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Old 05-19-2006, 09:18 AM   #1
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Unhappy Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

I am sick and tired of this...curse of the neck!
I have a very bad chronic pain in the back of my neck right where the neck muscles meet my skull. It feels like the pain is always in about three points in that area (very top of those neck muscles).

Here's a list of everything I've already tried, but failed to gain control over the pain with:

Chiropractic
Trigger Points (lots of time spent here...no dice)
Massage
Acupressure
Acupuncture
Electric Stem Needle Acupuncture (Tried all kinds of frequencies)
Trigger Point Injections
Hot/Cold applications
Heavy Vibration of the Neck
Electric Stimulation (similar to Electric Acupuncture, but not inside the skin)
Stretches (Been doing all of these the whole time... Too temporary of relief)
Yoga (Tried for a whole year...no improvement whatsoever)
Exercise (I normally get a good amount...I've tried resting for whole months too...both don't effect the pain.)
Neck Exercise (Tried for about 4 months. doesn't help either for some reason)
MRI Scan (They said it looked normal too! impossible...)
Doctor Examination (went there at least 10 times for my neck...he prescribed some new medication almost every time as well as giving the same advice on ergonomic chairs and sleeping methods...no help whatsoever)
Muscle Pain Professional/Physical Therapist (attending one now...been about 4 weeks. no improvement yet.)
Prayer (hey, it's worth a shot. Wish god could magically cure it though...)


I feel the main culprit to my neck pain is the way I sleep. I've tried tons of different ergo pillows and such, but they all failed. It's when I sleep on my back or side on any surface whatsoever, my neck starts to hurt...very bad. The problem is, I can't find anyway to sleep on my stomach, and doctors are always recommending that I don't try it. The problem is, I can't find a comfortable way to sleep on my stomach. I can do it for an hour or so, but then my facial pain starts to keep me from sleeping. Funny thing is, my neck pain literally reduces quite a lot when I'm on my stomach. No pressure, no pain.

I've tried sleeping in over 40 positions now, but the stomach one seem to be the most effective....that is, for only an hour or so. Hah, you wouldn't believe some of the crazy ideas I've had trying to get a good nights sleep so my neck wont hurt in the morning-throughout the entire neck day.

Pain Details: The area in the back of my neck where the skull meets the top of those muscles hurts constantly. I believe these are called posterior muscles.

I also have a chronic stiffness in the Sternocleidomastoid muscles on each side of my neck. They slightly hurt a little, but they are EXTREMELY stiff. I mean hard as bone!!! I think both of my entire Sternocleidomastoid muscles have turned to stone...like a curse! It's crazy how stiff they are.

The Levator Scapula muscles are also very hard. The stiffness is spread throughout that area in different areas, rather than the entire muscles, like my Sternocleidomastoid ones.

To be honest, I think my neck is slowly, but surely, trying to kill me.
The pain is so bad that my motive to live is not exactly in good shape right now.
I just hope this message gets out to that one person who knows exactly how to cure this problem...
This is all one big nightmare that's actually real.
I wish something would just work for once, I beg of it...


Last edited by Vitagen; 05-19-2006 at 09:34 AM.

 
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:27 AM   #2
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

Hi

I'm quite new to these boards myself for other chronic pain problems.

I did have girlfriend who had problems with her neck for years. It ended up being something like spinalcord tortacolis (sp??). She gets shots of Botox in her neck every six weeks to releive the pain. Have you ever had an injury that started this problem out?

Also, have you tried to sleep on your stomach in one of those beds the masseuse use with the hole for your face? That would seem an ideal position for your neck.

Good Luck,
TJ

 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:05 AM   #3
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

Yea, I feel like buying one of them off the internet. The ones used at the place I attend now are fold out beds and they are quite comfortable. I'm sure they can be found for $50 or so.

The specialist at the Headache and Pain center here set me up with occipital nerve block injections for next month. I've never had these, but the doctor there said that a common cause of pain in that very region is Occipital neuralgia.
The injections should allow the occipital nerves to heal.
Hopefully this will solve the problem.

Last edited by Vitagen; 05-20-2006 at 06:05 AM.

 
Old 05-20-2006, 06:20 AM   #4
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

I am sure you have probably had some while trying to find the cause of your problem but you don't state anywhere just what types of testing you have had done to try and find a possible cause for this.what have you had done as far as any radiological testing??Marcia
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Old 05-21-2006, 12:44 AM   #5
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by feelbad
I am sure you have probably had some while trying to find the cause of your problem but you don't state anywhere just what types of testing you have had done to try and find a possible cause for this.what have you had done as far as any radiological testing??Marcia
MRI scan of the neck.

