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Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain

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Old 04-07-2011, 11:23 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain

Hi everyone!

I'm a 26 y/o female, and on Monday I developed SEVERE upper back/lower neck pain. I've always had neck problems, tension headaches and a frequent "popping" and "cracking" to relieve tension.

I went to a chiropractor since it felt like my back needed to "pop" to release the pain. He took x-rays that showed significant misalignment and probable disk compression. He's going to focus on alleviating the pain right now, but is suggesting a treatment plan to properly align my spine to prevent this from happening. Of course, I went in to relieve the pain, so I'm a bit blindsided and confused by this.

He seems quite knowledgeable, and my pain has changed in just 2 visits - it's no longer a general upper back ache but a more localized pain in the problem area. However, I'm young, have 4 children and very active. I worked hard to lose weight after my last child was born, and am afraid when I hear "disk compression" that it will inevitably lead to surgery and a loss of my newly found activity level. I know several people who have had various back surgeries, from cleanings to pins to plates, and it really frightens me.

So, in light of all that, I have 2 questions
1) Is it right (ie, helpful) to involve my doctor and/or an osteo to look over the treatment plan and x-rays? Is this an unreasonable request? I suppose my thinking here is, if there is indeed compression, it would be good to have someone who goes in to fix those problems surgically weigh in on the benefits of chiro therapy.

2) Can these types of problems be resolved? I'm generally suspicious of things that seem "too good to be true." Is this snake oil or a viable way to avoid/push back problems?

Thank you!

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Old 04-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #2
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Re: Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain

Sudden, severe pain sounds like either an injury (and it might not show up until the next day--like it did with me) or possible flu/meningitis.

Don't just depend on the chiropractor: go see your GP and get checked out. You might need physical therapy or additional treatment.

Old 04-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #3
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Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Re: Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain


The pain on Monday was upon waking. There had been no pain the night before, and no injuries/falls/trips/slips/etc in the day preceding.

I was initially concerned it was some kind of illness, but, considering the progression and lack of other symptoms (and that I've had all my various check-ups in the last month), I'm positive this is strictly a spinal/muscular issue.

So, the onset is kind of a mystery. The pain is slightly relieved by stretching and the adjustments are helping (just not fast enough for my taste).

I have had SIMILAR experiences before, although never this SEVERE. I recall several incidents of being unable to move my neck - like it was locked - for days at a time. Eventually, I'd try to stretch and there would be a long "pop" and the pain would gradually subside. This is, by far, the worst it's ever been, though I still have the feeling that if I could just stretch it "a little more" it would pop back into place.

Old 04-07-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain

Hi. I'm sorry you are having this problem but I do agree with the other poster; you should not be trusting this to a chiropractor but should see your family practitioner.

Your family doctor may think an MRI is in order to see if there is something going on with a disc or other spinal issue other than muscular. Much as I dislike dissing a doctor, I have severe reservations about allowing a chiropractor to manipulate any area of the spine. I was one in the hosptial for a spinal fusion and my roommate had seen a chiro for "neck stiffness"; immediately following manipulation she had a stroke followed by temporary paralysis. She was very lucky and made a full recovery but it could have been much more serious. This is not the only incident I have read about or heard about concerning manipulation of the spine. I do know that there are some chiro's who will NOT treat a pt they suspect might have certain issues, but others have the pt come back over and over again and do no good.

Please let us know what your pcp says and stay in touch with us. I do hope this turns out to be nothing serious at all.

Lumbar surgery x 7 over the last 30 years.
cervical fusion...2 levels
medtronic pain pump implanted
Last surgery Oct, 2010, 3 levels

Old 04-07-2011, 12:44 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Re: Headaches, cracking, and now severe neck pain

Thanks, maltluver. I'd heard about the stroke risk and it does concern me, but I figure there's a risk with everything. I have a call into my GP since this morning (after seeing the chiro) and am hoping for a call back soon. She's very in favor of physical therapy/chiro/massage in general, so I'm sure she'll be upfront about whether I should get mine butt into her office or not.

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chiropractor, compressed disk, misaligned, neck pain

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