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Neck pain, dizziness, headache and pressure unexplained
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Neck pain, dizziness, headache and pressure unexplained

I am a 31 yr old mother of 3. about 2 1/2 month ago i started to feel dizzy. This was accompanied by neck pain and an intense pressure in the base of my head. I also have moments were I just feel kind of out of it. I have mitral valve prolapse as well as hypothyroid. The dizziness is pretty much the same all day, but the headache and pressure get worse toward the end of the day.The pain in my neck gets very intense sometimes. I also feel like my ears hurt sometimes. I have seen an ENT who said he did not believe that it is inner ear. I have also seen a neurologist and had an MRI of my brain which was normal. He is sending me to get a tilt table test to see if I am intolerant to being upright. I just don't think this fits, because I am slightly better when I lay down but not much. I also have cracked my neck since i was 14 yrs old. A couple of years ago my neck really started to hurt and feel weak. I grinds and pops every time I turn my head. But after 3 trips to the ER and multiple doctors, nobody has looked at my neck. Is it possible that my symptoms could be related to my neck, or should I ignore it like everyone else? thanks. Gmomma1
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with your doctor.

Without the ability to review your medical history and examine you personally, I can not provide you with a diagnosis nor suggest treatment for your symptoms.  However, I will try to provide you with some information.

The causes of neck pain could generally be divided into muscular problems and spine problems. Problems in the neck muscles could be related to a sprained muscle, which often results from sudden movements, incorrect postures, etc. Problems in the spine could be related to problems in the bones of the spine which are called vertebra, most commonly arthritis. Other spine problems occur when the tissue between the vertebra slips out, what is called a herniated disc. Problems within the spinal cord itself can also lead to neck pain. The best way to evaluate this is with an MRI of the cervical spine.

When some patients speak of dizziness they mean room-spinning/vertigo. Others mean a light-headed, sort of whoozy feeling. These two symptoms are very different and have different causes. Problems in the neck can sometimes cause a type of room-spinning dizziness, what is commonly called vertigo. Treatment for this may include physical therapy and certain medications. Other causes of vertigo are related to certain brain pathologies (tumors etc, if the MRI is negative this is an unlikely cause), and the inner ear. However, light-headedness/whooziness may be related to several causes including but not limited to dehydration, heart problems, problems in the autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that controls our heart rate and blood pressure among other things, which can be affected by several disease processes but commonly diabetes).

Other causes of neck pain/headache will be discussed below.

Cervicogenic headache is a headache that is "referred" to the head from bony structures, muscles, and other soft tissue in the neck and shoulders. Symptoms are usually one-sided and include: precipitation of head pain by neck movement or awkward neck positions, head pain when external pressure is applied to the neck or occipital region, restricted range of motion of the neck, and neck, shoulder and arm pain. Treatment for cervicogenic headache includes physical therapy, medications, behavioral therapy, and other modalities.

Occipital neuralgia is caused by irritation or injury to two nerves that run from the upper neck to the back of the head. The irritation could be due to  neck trauma, pinching of the nerves (by muscles or arthritis), and other causes. Symptoms include a piercing sharp pain that travels from the upper neck to the back of the head and behind the ears. It is usually a one sided pain but can be on both sides of the head. Treatment includes physical therapy, medications, and in some cases injections, "nerve blocks", during which a physician injects the irritated nerves with an anesthetic.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find this information useful, good luck.
4 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
could be the muscles in your neck/upper back are so tense that it affects your balance.. They told me my neck didn't curve naturally anymore from the muscles pulling... Now a days it happens to me more when I use the computer for long periods..It all started for me when I was only 22.. I'm 39 now and it comes and goes but I feel it coming in the upper back and neck ... then the headaches and dizziness..  

I have also cracked my neck since I was around 12 and now I just tilt my head and it pops... I do not have mitral valve prolapse but I have an irregular heart beat and they wanted me to take beta blockers for that and anxiety, but I just can't because I'm not big on  medication... messages are my fix... If I have a neck and upper back message every month I great... Try a message make sure it's 90 minutes.. good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello...i also have the same problems...i had my youngest son 2 years ago and after my first period - WHAM!  dizziness, tiredness, ear pressure.. pops and i also hear slight noises..foggy thinking...but the worse is the neck arthritis...everytime i turn my head it cracks...most of the time when i open my mouth ...my jaw cracks...i'm wondering if this is due to hormonal changes...it also get worse around my period...i also have svt and atrial fib...got worse after pregnancy....i got my neck checked...and all my doctor told me that i have mild arthritis at the base of my neck...i'm looking for alternative treatments...i'm going to try acupunture in about a week to see if that helps...i'm also going to try to go on birth control and see if it helps balance out my hormones...i'ii let you know if anything works... :)
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,  
I car hit me as I was crossing a side street.  As a result I have severe head pain, neck pain and back pain.  My neck feels too heavy for my head.  For about a year I was told that everything in my neck was fine. 4 - 6 doctors, 3  specialist and 5 physio told me so. My neck pain was so bad that I could not ever wait in emergency.  I went to see this physio and he ordered a special x-ray.  Its done ONLY through the mouth and guess what it informed me, that I had damaged the muscles at very the top of my neck.  My other x rays showed nothing.  

I did neck strengthening exercises ie.  On the floor, lying down I place a small ball under my chin while and I slowly press on the ball using my neck muscles. Supervised by physio and kinesiologist.
more importantly I went to see Dr Neil Longridge who dizzy specialist in Vancouver.  Google him.  The team that treat me are totally excellent I am willing to provide the physio who is also the ONLY specialist in BC in this area.  By specialist I mean he is not only qualified, but has seen people like ourselves, and offers practical solutions, and good rehab.

Just for the record:  DIZZYNESS spinning sensation/vertigo is my worst symptom.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Wow I voiced all those symptoms myself!Any chance on finding what the outcome was.
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