neck-upper back and shoulder pain

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babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/14/2011 11:09 AM (GMT -6)   
for about 3 years i have had cronic pain in my neck and upper back and shoulders. ive had EKG's, xrays, MRI's,... etc. several diff. doctors, i get answers like... "gastric issues, anxiety issues, and pulled muscles".....but, its the same pain all the time. does anyone elese have this??  its the right side of my neck, seems to start from behind my ear, all the way down to my shoulder. then my upper back between my shoulder blades and my spine hurt.
  my family dr. mildley menstioned fibro mialga... but, she didnt go into detail, so i really dotn think its that. its like an achy hurt... i am constantly living on pain meds, and muscle relaxers.... and then there are some days, it just doesnt hurt, but those are VERY few and far inbetween. like right now.... i hurt... i feel like my chest and back just need to crack, but i know they dont.. its just a constant ache. specially the side of my neck. :-(  any idea's??

straydog
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 10598
   Posted 3/14/2011 11:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Babette, sorry to read that you are having such a terrible time. What really makes it worse is no explanation as to why you have this pain. That is such a frustrating situation. I am assuming all of your tests have come back within normal limits. My thoughts would be perhaps to consider finding a teaching hospital close to your home and get an appt for a consult. Those guys are good at finding things that other drs overlook. If you will look up at the top at CP101 there is a list of teaching hospitals in there. The other option might be to go see a PM dr and let him/her try to figure out what is going on. Just don't give up and try to ride things out either. You still have some options.

Good luck and I hope that you get some answers.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

cogito
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Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 785
   Posted 3/14/2011 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I have pain in similar areas, though on my left. My neck, shoulder, upper back (esp. around the inside of the shoulder blade), burning down the back of my arm, tingling in my fingers.

In my case, it is due to nerve compression at a few levels of my cervical spine.

If you haven't yet, get an x-ray of your spine to address whether it is at all curved or degenerating in that area. If there are any signs, an MRI of the spine (to assess the disks, etc.) and a neurologist would be good next steps.

You might also want to explore traction for diagnostic purposes. Talk to your doctor about it. If it is a spinal issue, traction can sometimes offer brief relief.

One other idea is thoracic outlet syndrome. It addresses some but not all your symptoms:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002406/
C4-T4 Scoliosis (disk degeneration, stenosis, narrowed neuroforamen, bone spurs), RT hip and SI joint damage from car accident. Also, Supraventricular tacycardia and mitral valve prolapse syndrome.
Current meds: Ultram ER 300mg daily, breakthrough - hydrocodone 10-15mg, or oxycodone 5-7.5mg. .25-.5mg ativan as needed for sleep, Verapamil 240mg SR (for tachycardia).

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3079
   Posted 3/14/2011 3:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Babette -

I've got the same right side neck pain, had the tests, no cause found. I can't imagine where your docs get their ideas of cause, although I've also had more than 1 doc blame everything on those same two conditions.

My cervical MRI shows only a little spine degeneration. The shoulder MRI does show bursitis and tendonitis, and steroid injection helped that a lot, although it doesn't last past 6 weeks. The shoulder though, has nothing to do with the neck pain.

I do have scoliosis, but that's mainly lumbar and thoracic problem, also not related to neck. I haven't strained anything I know of. It has nothing to do with my GERD or fibromyalgia.

The pain med I tolerate (tramadol) doesn't help either. I can't take any muscle relaxants that work, or I tolerate, or I'm allowed, along with tramadol. (Diazepam stops the muscle spasms, but my pain doc won't let me take even 1 mg a day because he's sure I will become addicted.) It hurts too much to do exercises or PT.

If you find a real cause or treatment I hope you'll post!
Alcie
 
 

babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/14/2011 3:55 PM (GMT -6)   
THank you EVERYone that has posted!! Cogito, i have looked at the site you provided for me, thank you. Stray Dog, yes... all my doctors have pretty much said that the all the test results are "normal", exept for all the times ive been told i have gastric, anxiety and pulled muscle issues.
but, ive had an upper GI, a colonoscopy etc... they are all normal as well.... so, i will look into what youve suguested too.
Alcie, you and i have alot in common, i to have been given Tramadol for pain.. i can only take a 1/2 at a time, im so sensitive to med's, that a whole one gives me nausia. ive been given Diazepam 5mg, but it didnt seem to help with any of it. ive taken xanax, and that seems to help and my doctor said because its a form of muscle relaxer is why it helps, but i dont wanna become addicted.... so, i try not to take it... and i dont wanna just "cover up" the problem... i wanna fix it ya know?. I will deffinitly keep you all posted as you were so kind to reply to my post. THank you very much. i wish you all the best.

