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  • Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

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    Old 09-01-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
    mischik
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    Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Hi there,

    I'd love some advice.

    About two years ago my husband was rubbing my neck along the spine. He hit upon a spot that made me jump - left side, roughly around C5, very close to the spine (rather hard to get to actually.. have to feel around for it by tracking starting at C7 and slightly off to the left side, tracking straight up the spine until we find it).

    I asked him to continue working on it thinking it was a muscle.

    Two years later, it aches most of the day while on my computer in particular. I can make it momentarily painful by moving in certain directions, though I've yet to determine precisely what those directions are. Note this is not constant pain.. it occurs while moving in specific locations, stretching the area, or being pushed on.

    On occasion, when I raise my arm above my head, I get radiating pain (though this is extremely rare). Sometimes the neck area tingles. If someone gets in there just right and pushes directly on it, it feels like a spherical mass that is hard but it does compress to some extent. It does cause pain to push on it, but that pain does not radiate.

    I have been using computers for roughly 22 years full time all day (12+ hours per day) with admittedly poor posture (though I am working on it!) My assistant calls it a "turtlenecking" position that I sit in. (I project my head forward and it is no longer in line with shoulders). I've tried every ergonomic move possible, raised my monitor up recently and so on. I have noticed that when I travel the pain dissipates somewhat, though it comes right back again and it never completely disappears. Unfortunately I work 7 days per week so taking any time off isn't an option.

    Im worried about obvious problems.. tumors, etc. Does anyone have any advice regarding this? Anyone experienced something similar? No other problems that seem to be associated with it, and in very good health otherwise. I work out regularly until about six months ago (but the condition hasn't changed since then - if anything just slightly increased based on computer usage), 33 year old female, small build, normal body weight & mass.

    Thoughts anyone?

     
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    Old 09-02-2008, 08:07 PM   #2
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Have you tried massage therapy at all? If you have some muscle tension from bad ergonomics the massage can definetly help. If the problem is persistent you'll want to see your doctor for an exam and xrays. If the xrays show anything or if your symptoms are indicative of some disc problems your doctor may refer you to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon or Neurosurgeon. In my case my primary care doctor did an MRI first and then upon the results referred me to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.
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    Old 09-02-2008, 08:29 PM   #3
    sunshine221
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    I agree with SpineAX - check your monitor position and height, keyboard height and chair - get a well fitting chair!!!! I'm small and it wasn't easy to find one.

    Don't just find any massage therapist - ask for one who does cranial-sacrial - this is a subtle technique that encourages spinal fluid movement - tell him or her that you might have c-spine issues and please don't work that area too much.

    I've sat at a computer screen since 1982. My problems developed over time from about April 2004 to when I was diagnosed and practically emergency surgery in Aug 2005. I've never had a major accident so computer posture is definitely on my suspect list.

    Good luck!!

    Gloria

     
    Old 09-02-2008, 08:34 PM   #4
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Thanks.. I do get massage regularly. Generally they dont want to touch the area at all as its too close to the spine, but have noted very tight shoulder muscles particularly on that side.

    As an update to my post, I saw a chiropractor today - one specializing in biofeedback and traction.. primarily though to get x-rays and quickly. Ill have results tomorrow. They promised to call tonight if it was a cyst or tumor. I am hoping to know more tomorrow and appreciate the time you took to write. Ill let everyone know what happens regardless in case this helps someone in the future.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
    Have you tried massage therapy at all? If you have some muscle tension from bad ergonomics the massage can definetly help. If the problem is persistent you'll want to see your doctor for an exam and xrays. If the xrays show anything or if your symptoms are indicative of some disc problems your doctor may refer you to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon or Neurosurgeon. In my case my primary care doctor did an MRI first and then upon the results referred me to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.

     
    Old 09-02-2008, 08:36 PM   #5
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Hi Gloria.. I have a very ergonomic setup.. even had an ergo specialist come out, take photos, measure everything (about three years ago) and she solved lots of arm problems and wrist problems, which was excellent. Im also very small.. I have a very specialized chair but wonder if it's not the right one for me. May I ask what chair you're using? I do find that while it's an excellent, highly ergonomic chair (cost me over $1000), I cannot sit completely back in it because I am too small .. or perhaps, the chair is too big.

    I have also never had an accident.. Im hoping it IS related to posture and not something more serious. :-( Kind of freaked out.. but I guess I will find out more. hehe I dont have much faith in chiro's, so I dont know if I trust their analysis of an x-ray as they seem to think everything is a subluxation. *sigh*

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221 View Post
    I agree with SpineAX - check your monitor position and height, keyboard height and chair - get a well fitting chair!!!! I'm small and it wasn't easy to find one.

    Don't just find any massage therapist - ask for one who does cranial-sacrial - this is a subtle technique that encourages spinal fluid movement - tell him or her that you might have c-spine issues and please don't work that area too much.

    I've sat at a computer screen since 1982. My problems developed over time from about April 2004 to when I was diagnosed and practically emergency surgery in Aug 2005. I've never had a major accident so computer posture is definitely on my suspect list.

    Good luck!!

    Gloria

     
    Old 09-03-2008, 03:34 AM   #6
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Mischik

    I forget the exact brand of chair - I bought it at Staples - I think it was around $150 but I can fit in it so my feet touch the floor and my back, the back of the chair. I own my small business (12 employees) and we have since bought some "wonderful" looking chairs but they have been too big for several of my people -- I will be shopping soon for different ones for them.

