Since 25th January 2007 my head has been feeling very heavy 24/7, this is caused by a tight feeling in my neck and the fatigued feeling that is presumably coming from my trapezius. My neck feels like your legs do after you’ve been standing up or running all day and has the tendency to want to slump down to the weakest side (which is the left). The right hand side comes and goes but is mostly alright . The intensity of this problem varies with absolutely no discernible pattern irrespective of what I did on that day, but in spite of the fact that it has never disappeared, the intensity as of the last 2 months has been a little bit lower than it normally would be (for reasons I will later explain). Overall it’s a big pain in the backside and has left me feeling miserable for pretty much the entire duration of the time that I’ve been stuck with it, regardless as to how hard I try to get on with things.The problem was caused by me kneeling over my computer (which was on my bed) many times during one particular week (more time and much longer than ever before) in which the problem began to exist and get worse until I officially noticed it later in that week. Below are all the things I have tried and which have had partial or no success in reducing the intensity.
Partially successful treatments
DOSULEPIN- taken for 7 months starting from 50mg per night and ending with 150mg per night. This helped to gradually remove a headache that constantly occurred between Dec 2007 – January 2008.
HEATPACKS/ MASSAGING- in some case the problem was responsive to these and the intensity was temporarily lowered.
USING 3 INSTEAD OF 2 PILLOWS- since the beginning of August 2008 this has had a mild, but permanent affect in keeping the average intensity (out of 10) lower and ensuring that it wasn’t as bad at it’s worst.
1 MUSCLE RELAXANT INJECTION- this had a very quick affect on the headache feeling which recently came back and a few days it relived me of all the tightness in my neck and lowered the heaviness. A few days after this the headache feeling still hasn’t came back, but the tightness has started up again and the intensity has gone back to what it was before the injection.
Things that have been tried and failed
STANDARD PAIN KILLERS- such as Ibuprofen and another more powerful one
POSTURE IMPROVEMENT- This was tried in a few ways which started from using tape on my back to keep my posture better to generally trying to sit and stand straighter. It either made no difference at all or it temporarily made things worse. My posture is actually a lot better than it’s ever been (I stand and sit much better) but annoyingly this hasn’t affected my problem.
PHYSIO THERAPY EXCERCISES- Loads of different exercises were done over the course of several months and they either made no difference at all or temporarily made the problem worse.
MRI SSAN- Showed nothing of concern at all
ACUPUNCTURE- Done for 5 weeks, but made no difference.
If anyone has any solutions that they can offer (even small or obvious ones will be appreciated) then I’d be very grateful to hear from you. I can provide you with any further information if needs be. Thankyou.
Have you had your neck x-rayed? I suffer from similar symptoms and they are due to severe muscle spasms which caused a straightening of the cervical spine. My posture is also very bad.
Your posture won't be enough to correct your current problems. If your neck and shoulders are spastic they are going to cause a host of symptoms including fatigue, headaches (especially on the sides of the head and forehead), feelings of wobbiness and pressure in the ears.
I used to spend long hours in front of my laptop and my symptoms are similar to yours. The difference is that I have always been so anti medications which is why I have been trying for the past year to tackle my problems with out as much as taking a painkiller. It is so easy for doctors to prescribe muscle relaxants, mood enhancers, B12 injections, etc. In my view, these mask the underlying cause which is why I have never taken them.
My advice to you is to have your neck x-rayed and try to persist with physiotherapy until you see results. It is not going to happen over night. Try to introduce Yoga into your daily routine. You don't need to join a class. A good yoga routine on DVD can do wonders. The fact that heat pads have worked for you means that your muscles are at the root of your problems. A good chiropractor might help although personally I prefer a good physiotherapist.
Don't give up. I have been through 5 physiotherapists and I start with a new one on Wednesday. You need to tell yourself that it is only temporary. I have been suffering for a year and not a day goes by when I don't tell myself that I will definitely find a cure. Your morale is a very imporant part of the whole process.
Firstly, don't x-rays look at bones (which even I'm certain isn't the cause). Secondly, I agree that moral is an important part of the process and although I'm very rarely as happy as I once was (only on the rare extremely good days whereby for a few hours at most the intensity is very low and the heaviness/ache's almost gone), I still hold hope that it will be cured, but there is no way of knowing how far off that'd be. The longer you wait the harder it is, especially when you can't prove that there even is a problem (only your word to go on).
Thirdly, it seems that all your symptoms mirror my own, but fortunately I haven't had pressure in the ears, only the head and that seems to be the only part of the problem that can be resolved.
