I’m 19yrs old and have never had the problem described below before, or anything similar.
I was working on my computer during late January of this year and most likely as a result of bending over the computer for 10min+ increments on many occasions throughout the days of 1 particular week, I later began to realize that my head felt heavy.
I have not experienced any of the tingling feelings in my hands or blurred vision or dizziness. It is very difficult for me to turn my head to the right (left hand side muscles feel very tight), but not as hard to turn it to the left. My head basically wants to face diagonally downwards (slightly to the left) and it’s a 24/7 struggle to keep it up. The intensity can very from day to day with no discernable pattern ever being noticed. Generally it will range from an almost tolerable ache (which would be 5-7 out of 10 intensity) mainly in the left hand side of my neck, to an extremely unbearable ache whereby I cannot go for very long without some support under the neck such as a folded cushion (suffice it to say that when it’s 8+ intensity that I don’t get out and about much, if at all). For the first few months it was varied in intensity, then as of June-August it was more often a 6 or 7 intensity and just recently as a result of a pulled deltoid muscle from playing golf (think that’s what I did) the intensity has climbed to maximum intensity and has stayed there for a couple of weeks. It just seems as if the body is reluctant to heal this problem once it’s reached the mildest intensity (which has been 5/10 but never seems to last very long).I have tried my best to keep exercising the neck muscles and ensuring that I keep my head upright for as long as I can, but frankly it hasn’t helped in the last 3-4months I’ve been trying that. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like someone has strapped a set of weights to my head and that the neck muscles feel stretched or very week.
I generally find that it’s even more intense when I sit down (especially at the computer).
So far I’ve tried;
Seen Physio- neck exercises and massages (massges helped a tiny bit, but nothing noticeable)
Heat packs (slightly helpful, but more so when ache is near maximum intensity)
Pain killers (no help at all)
Acupuncture (no help at all)
Changing Sleeping arrangements- pillows, mattress, body position (no help at all)
Improving Posture (even over prolonged amounts of time there was no difference)
MRI scan (bones seem fine)
I’m not going to go on and on about how disruptive it’s been and how it’s ruined everything for me, but I am desperately seeking any relevant advice that may at least partially if not entirely alleviate me of this problem.
I have a hospital appointment with a specialist very soon, but until then I’d really appreciate any suggestions you have to offer. I’ll respond to any suggestions or questions within a few hours maximum.
I wish I could help but I've been suffering the same for a year now. I've tried all the same things as you with the same results as you. I'm now trying yoga for upper back and neck and am continuing with heat packs. i'll just have to see how it goes. I've posted a more detailed request about my own condition on this forum.
I really hope you recover soon, it's a horrible thing to have.
Let me know how your hospital appointment goes.
read my posts on this site. you need to do two things: stretch the tight muscles in and around your neck---scalenes, upper traps, scms, pecs-- look up stretches for thee muscles on the net. you also must releae the trigger points in these muscle. for ths i suggest a trigger point manual by clair davies
you must alo strengthen the mid back and posterior scapular stabilizer mucles like the rhomboids---these muscles do not need to be massaged and stretched-- they need to be strengthened..
this is a postural problem you probably have that is COMMON IN COMPUTER USERS BUT ALMOST NEVER DIAGNOSED BY MDS -- the head is not balanced over the pine so the musculature goes into chaos. PT a couple of times per week for an hour at a time will do squat-- you need to do the exercises and stretches a few imes per day and keep your head balanced over your spine ALL THE TIME or this problem will not go away. Jolie Bookspan ha a great website and paul d'arezzo has a great book on posture. if your MRI is negative, i dont see what else this could be.
