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Neck stiffness
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Neck stiffness

I may have asked this before, but I am having a terrible time with stiffness in my neck the past three days.  Is this something that comes along with MS?  I have had it before off and on.  It just feels like the sides of my neck are on a drawstring and somebody's pulling it tight.  It's making me very uncomfortable and irritable.  Any ideas?
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Hi, I don't know if we have talked before, but I am familar with the stiff neck thing all to well!   I have not been dx with MS, but have been stuck inbetween ADEM and MS for two years. I am getting ready to go for my fifth repeat brain MRI on Sept 11th to look for any change. All of the previous four showed no change.

About three months after my onset I developed a very stiff neck. It was at the sides and back and felt just as you described it. It made me so hateful with everything and everyone around me. Very uncomforable.  It has slowly gone away over a year and a half, but still if I bend my neck or get it into certain positions or even sometimes if I am stressed it shows up again, but not as severe as it was, and doesn't last as long.

The only explaination I have received from my many doctors and many MRI's and test is that I have some arthiritis in my neck.  I have always felt that it was part of this attack, as I had never experienced it in the past before this.

I found heat to be very helpful for this. also if you could get someone to massage your shoulders sometimes this relieves the stiffness in the neck.  One more thing that I found that helped was the low dose of Xanax that I take for my panic/anxiety disorder. It was not given to me for the stiff neck but I found that after I took my regular dose that I take everyday that the neck stiffness would ease up. I guess you would say that I found this out by coincidence, but it works.

How long have you had this and did it start shortly after your onset? Hopefully yours will ease up like mine did, because it is hard to do anything when you can't turn your head!

Hope this is helpful
I have lots of neck stiffness.  I'm not sure, but I think that MS can cause necks spasms and spasticity.  I nearly posed this question on this forum not that long ago--it's a good question.  

As a result of the neck spasticity (I think that I have this because my neck gets painfully tight), I have bulging discs in my cervical spine.  The neuro said that the discs aren't compressing the spinal cord, but I may eventually have to have surgery for this.  

A good friend of mine that has MS has back problems--her spine is compressed.  Her neuro said that this was due to her MS spasticity.  Plus, my sister, who has MS, has horrible back spasms.  I also get back spasms, but thankfully not too often at that pain level (I did go to the ER for a severe back spasm).  So, yes, I've come to the conclusion that spinal/neck problems may be due to MS.

Shell, I know you've had MRI's.  I remember something about that and tried looking up the results in your posts.  However, the last MRI of your brain that you talked about was an MRI done on an open MRI machine.  Is that true?  If so, that is not acceptable for detecting lesions caused by MS.  

I also saw that you have had thyroid issues.  Your TSH levels, etc. are not way out of whack (enough for medicine though).  I think the neurological symptoms that go along with hypothyroidism come along with having the problem for years without treatment and having a more severe problem with it.  My TSH was very high--39.  I was on it for months, close to a year, before seeing benefits.  I noticed that I didn't respond to your question.  I must have not seen it--so sorry.  I'll try to answer it now.

The neurological symptoms that go along with hypothyroidism are hard for me to sort out from my MS symptoms.  However, I did notice improvement.  My hair is not falling out (actually this took over a year), my nails aren't as brittle, my skin is no longer dry, I'm no longer cold to the bone all the time, and I don't have the fibromyalgia-like symptoms of severe joint pain and restlessness in my limbs all night.  That's the best I can do with sorting out the symptoms.  I still get the joint pain and muscle aches and I can't figure out if it's MS or hypothyroidism.  But, my TSH levels have been normal since starting Synthroid 100 mcg.  So, I figure that it's the MS.

If you do a quick little synopsis of your symptoms and tests with results, I think it may help others out tremendously.  

My best,
Hi Deb.  thanks for your reply.  If you would, go to my journals and you'll see my symptoms and timeline of things.  Let me know what you think.  I don't think my thyroid caused any of the symptoms, being that it's normal now, and like you said, it wasn't that high to begin with.  And that my symptoms are still here and my TSH is fine.  It's so frustrating.   I have a new apt. with a new nuero. the 11th of next month.  Hopefully, he'll repeat the MRI and yes, it was an open MRI.  If I can have a valium before the next one, I think I'll be able to do the more closed.  I was just very clastraphobic (sp?) in the closed.  Anyway, I have so many symptoms now and they are getting worse.  No more good days for me.  Just good hours during the day.  

And to Santana,

Thank you also for you reply.  I've had the neck stiffness before.  This is the third spell with it.  Last time it lasted a couple of weeks.  I did the heat thing, massage, everything I could think of.  It's the front of my neck...along the's just so uncomfortable.  I am just so frustrated.  I am so sensitive right now with everything.  Loud noises, bright lights, anything upsets me and unnerves me.  I'm glad you responded to my post and I hope to hear from you soon!

For some reason I can't access your journal entries.  Your journal says "No user journals," but beside the heading "Journal Entries" it has the number 17.  Maybe it's under a different forum--would that make any difference?

I would definetly have an MRI completed on a closed machine that has at least a 3T magnetic.  My first MRI was completed on an open MRI machine, which are notorious for being weak, and it was negative.  I asked my first neurologist if this made any difference (the one I fired) and he said it didn't.  My second neuro (the one I have now), said it absolutely does make a difference, and ordered another MRI (I think was on a 1.5T machine--not sure, however).  This MRI showed the lesions.  I've since been diagnosed with MS.  I'd take the Valium and have it done with the closed machine--it will be well worth it considering all that you've been through.  Maybe you can ask your doctor if an LP may help with getting a better picture of your problem.  Have you had all the blood work to rule out other illness like lyme disease, Sjogrens, lupus, or blood clotting disorders?  

If it's spasticity causing your neck problems, perhaps you can ask your neurologist about a medicine for the spasticity.  Have you tried something for it?  These medicines are different than pain killers.  I have not found anything that works for me, but I haven't tried the spasticity medicine.  I hate taking too many medicines--but if something bothers me enough, I'll ask for help.

I also experience neck stiffness, but only during flare ups.  My neuro didn't say anything when I told her, just gave me a puzzled look.  My MRI's are all clear, so who knows.
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