So has anything been marginally or temporarily successful for you?
X-rays would reveal or exlcude any underlying problems with your cervical spine. I have had my ups and downs since this whole thing started more than a year ago. I don't take any medications even painkillers as I believethese are temporary solutions and not a long-term treatment. I am currently going through a down period which is why I giving it a shot with another physiotherapist starting Wednesday.
The thing you must remember is that something must be causing all these symptoms and in cases like ours, you should try to pursue all options available no matter how trivial they may sound. Start off with an x-ray and take it from there.
For cervical problems and MRI and or a CT scan or even a Mylogram is more effective at revealing problems than a regular X-ray but an X-ray has it's place as well. For example an MRI couldn't see a broken scew in my neck but an x-ray did.
One year after I had my ACDF I was rear ended at a dead stop. Other than the broken screw there was no real problems at that time. My nuerosurgeon said I have permanent nerve, muscle and soft tissue damage. I had very similiar symptoms as you.
I have found that lidoderm patches to be very effective for the soft tissue/muscle pain. It doesn't work for everyone but deems a try. There's also an over the counter rub, and the name just escapes me right now, that you used to only be able to get through medical supply companies that I use. it's a blue gel and it works great. Maybe someone will remember the name or I'll find the bottle.
I also use a TENS unit which helps as well.
Ice can often be more effective than heat. In fact, in some situations heat may do more damage than ice so be careful.
There are dozens of different medications on the market to control pain in terms of general pain, muscle pain, soft tissue pain. They can range from narcotics, muscle relaxers to anti-depressants. It is trial and error as to finding what works best.
Theses are just a few of the things you've not mentioned.
Of course the best situation is finding out the root cause of the problem. While you may think that the bending over was the cause it may have been just the thing that was the tip of the iceberg. Actually getting your D and B12 levels checked is a really good idea. Lack of these two essential vitamins can cause extreme damage to your body as a whole. A recent study indicated individuals with MS have a higher incidence of lack of D for example and it only starts there.
There are many muscular type of diseases or conditions that can cause the same pain without structural damage. Getting a thorough examination and possibly seeing a nuerologist may help to find the actual root cause. It may take time to find the actual cause but I wouldn't give up on it nor would I give up seeking appropriate pain management in the interim.
One last thought, a new MRI may be benificial. If it's been more than 6 months and your symptoms are worse new things could have developed. It is extremely important to have this done with Contrast because many things do not show up without it.
I had a cervical done maybe late winter early spring which showed a small herniation, I had another one done just last month, a new spur has grown and the existing spur or herniation has grown in size 4 times over. This simply illustrates how quickly problems can occur and get out of control before we know it.
Good luck to you
No matter how great your illness or pain, there's always someone else who may be worse off.
Last edited by Kissa; 10-06-2008 at 12:45 PM.
Thanks for the options people,plenty of others scans to try then I see, but I was recently discharged from pain management because it was not deemed to be helping (I mostly agree, although it helped in certain ways) my point is that they have to agree that these things are worth being tried before they're authorized.
The problem hasn't gotten worse since the last MRI scan, if anything it's a tad better thanks to an extra pillow, so no need for another.
I tried ice (the normal procedure was ice first and then heat after) and there was very little difference. If the rub that you're talking about (please try to remember the name) is anything like Deep heat or deep freeze, then they were tried when the problem first started and did jack-all.
You're the second or third person to suggest that the bending over was the tip of the ice-burg and whilst I agree it's possible, even if it wasn't the cause then it may still not have mattered because I've never bent over for this long or often before and would not have been likely to have done again and thus the potential awaiting problem would forver be on hold. All I know is thats it seems like too big a coincidence that it started at the end of the first day and went from nothing to everything over the 4-5 days of that dreaded week.
Oh and SUSU2007 I agree about painkillers not really being the answer, thats the last I've had of that injection (the affect wasn't huge and it was mostly temporary too), but it's all about finding what helps and then looking into why it helped to determine the cause. I'm still wondering what was injected into me (forgotten what it was).
I certainly agree that finding the root is most important, but they will only allow me to try so much and I'd have wasted thousands of pounds (that I don't have) if I went private.
You've also made me feel that as difficult as the problem is to solve, there is an answer (even if they can't yet find one).Perhaps you could enlighten me as to what you would do now if you were me (based on what I've already tried and what you and others have told me) everything has to start with the G.P before going any further, so what would I say (perhaps making it sound like it could help, may sway the decision in my favor)?