In the past month or more I have been experiencing a nagging stiffness and pain on the right side of my neck. It feels almost like a muscle cramp that will not disappear. Although it has been consistently present, its intensity varies, that is, sometimes itís severe, other times it is barely noticeable. At first I thought it might be that not so uncommon stiffness and temporary pain one can get from sleeping in a bad position, but I ruled that out when the discomfort didnít vanish after a few days. Then I thought perhaps it may be an arthritic type problem that comes with the aging process (I just turned 70 years of age) and will have to learn to live with it? I have two older brothers that suffer from arthritis. Or could the cause be because I do a great deal of writing and tend to be on the computer and laptop a good five or six hours a day (sometimes more). The problem with that self-diagnosis is that Iíve sat in that same chair, in essentially the same position, and before a computer just about daily for nearly 20 years. Why would such a problem surface now?
I fully realize the difficulty of diagnosing from a distance but any speculation or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and could save me time or money. If the pain or discomfort continues or threatens my physical ability to write, I would like to avoid daily ingestion of ibuprofen or similar pain medications (I already am taking low-dose aspirin daily for other reasons) and will see my Primary Care Physician for the usual referral, which brings me to the next question. What is the preferred specialty for such a problem? Orthopedic physician? Chiropractic? Iíve even heard thereís something called Feldenkrais, an alternative approach that can be effective for these types of problems. Many thanks in advance for you input!