You seems to have a fair point there and I'll give that a go if my appointment turns up nothing. Do you happen to know what sort of scan (if any) would be able to identify the problem you've just described ?
scans will not identify this problem. you will see my posts all over this forum.... i chime in when people think they have a disc or radiographic finding that is causing their pain, or if they have pain and cant seem to find a cause. based on your post, to me the problem is pretty obvious. you have tight/short muscles in the chest/front of the neck, and upper traps and loose,weakened and stretched mid back and scapular stabilizer muscles. this comes from forward head posture--especially common in computer users. work on the trigger points in the scalenes, scms, pecs, and upper traps, and do the appropriate stretches for these muscles groups. do the appropriate strengthening exercises for the mid back/rhomboids, and scapular stabilizer muscles. shoulder blade pinchng exercises are great for this. SIT UP STRAIGHT-- KEEP YOUR HEAD BALANCED OVER YOUR SPINE AT ALL TIMES
Although I do bend my head forward when sitting at the computer, I was doing this for years with no problems. When I hurt my neck I was bending over in a way I rarely normally do and in the worst possible positions on too many occasions for too long during the day.
On another forum there have been suggestions that it could be a muscle spasm, what do you have to say to that?
1 more thing. This problem has me so confused in terms of which part and side of the neck that it's coming from, how can I find out (the most blatant methods have prbly been tried). And is there any way at all other than verbal communication that will allow the specilist to see or feel the problem so that he can confirm what your telling me?
I too was working with poor head posture for years, leaning over people a a dentist for 18 years before one day "the camel's back" broke and I was in constant pain from that point on. I agree with the info you obtained from another forum---muecle spasm---this is exactly what I described above, except that my post gives you details on precisely which muscles are probably involved. The short tight pecs, upper traps, scms and scalene are the muscles you can say are in "spasm"... The trigger points in these muscles need to be released, and they need to be stretched. The weak, elongated muscles in the back (scapular stabilizer, rhomboids, longitudinal muscles of the spine) need to be strengthened. There is no medical test for muscle imbalance syndromes/pain. the sooner you understand your problem (do the research, reading) and the sooner you realize that going to doctors wont get you anywhere, and the sooner you realize you need to work this out ON YOUR OWN (although perhaps with some good guidance from a PT knowledgable in postural pain and muscle imbalance syndromes), the sooner you will get better. Remember-- you had an MRI on your neck and there were no pertinent findings. KEEP YOUR HEAD OVER YOUR SPINE 24/7. Do the "Wall test" on Jolie Bookspan's website. hope this helps..PS-- your problem is probably coming from both sides of the neck !!!
I hope you don't mind me asking loads of questions, but since your solutions seem to have the possibility of working and your answers are on par with a physiotherapist / orthopedist, I figure that I may as well learn as much about this problem as possible. Thanks for the answers.
It always feels worse on the left though, and only on the odd occasion does it feel strained on the right. Surely that explains why my neck always tilts downwards to the left and struggles to turn right (the left muscle feels like it's being torn apart when I try turning right, but when I turn left it's easy because there's no stretchy feeling). What I think I am sure of is that the right one is more or less ok, but it's slightly problematic because it's taking mostly all the load because the left one is somehow weak or damaged (the physio suggested that months ago).
The neck exercises that I did were: sterno-cleido-mastoid stretch, upper trapezius stretch, levator scapulae stretch and the neck tuck & hold. Im not sure if you understand what they are (you seem to have the equivalent knowledge of a physiotherapist so this shouldn't flummox you, otherwise you'll find diagrams on google). Is swimming better than those suggested exercises of yours or not (I'm hoping that it's not and that all I have to do are those exercises).
you are on the right track with your stretches and the chin tuck/hold. good job. swimming is ok too, but the exercises that will help you the most are those that strengthen the mid back, rhomboids and longitudinal muscles of the spine. full body extension exercises/stretches, and exercises that pinch your shoulder blade togetther will help. one thing you have not mentioned is trigger point work. yu should gegt a theracane (available on the net) and clair davies book on trigger point therapy. I would almost guarantee you that you have nasty trigger points in your scalenes and SCm. you will do a heck of alot better if you work on these every time you have a chance, and especially before your stretches. another good tip[ is to use hear before the trigger point work, and ice after you a re all done with the stretching/exercise/ so0--- heat//trigger point release/stretch/exercise/re-stretch/ice in that order is what worked best for me.
Lastly, one side feels worse than the other becaue one side prbably IS worse than the other. this is not unusual at all.
Well I am certainly glad to hear that the swimming isn't the most useful. If all of these are stated in the book, then I'll be willing to buy that, the worst case scenario is that I waste £18ish or however much it costs.