BluAngel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 304
   Posted 3/14/2011 5:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Bab66 - I have severe fibromyalgia so I understand the pain from this. I have Addisons Disease, anx/panic d/o, no stomach or spleen and a whole lovely host of medical problems. BUT heres an idea. Your describing what I felt in the beginning to mid progression of Cervical Dystonia and Spinal Stenosis. Sounds mortifying and its rough and it may not have anything to do with whats going on with you. Dystonia causes severe muscle locks n spasms in my neck back of head shoulders and way down my shoulder blades to my back. Neck n shoulders are worse. Muscles get hard as rocks tendons stand out unbearable. Its root cause is in the brain signals. Got all kinds od diagnoses til I saw an excellent neuro. I do have to take pain meds n patches ativan and trigger point injections evry 3 mos. Have had botox to paralyze the muscles didnt like that. Its a distant cousin of MS but with management it doesnt have to b like that. This is only an idea 4 u to consider. Maybe read up on Cervical Dystonia or ask your neuro if they think its possible. Dont want 2 worry you just sounds like Dystonia n wld b worth checking out for relief. HUGGZ
A friend is someone who, when you have forgotten your heartsong, can sing it back to you.

babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/15/2011 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
BluAngel,
Thank you for the information!! ive been reading about this, this morning and the "location" of the pain sounds right. but, i have a question... it says that the main symptom is "involitary movement of the neck moving to the side or up and down".... do you have that? and do they mean,...while your just sitting there your head jerks to the left or right, or up/down?.... they make it sound kind of like a "tic" ... somthing like that. That is my question for you. I have written all this down and am going to discuss all this information that you have given me along with everyone eleses with my doctor. thank you all so much. Babette :-)

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3079
   Posted 3/15/2011 9:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Blu from me too!
I suspect spinal stenosis may be causing symptoms, but maybe not the cervical dystonia until I get some more testing and talk to my pain doc. I've started having a bit of urine leaking, had no idea it could be connected with cervical spine until you prompted me to read!!!! I thought it trouble with lower lumbar spine trouble, for which I am getting injections, or maybe pressure from uterine fibroids and tortuous sigmoid colon. I knew about cauda equina, but not the cervical connection.

Trigger point injections hurt, had them for shoulder pain but didn't work, although they did help neck pain, which I hadn't even complained about. My neck pain isn't tic-like, more constant.

Thanks Babette for the good discussion. You're asking questions I didn't think to ask.

Thanks cogito for the link. Some of these symptoms sound right too. I'll have to discuss all these possibilities with the pain doc. My ortho appt for shoulder isn't for a while yet, but he doesn't do anything with spine anyway. Neuro appt next month, but I don't want to confuse this with my main issue of headache. Time to do lots more reading!
Alcie
 
 

babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/15/2011 9:23 AM (GMT -6)   
yes, thank you to everyone.... ive been taking notes, and reading alot from each one of your's posts! it really does give me a "starting point" to discuss with my dr. you all have helped so much.
i just thought.... it was me.. that ive jsut had a stiff neck for the past 3 years, but then i started thinking...... thats not really "normal".
I post on the Anxiety part of this site, never thought to post here and im so VERY glad i did!!