 
Old 05-21-2006, 09:52 AM   #6
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

When was your last MRI? Keep in mind they are not always accurate. A Mylogram or CT scan may very well give better results. Don't give up in finding a DX, something is causing the pain and it may not be your pillow.
Have you tried using a soft collar/brace at night with a flat pillow?

 
Old 05-21-2006, 11:02 AM   #7
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

Your description of your neck pain sounds like occipital pain, especially if the pain tends to radiate upwards into the back of the skull. i has similar problems and after extensive imaging studies, i was diagnosed with, among other things, facet disease, a condition related to my generalized arthritis. My pain manager recommended facet blocks, using a mixture of marcane and a corticosteroid long-duration product. I got excellent control of the pain and muscular spasms for many years. the duration of benefits gradually decreased until the injections had no effect. My pain managers finally recommended radio frequency ablation (look it up) of the facet nerve fibers and the pain has STOPPED and the treatment should last for from 6 to 18 months when it can be repeated as many times as necessary. you need to talk to your pain manager and find out if any other imaging studies, besides an MRI, might more clearly show the underlyhing condition causing your discomfort. the docs might consider CT scans, with and without contrast as well as regular flat-plate x-rays. good luck.

 
Old 05-21-2006, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

the pain does radiate up the skull. I normally feel a very slight ache in forehead. It's like 5% of a headache, so it hardly bothers me...but, it's still there. Those nerves are probably the cause.

I'm not sure what kind of MRI I got. They had me lay on a bed that went into this large machine. The whole process took over 20 minutes and my neck was really killing me the whole time, due to that hard pillow on the bed. I endured the pain to get a good scan though.

 
Old 05-22-2006, 06:22 AM   #9
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

are you sure this was an MRI or a CT? an MRI would have been really really noisey and the CT pretty quiet.and the big thing to remeber here is not all types of rad testing will always be able to show the real cause of the problem.and if your doc has been just going on whats contained inthe reports themselves and is not actually ooking at the hard films,the report will only be as acurate as the overall knowledge and experience of the rad that is actually interpreting the films.it is very much dependant only on THAT particular rads knowledge and experience.this is the BIG reason that when you go to see any type of a specialist,they NEED you to actually bring in your films along with you to the appts.I have had to have like (at last count)around 15 MRIs just over the last few years and let me tell ya,some reports were like nothing at all was wrong in my c spine and some others were just really incredibly detailed about all of the many issues i have going on in there.amazing and rather sad too.if your last MRI was over a year ago,you need to have a more recent one done if possible.many things can change over a years time.good luck.marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 05-22-2006, 07:17 AM   #10
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

I agree with Feelbad, I started getting horrible pain in my head and neck almost a year ago. Sometimes it felt like someone was squeezing the top and right side of my head. The muscles in the side of my neck feel the same way yours do. I had an mri that my dr did not look at, so I went mis-diagnosed for many months. They were treating me for muscle pain. I finally saw a pain speciallist who actually LOOKED at my mri and spotted two bulges that were causing all of my problems. I also have a lot of athritis and ddd. I had went thru all of the treatments you described, and I only got worse. Now for two months nobody has touched my neck, and I already feel better. I take topamax for nerve pain and headaches, Motrin for pain, Nexium for my stomach. Of course there is still a lot of pain and it's hard to get comfortable at night, but I am getting a little better. I am scheduled to have a steriod injection on May 5th to help with pain. I am hoping it will help with all the nerve problems that have been going on due to the bulges. If that doesn't work, I believe that my pain dr mentioned the facet block that Mirfisto had mentioned. All the messing around the therapists, and chiropracters were doing to my neck were only making me worse. I really do feel better now that they are leaving me alone. I do have to be carefull of every little thing I do tho. I am also on work comp, and just received a letter on Thurs., that my employer has actually fired me. I didn't know you could get fired while you were on work comp. I faxed the letter to my lawer, but haven't heard back. Keep in touch. Angela

 
Old 05-22-2006, 08:12 AM   #11
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

sometimes a ct scan will pick up the bony parts of a scan and mine picked up several bone spurs pressing on nerves the pain can be unbearable sometimes... try to get into a pain management, they will do more testing. a disogram is also very informative, although a little painful...........

