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Stiff neck
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Stiff neck

I've often pulled muscles in my back, resulting in a stiff neck for a few weeks and soreness for up to a month after.  Recently, I did much the same and was pretty close to recovery until about a week back.  Since then my neck seems rather stiff.  I have near full rang of motion, keeping my chin level and turning my head left to right, with pain at extreme left and extreme right.  I get significantly more pain tilting my head up and down and it presents at the base of the neck (where my neck begins and my shoulders end).  Even sneezing, which I do often, causes pain in the same area.

I can touch my chest with my chin and have no other symptoms of meningitis, such as headache or nausea.  I believe there may be slight swelling at the base of the neck since the area feels smoother to the touch than usual.  Unfortunately I am without medical insurance hence posting here.  What should I do, what do I have (if anything other than a pulled muscle)?  I should probably add that I recently cut myself with a rusty nail, though the abrasion healed without any signs of infection (no redness/puss, not sore to the touch).

There has also been some muscle soreness throughout my entire body, though that was probably related to my moving an entire rooms worth of furniture alone (while in pain) and has since passed.
144586_tn?1284669764
It sounds like you do have a variety of meningitis, but perhaps not of viral or fungal etiology. After all "itis" means irritation or inflammation, and your symptoms are quite consistent with inflammation of the meninges. You really need an in-person evaluation by a neurologist and not an internet consult. I do know that you can often make a better deal not having insurance than with insurance. MRI's are provided free by a local clinic and there is a means test, which if you qualify results in a flat ten dollars a visit. I am certain there are other such clinics throughout the United States. If you bargain you can ask the cost of an evaluation up-front with many physicians and be surprised at the fact you can negotiate.  I would rule out spinal stenosis except for the muscle soreness, which often goes along with systemic infection.
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