after stretching and the second time it was more severe and subsided but never really went away. If I go to the gym my neck usually gets aggravated and more stiff, even though I've reduced weights by 20+ lbs for every exercise and really try to not strain my neck anymore. When the injury first happened it was hard for me to turn my neck to the left and right, but now I have full range but usually hear faint cricks, and swishing sounds...either ligaments stretching, bones rubbing against each other, etc.
I had gone to a chiropractor about 5 months ago, he took xrays and said my neck is loosing its natural curve and the xrays showed it was straighter than it should be...I went in for about 5 visits but it did not seem to be helping (mind you i wasn't in pain at this point, just suffering from constant tension/stiffness). Although I have fixed my sleeping habits, I still wake up with a stiff neck and sometimes its hard to turn a certain direction and when I do, I will hear those cricks and this is really starting to scare me as I'm only 21 years old. I've also gotten massages from RMTs and SMTs who initaly reported some tightness in my traps/levator scapulae but nothing that would make them assume my condition was reliant on that....all in all the massages provided very minor short term relief.
I am at the point where I am willing to let go of the gym for good, and devote myself to ensuring this injury does not progress as once I look through these forums I can see how bad it can affect me in the future. What would be your recomendations? should I go back to chiro? some sort of neck specialist? PT?
Thanks in advance