 
Old 05-23-2006, 09:42 PM   #12
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

The scan I had was only a few months ago and it was extremely noisey. I actually had to wear ear plugs. I'm pretty sure it was an MRI.
I am disapointed that the person who examined the sheets said my neck looked normal. I personally had a look at the scan right after they finished the whole process and noticed a the area of my pain was solid white. Everything else on my neck appeared grey and black with small areas of white. How could they person have missed that??? My eyes themselves could tell that wasn't normal.
I swear, that examination specialist made a mistake or looked at the wrong scan.
They probably thought about that area and decided it was more likely to be o.k. than problem-some... go figure.

I just wish they would have explained the sheets personally so I could know for sure. My chiropractor did that with an X-Ray he took and said the spine had stage 1 disc compression or so (went there about 6 months ago). The chiro there said to come for 4 weeks...3 times a week, so I did. After those 4 weeks, he did a check-up and recommended 4 more. I didn't feel any change, and my insurance only covered a limited amount of visits. I was forced to stop going due to financial limitations. I'm glad this pain management center I'm going to completely accepts my insurance plan so well, because I've had 15 appointments covered so far.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 06:25 AM   #13
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

has any actual doc ever read your films at all?what was their opinion if they did?if no one else has seen these,well a second read by one of your docs or at another facility would most definitely be in order.who knows how much real experience this particular rad had the day he read your films.could have even been his first day of work.who knows.but at least one more read or better yet a new MRI if this one is older than a year would really be a better way to go.good luck,Marcia
__________________
3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 06:33 AM   #14
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

Vitagen, how did you injure your neck to begin with?

 
Old 05-26-2006, 10:06 PM   #15
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Re: Posterior Neck Muscle Pain. 5 years now :(

I'm not sure about an exact source of the injury, but heres a list of things that may have contributed to it:

- Carrying heavy loads in a backpack for a few years ago in grade school.

- Using computers for atleast 8 years now. *

- Neck popping habbit due to the stress of social anxiety. **

- Lots of injuries as a very young child. These include of: slipping on a wet deck and have a crooked back for only a day, falling down an entire flight of stairs on my back (no really...I'm lucky to be alive) and having a log hit me on the head which was ment to be tossed into a pile of logs.

- Around the age of six, I road a 4-wheeler (mini-atv) into a teliphone pole and was thrown foward onto the ground, several feet away. The rest is completely blank on me untill I woke up in a bed.

- Around the age of ten, me and another fifth grader friend of mine used to practice break danceing. One day after a sleepover at his house, I noticed my neck was feeling strained. The sensation went away the next day.


Everything in my neck seemed normal untill the age of thirteen, when I started to wake up with a very stiff neck and back...every morning.

At fourteen, things were still stiff, but my parents refused to goto a doctor just because of muscle stiffness. Eh, puberty is the excuse with that age normally...heights shoot up, and hey, maybe they even get muscle tension due to a grown spirt. Neck cracking started to become a habbit.

At fifteen, I started feeling a mild pain in my neck. The stiffness was stiff there too and social anxiety didn't help either. I also started to walk funny due to social anxiety. Let's my legs were very tense when I walked, so I probably didn't have any bounce or rythem to it...just pace pace pace.)

Sixteen, the pain got worse in my neck, the stiffness became an all-day issue rather than just a morning one, and my walking started to become so tense that I almost stumbled on my own shoes a few times. I also started to move very akward in public. Shakey and Robotic.

Seventeen, the pain started to prevent me from sleeping correctly now. Every night (yes every night) no matter how much excersize or how much yoga and stretching I do on my neck, it gives me pain that makes it very hard to relaxe into sleep...kind of like someone feeding you caffiene throughout the night.

I'm currently Eighteen and everything is about the same so far. I've been getting electric acupuncture (stem needles) for 4 weeks now...twice a week. No help with the pain whatsoever. I really appriciate the guy trying though. I should be getting a nerve block for the accipital nerves in two weeks and for the time being. I'm also trying several forms of meditation that are claimed to ease, if not, heal muscle pain in the longterm.

Notes:
* I know people who've used em for 10 years+ and have had no chronic pain in their neck or back. I normally sit up strait and have the moniter at eye level anyways. I've never had chronic backpain oddly enough...it's just my neck.

** My neck doesnt pop much now of days and I hardly do it anymore. Maybe once or twice in a month or so on accident. I trained myself to reduce the habbit to a hault and now it's not as easy to pop. Before, I'd have like 10 pops with a turn of one side...now if it accidentally pops, it's only 1 which is very small.

Last edited by Vitagen; 05-26-2006 at 10:16 PM.

 
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