So should the physiotherapist have noticed this ? (I wasn't the one who asked to move onto the orthopedist)
I assume that if this does help then I don't have to redo it, but I need to be careful with regards to posture etc. I'm still going to speak to the orthopedist at my appointment, but I may have some questions for you afterwards, regardless as to what he or she has to say (it does hurt to think that as good as your advice is, that it turns out that it isn't the problem, I've been there before countless times, but here's to hoping that it is right on the mark). I see that you often give advice on here, do you actually have a medical background of any sort with regards to this specific area, because you've stated some stuff that no-one else has?
Oh yer forgot, I've ordered the thermacare heat pads, care to offer an opinion on there effectiveness and where specifically I should stick em (it shows an example of the shoulder being a place to stick it, but not the neck which is where I'd presume I would put mine. I wonder if it'll be more effective than a heatpack or deepheat?
i am a dentist. i studied the spine/muscle pain and muscle imbalance syndromes for the better part of 2 years after i had to quit practicing due to neck pain that sounds alot like yours. to me, muscle relaxers were a waste of time and $. your muscles are in spasm for a reason---your head is not balanced over your spine and your muscles are going into spasm to do the work of your spine-- ie support your head. heat pads are great-- use them before trigger point work and stretching. use ice when your routine i complete. the way it sounds i would recommend using them on your neck muscles. ask me anything, anytime.. its ok i want to help
Di you ever get a pressurized sort of feeling in your head, when mines at it's worst (like today) my head feels like it's gonna explode. The best way to describe it would be like a mild-moderate head ache?
the wall test is there-- you'll find it-- its in the neck part of her site.. books--"trigger point manual" by Clair davies-- go to town on the scalenes, scms, upper traps. Paul D'arezzo-- book on posture. jolie bookspanab revolution and how to fix your back pain without drugs or surgery.
the head pressure can easily be from trigger points in the neck muscles from forward head posture.
The trigger point manual is well expensive £48-58
Posture Alignment by Paul D'Arezzo £20
jolie bookspanab- Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery £7-12
I'd rather not have to buy all of them, so which of these did you find most useful (hopefully it's not the expensive one) and how useful overall would you say the website is (found all the stuff you were referencing ).
4-5 months before i started to feel better even for a few hours...... muscles are very very very very very very (get the picture) stubborn !! in the states these books are much cheaper!! the posture book is about 12 dollars, the trigger point manual maybe 25-30 dollars. perhaps you can get use ones on amazon.com the jolie bookspan book is the one you could probably do without, but only because the same info is on her website.
I suppose the postage added onto them will still make them cheaper. Have I described anything about my neck problem that you didn't feel with your neck or likewise did you experience anything that I haven't reported yet ? (this is probably the last question I can ask before I totally become convinced that your the first to identify and understand exactly what my problem is).
I might actually now start to believe that the problem isn't endless. If the orthopedist appointment is as inevitable as your advise claimed they were, then I'll probably keep posting questions on this forum every now and again.
your problem sounds rerkably similar to mine. I would venture to say that mne was perhaps worse. I had pain in the neck (couldn't turn it at all) upper back and chest. couldn't raise my arms. everything was just ridiculously tight. all better now. tennis on the weekends, golf on fridays. you've got to get your body back where nature intended. lose excess weight, build your core, strengthen your mid back. release those nasty neck muscles. try it-- be diliginet for a few weeks nd do the stretches and exercises as often as you can.GET YOUR HEADS OVER YOUR SPINE AND KEEP IT THERE !!!!! Have good posture, like Jolie Bookspan says, ALL THE TIME-- not just when you exercise or remember it. Post any time -- i think you can send me a personal message thru this ste somehow--others have done it but i haven't figured that out yet !!
I can understand the need for posture improvement (although I have had bad posture for many years and have thus struggled to improve it) my problem is isolated only to the neck so why would I need to strengthen my mid back (never had back issues)?