Babette

BluAngel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 304
   Posted 3/15/2011 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello 2 everybody who replied about Dystonia. It was hard 4 them 2 find because of my fibromyalgia and several other things I had going on. Great neuro as I said. It presents in me as terrible pain and you can see and feel the huge bulges of knotted up muscle n tendons on my neck sticking out at attention. Its usually just locked, I call it. There is some spasm and pulling but not as its treated. Once in a great while I will have a sharp twitch to my head from a nasty neck spasm but rarely. I have seen ppl who cannot lift their head off their shoulder or who do have those twitches like Parkinsons but thank God I dont. I dont know what it wld be like without treatment and meds. I have to wear heavy pain patches and muscle relaxers and the trigger points. We tried everything in an effort to correct it but it doesnt correct unfortunately. The brain is telling the muscles to pull the discs in my neck shoulders and back because it thinks they are out of place but the only thing that pulls them out of place is because they are pulling! Ive seen some ppl have deep brain stimulation because theirs is so bad. Again thank God mine isnt. Put that with the fibro and some disc degeneration and it finally got me when I was diagnosed with Addisons Disease which brought on gout. Havent been able 2 work in a yr now. Going to have to get ssdi. Anyway, I hope desperately no one else has Dystonia even tho it seems to show itself in different stages of severity. But if you feel you might then please have it checked out. The pain is horrendous. My fibro is so bad I cant hardly stand to be touched. Tried all kinds of meds for that too. Has anyone had any relief from meds for FM? CAREFUL HUGGZ
A friend is someone who, when you have forgotten your heartsong, can sing it back to you.

babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/15/2011 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
my heartfelt thoughts are with you Blu. Im sorry your having to go through all this. thank you for sharing your story with us, and i hope and pray you get more relief. very "gentle" hugs to you.
Babette

BluAngel
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 304
   Posted 3/15/2011 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi B! You know tho, I was just thinking after that last post I made, theyve told me 3 or 4 times in my life when Ive had emergency surgeries that they werent sure Id make it but I did. In 2005 they had 2 remove my entire stomach spleen n part of my intestine and they told me "your life as you know it is over". They said Id nvr work again have to live on liquids would just not be able to do anything. Anything. And I stunned them all. I worked full time til the last year, I generally eat what I want and while I tired easily and had many struggles with my health I did NOT go down. It wasnt til the Addisons kicked in and the stress hormones which run unchecked from it kept pulling my body down that I almost did die and was going to do so from stubbornness if I didnt let work go and take care of myself. I just pushed it too far. While I hate being incapacitated....Im still here and I still have a life. I am grateful for that. HUGGZ
A friend is someone who, when you have forgotten your heartsong, can sing it back to you.

babette66
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/15/2011 12:58 PM (GMT -6)   
That is truley and inspiring story and so personal for you to share. Good for you for being a go-getter!!! Im happy that your happy and your able to write to us and inspire us, and give us all the feed-back you have. Warm thoughts and hugs to you.

Rhaevin
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/17/2011 12:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Chronic pain in upper back, neck, and shoulders sounds similar to something I went through for awhile. While my doctor's said my x-rays look fine, it wasn't till I went to my chiropractor. He took his own x-rays of my neck and upper back and was apalled that my doctor's told me I was "fine" when my curvature of my neck was so bad it had actually reversed directions. I went in to see him 3 times a week for regular adjustments to my whole spinal colum, and then went through extreme traction treatments. They were only mildly uncomfortable, but the goal was to get the curve back in the right direction. After a few minutes of localized traction to my neck then I'd get an ice pack and TENs unit for several minutes before I was done. It took about 6 weeks, and the thoughest thing was to remember my posture afterwards so I didn't like it revert back to it's previous state.

I'm not saying that's what wrong, but it is another possibility, and depending on what's going on in that area it could be causing issues with the discs and your nerves.

I sincerely hope you find someone that can tell you soon what's wrong and get you fixed back up so you're good as new!
Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3079
   Posted 3/17/2011 6:19 AM (GMT -6)   
I went to a chiropractor once and he almost killed me. He took x-rays so he could get paid by my insurance, even though I went in with MRIs. He didn't know how to read the MRIs - no training in that! He "cracked" my neck and lumbar spine even though I expressly told him not to! It hurt a lot and kept on hurting for a week. I cancelled all further appointments, told the girl who called why - he made the neck and back much worse!

Since then I've read more about avoiding chiropractic when you have degenerated discs, herniations, etc. I'm convinced I just barely avoided paralysis or death.

That's my experience, and I'm sure it is different from other's. I'm sure some chiropractors are gentle, but the lesson is to ask what they are going to do before they do it and know your own condition so you are aware what would be dangerous for you in your particular condition.
Alcie
 
 
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