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Constant pain at base of skull/neck/shoulders....too young for this!
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Constant pain at base of skull/neck/shoulders....too young for this!

I am a 42 year old female, in decent shape, active and have 4 kids (14, 12, 8 and 6) as well as my own business that requires me to be active and do some lifting (20-30 lbs).  I have had chronic neck pain (especially at the base of my skull) and constant spasming in the muscles in my neck, shoulders and upper back for the past 20 years...no doubt the result of a car accident I was in back then.  (My car lost traction on a winding road off the Oregon Coast and I ended up slamming into the mountain head on.  My vehicle flipped at least once (maybe twice) and by the time it came to a stop I was right side up again but the front of my vehicle (which hit the mountain) was no longer facing the mountain, but rather the opposite direction. A police officer took one look at the car and then me and started laughing at me, which made me feel even worse about everything.  When he asked if I needed to get checked out at the hospital I immediately said no despite already feeling very sore.  I was young and stupid.)

An x-ray taken 9 years ago revealed an old cervical fracture, no doubt a result of my accident.  An MRI taken 4 years ago showed that I no longer have any curve in my neck, and narrowing around C4,5 and 6.

I have constant headaches, the base of my skull is tender and sore all the time, my shoulders always ache and my neck hurts 24/7.  My problem is I don't want to spend the next 40 years simply masking the pain with pills, which is all my pain managment doctor suggests.    I am too young to feel like this, and there are days I just want to crawl into bed and cry, but I can't.  I am going to see an orthopedist tomorrow who specializes in the spine, and am hoping he can offer some other options for me besides drugs.

Is there anyone here who has experienced anything like this, and if so....what helps you?  Were you given options, or simply told it's just a matter of managing the pain at this point?  
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