Re: Not Sure what this is... PLEASE HELP!
It could very well be arthritis in your neck vertebrae. the pain from a compressed nerve can show up anywhere down to the finger tips and can mimic everything from burning to a muscle spasm type pain.
RA tends to attack the top 2 vertebrae and they don't have nerves to the arms so I suspect it's further down. But with so much arthritis, you probably have OA of the spine...most people with Ra and SS and lupus, end up with plain old OA and DDD(degenerative disk disease but it isn't a disease..it's aging)of the spine.
Try sleeping on your side so you don't arch your neck during sleep. Heat or ice can be used as well. Anything you take for pain can help.
If you do an internet search for a Dermatome Map, it will show you where the various nerves to the upper torso are felt.
And don't worry too much.....you aren't in danger of nerve damage. That takes a lot of time and very different symptoms. When it comes to spines, pain is actually a good sign. A nerve has to be alive to hurt. A dying nerve shows signs of paralysis with numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
Welcome to the world of spinal arthritis. We have an entire board for people with neck problems called the Spinal Cord Disorders board where you can get more info.
Hope this helps and I'm around if you have questions.
Jenny(OA, RA, Sjogrens and fused from C3 to T1)