I know that there are many possible causes, but don't you think that since I went many years without any problems with my neck that this was a one off and was resultant of prolonged bending over in very difficult positions for one intensive week (I'd so like to maintain the belief that if I had never have spend days over that damn computer that I never would have been in that rare position which was possibly the sole cause of the problem)?
I'll look into the personnel messaging thing cause I'm not certain either.
my problem is isolated only to the neck so why would I need to strengthen my mid back (never had back issues)?
good question. If you have rounded posture 2 things have happenned-- a weak, rounded back with stretched out mid back muscles,, and a forwardly positioned head. in order to stand up straight and have your head positioned correctly over your spine, you have to standd stragiht-- to do this your mid back needs to be strong. you also have to wok the trigger points in your neck--espec scalenes, upper traps, and scms, and stretch these muscles. In other words, you have a front to back imbalance. the front is short and tight, the back (mid back) is weak and loose. so, to fix it you have to straighten back up-- you do this by loosening the neck and astrengtheneing the back. it is a front to back imbalance you need to corret. it has a name too-- Upper Crossed Syndrome.
Well I finally had the appointment and what I can say is this. Spine is definitely ok, the muscle spasms possibility lead to him giving me Diazepam and I am also scheduled to see a pain clinic (or something like that) to be given an injection that will attempt to reduce the pain (possibly it's a muscle relaxant injection or something similar). He was unsure what upper crossed syndrome was (but there are hundereds of syndromes in the back) and suggested that I might also need to revisit the physio and address the muscles more thoroughly. He seemed to think that the primary problem could be the trapezius (after making me look up down and feeling my muscles etc) and decided that referring me to a neurologist was not necessary. The trigger points statement you made was also helpful because that led him to believe that I was re-referred from the physio too quickly. In the mean time I'm going to buy one or some of those books you recommended and give them a go. There is still the possibility of doing a scan to look at the soft tissue and discs as well.
He was unsure what upper crossed syndrome was ---told ya
possibility lead to him giving me Diazepam ---do you think this will make you better? taking a drug will make your neck muscles feel good again???
to be given an injection that will attempt to reduce the pain
(possibly it's a muscle relaxant injection or something similar). dont even ask me about this-- you know what i will say.
He seemed to think that the primary problem could be the trapezius (after making me look up down and feeling my muscles etc)-- how bout that !!
neurologist was not necessary-of course not
There is still the possibility of doing a scan to look at the soft tissue and discs as well.---OF COURSE--MORE TESTS.
--look-- i am not your doctor, i am not even an MD as you know I am just a well read dentist who has been thru this **** and has done your research for you and given it to you graciously;. Go ahead and have a an MRI-- there will probably be some sort of finding(s) like herniations, stenosis, bone spurs, bulges, but unless you have DISTINCT symptoms (pain, numbness or weakness in a particular finger or in a particular nuerological distribution that correlates with a specific obvious finding on an MRI that affects a specific correlated nerve root and unless this can all be re-confirmed by EMG studies and other neurological tests.......then my advice is to try and fix this yourself with a few books, some reading, and alot of time on the stretching table and in the gym........
Obviously I'm going to try everything available, but at the same time I'm going to do the exercises from the books you recommended. I've already had an MRI scan remember. Personally I don't care which one helps me, so long as there aren't any drastic side affects and the problem is solved. I'll be looking for those specific muscles groups and exercises in those books.
Apologies for the excess questions ,but I keep forgetting some. We talked about which side of my neck it was and you said probably both, but with differing intensities. When I try the neck exercises that I was given ages ago (presumably some of them are included in the books you recommended) why is it that my right muscle doesn't feel stretched at all when I do them for the right hand side?
Besides, surely you went through the same options I did before you were fortunate enough to find the solution. How long did you actually have the problem before you embarked on the months of exercise (if you did it loads then I'm surprised you'd have had the time, cause even the ones I do take 20-30 mins).
It's a shame there’s nothing I could take that’d provide guaranteed temporary relief. I'll report back to you within the next few months after I've given those exercises a fair go (surely I'll notice some improvement after 2). Hopefully you'll still be posting on these forums and can respond to any questions I have (most likely about the books and which specific exercises you did and how long etc. Until then I thank you and hope for the best.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.