    Not to scare you, but watch for changes if the disks are deteriorating or if there are herniations, etc. Over time I developed problems such as bad balance and right side weakness and ultimately I was close to urinary incontinency. I was a 70wpm typist but I was making typos and I realized that my left hand was moving faster than the right. When I was diagnosed, the neruologist was so concerned that he had me in for a neruosurgen consult within 1.5 days and my surgery was three weeks later. In that time we did see a chiro and he actually agreed that I needed the surgery.

    I do hope you get relief without surgery.

    Gloria

     
    Old 09-03-2008, 12:37 PM   #7
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Eek Gloria that does freak me out. My worst nightmare is having to have surgery. I have contracts that allow for zero time off. I'd lose all my contracts. :-( Ill know more today.. hoping it isn't that bad. I also hope a chiro can tell enough on an x-ray to know if there is a serious problem or not. Ugh. It's my assumption, whether valid or not, that if it was "very serious" then the pain would be constant.. not only after the area fatigues or someone presses on it.. thoughts?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221 View Post
    Mischik

    I forget the exact brand of chair - I bought it at Staples - I think it was around $150 but I can fit in it so my feet touch the floor and my back, the back of the chair. I own my small business (12 employees) and we have since bought some "wonderful" looking chairs but they have been too big for several of my people -- I will be shopping soon for different ones for them.

    Not to scare you, but watch for changes if the disks are deteriorating or if there are herniations, etc. Over time I developed problems such as bad balance and right side weakness and ultimately I was close to urinary incontinency. I was a 70wpm typist but I was making typos and I realized that my left hand was moving faster than the right. When I was diagnosed, the neruologist was so concerned that he had me in for a neruosurgen consult within 1.5 days and my surgery was three weeks later. In that time we did see a chiro and he actually agreed that I needed the surgery.

    I do hope you get relief without surgery.

    Gloria

     
    Old 09-03-2008, 01:19 PM   #8
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Not sure if it would work, but what if you bought a soft cervical collar and tried it out for a few days? It may help keep you in a better position. Not a very big investment but an idea. I can tell you that the ergonomics of computer use is a huge impact on neck pain/strain. You'd think that travel would impact my pain and make it worse - but sometimes business travel helps as I'm not in that "computer" position. In fact I can work at home without pain but at my office have some pain. I think I need a keyboard tray under my work desk and will have to see if they'll do that for me. I have one at home and that may be why I tend to have less pain working at home (that and I can control my movement better, relax when I need to, etc)
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    Old 09-03-2008, 03:09 PM   #9
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    You know.. Ill do that today.. Ill go get one. That is a great idea. Funny but traveling helps mine too.. so does sitting at a hotel desk for 15 hours.. just not in the same position on my laptop I guess as I am on the desktop. I guess that's a good sign of something not-so-serious either.. although quite painful. eek.. thank you for the idea!

    D

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
    Not sure if it would work, but what if you bought a soft cervical collar and tried it out for a few days? It may help keep you in a better position. Not a very big investment but an idea. I can tell you that the ergonomics of computer use is a huge impact on neck pain/strain. You'd think that travel would impact my pain and make it worse - but sometimes business travel helps as I'm not in that "computer" position. In fact I can work at home without pain but at my office have some pain. I think I need a keyboard tray under my work desk and will have to see if they'll do that for me. I have one at home and that may be why I tend to have less pain working at home (that and I can control my movement better, relax when I need to, etc)

     
    Old 09-03-2008, 09:18 PM   #10
    sunshine221
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    I like spineaz's idea to go get a soft collar - it is amazing how good it feels at times - the neuro who diagnosed me had me get one right away before surgery and I've worn it from time to time when "stressed"

    My main advice is to pay attention for things getting worse. Ask the doc/chiro for critical symptoms to watch for (big one is urinary incotinence (sp?))

    Keep us posted.
    Gloria

     
    Old 09-03-2008, 10:40 PM   #11
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Thanks Gloria.

    The DC found no masses.. they did find 22 degree range of motion issue in the neck, and my body is 4.5 cm off center. They also found bone spurs, extra tissue building up, and the body building up bone trying to fuse. So.. I have a long road of recovery ahead of me. :-( I remember you saying you are petite.. if you have a specific chair or collar in mind I'd love to hear it. To anyone who is reading this with similar symptoms, be sure to ask about the lower back and scoliosis. Turns out mine is scoliosis and posture related.. the scoliosis forcing bad posture due to spine alignment. Ugh.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221 View Post
    I like spineaz's idea to go get a soft collar - it is amazing how good it feels at times - the neuro who diagnosed me had me get one right away before surgery and I've worn it from time to time when "stressed"

    My main advice is to pay attention for things getting worse. Ask the doc/chiro for critical symptoms to watch for (big one is urinary incotinence (sp?))

    Keep us posted.
    Gloria

     
    Old 09-04-2008, 06:57 PM   #12
    sunshine221
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Interesting point, I have a curvature in the lower spine but while I did have a full spine MRI, no one mentioned it as source for the c-spine issues.

    My main advice with the chair is don't buy something you can't sit in first. The last few chairs my business bought are "beautiful" but too big for many of my staff.

    keep us posted

    Gloria

     
    Old 09-05-2008, 12:46 PM   #13
    mischik
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    Re: Neck Pain, Isolated to one side/location

    Good advice, thanks. Definitely Ill keep everyone posted as to what the outcome is. I begin round 2 of traction therapy today. This will go through the end of Dec.. but Ill keep the board posted in case it helps someone else.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunshine221 View Post
    Interesting point, I have a curvature in the lower spine but while I did have a full spine MRI, no one mentioned it as source for the c-spine issues.

    My main advice with the chair is don't buy something you can't sit in first. The last few chairs my business bought are "beautiful" but too big for many of my staff.

    keep us posted

    Gloria

     
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