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Neck pain associated with nodules
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Neck pain associated with nodules

I am awaiting a biopsy this week for 2 solid nodules (one in each lobe) that were discovered last fall. They were not found in a physical exam in July even though the thyroid was palpated, found incidentally in an MRI of the back in August (not sure what size) and an ultrasound in late November showed one at 3.5 cm and the other at 2.5. My level of discomfort has increased significantly since then, so I imagine they have grown, although I cannot confirm this yet.
I have been experiencing sharp neck pains when I move my head, and generally feel my neck swollen and a bit stiff. I also have pain that radiates from the sides all the way to the back, mostly back of the head just behind the ears. Could this be related to the nodules?
I am not too concerned about malignancy, as I understand the cure rate to be quite good, but my surgeon stated in January he would not remove nodules of this size if they were benign, as he felt they didn't cause a problem.
My day to day life is certainly altered by this pain, and I don't know what else it would be. Stretching and general home care has not made any difference since December. If this is not the nodules I am at a loss for what is causing this pain.
Any advise / experience from the group?
Michel
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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158939_tn?1274918797
Welcome.

My one and only nodule was small (5mm) but nasty (papillary carcinoma).  I personally didn't experience the large nodules and associated pain.  However, the size of your nodules is *NOT* considered small.  Many surgeons would recommend they come out simply because of the size and the fact they are solid (suspicious).  

It is entirely possible they are causing the pain since, just because of their size, they are affecting the neck structures around them.  There's not much room in your neck so two nodules of that size are displacing *SOMETHING*.

Here's some great information about your thyroid condition:
http://www.endocrineweb.com/
http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/thyroid/

Not all surgeons can (and should) do thyroid surgeries.  Many of us have been through more than a few doctors until we found the right ones for us.  Don't feel bad about getting a second opinion if you aren't comfortable with your surgeon's assessment.

Hang in there.
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12758_tn?1201223280
welcome, I am sorry, I have been posting all afternoon and evening and have overlooked your question. I had a rather large nodule removed a week ago. I am not sure of the exact size, but the endo and the surgeon both described it as "encompassing the entire left lobe". And yes, it caused pressure and pain. so, I agree with Utah, I would seek another opinion. My nodule was benign and I knew that going into surgery (FNA) but needed it removed because of size and comfort issues. I also have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. It is your health, life and comfort we are talking about. You have every right to seek another opinion! check out the links Utah provided for additional info, too. hang in there. kathy
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12758_tn?1201223280
you are quite welcome. we are here if you need us :) let us know how the FNA's go. kathy
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for the responses. It's nice to know I am not going crazy.

I went to both my GP and surgeon, and both stated they didn't think nodules the size reported would cause me any discomfort. My GP went as far as saying it was stress tension from awaiting tests / results and that I should just try to relax.

This pain is certainly not imagined and this has slowed down all my activities. I am otherwise fairly healthy, but living with a stiff and sore neck for the last 2-3 months is taking it's toll. I'm at a point where I almost hope it IS malignant so I can get treatment and get this over with.

I'm having the biopsy for one side tomorrow, and the other side the day after. Since it is under ultrasound, I should know then whether they have grown, as I suspect.

Thanks again for the support.

Michel
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168348_tn?1379360675
Mine was only 1.7cm but when ill the glands would push on it and cause pain so I can imagine living with nodules the size of yours on a daily basis must be interfering somehow somewhere somewhat ?

My SIL on the forum just had 2 nodules 3.5cm EA removed due to compression and both were benign.

Mine was benign but they found two smaller areas of pap cancer elsewhere in the lobe .. .5mm and 4mm respectively .. those never even showed up on ultrasound.

C~
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Avatar_n_tn
Here's a quick update... it seems I am back to where I was in January. The results from the FNA biopsy done under ultrasound just got returned yesterday as non-diagnostic, due to lack of cells in the sample (hypocellular). They only did one pass per nodule, so the surgeon is not surprised they didn't get anything.You'd hope these guys were trained to get results, but it doen't seem to be the case. So after waiting 3 months with this neck pain getting worse, I am no further ahead and have to wait another 2-3 months before the next one. Both GP and surgeon are telling me they don't think it is related, but they have no idea what else it would be. At least the surgeon is now listening more closely and got me an appointment with another specialist (ear, nose and throat) late April to get a second opinion on this pain, as well as evaluate my vocal chords in prep for a possible TT. The pain is almost exclusively on the SCM muscle on the left side, and the largest nodule (3.5 cm) is also located there, very low and close to where that muscle attaches. My thinking is, what else would cause this? I haven't injured it in any other way! I have some compression discomfort as well while swallowing, but that is way more manageable...constant pressure like a chokehold that gets worse when my head is down, but not painful... just annoying. I have been very diligent in home care (stretching, making sure to not sleep with too many pillows etc) but no amount of being careful has helped. . The waiting around is just the worse part. The medical system up here in Canada is just ridiculous...all I get is insurance coverage, but no treatment to go with it. It doesn't make me feel any better to know that I'm covered, when I wait indefinitely and can get no answers or relief. Sorry to be ranting and raving, but I am starting to be pretty fed up.
Michel
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Avatar_n_tn
I am currently seeing an endocrinologist and recommend you do too.  They are experts in thyroid issues and can and do get to the bottom of problems.

Glo
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a 2.5 cm growth onthe underside of my thyroid. Will have a FNB this week.  have been for weeks experiencing severe fatigue and numerous neurological symptoms.

Opinons/thoughts,please?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello MichelDione

I'm a medical doctor although, (I do not practice now) and also a patient going through a Thyroid nodule process also. I just detected my nodule and practice ultrasound and blod test.
I would recommend to you not to wait any longer. A high percentage of the biopsies come back negative, and the next step is to remove the nodule for further testing. The early you detect if the nodule is cancerous or not the better the prognosis.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have several nodules (9) no biopsy was done but doctor mentioned cancer the largest one being 2.7 cm. I am having a lot of neck pain and nausea and some loss of appetite. Doctor wants to wait 6 months and do another ultrasound then surgery. Should I wait that long with all the side effects that I am having?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am having serious neck pain 2 weeks now. Can not turn my neck . Muscles are spasmed. It so bad no pain meds /muscle relaxes etc are working. My doctor also does not think my nodules are related . Not sure the size of mine but I was to;d to come back in a year.. REALLY!! The radiologist says looks like benign nodules.. I did not know that a radilogist could tell from and ultrasound whether nodules where benign or malignant from an ultrasound. Any thoughts??
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Avatar_n_tn
radiologists can guess based on appearance and their experience, however, they IMO, shouldnt be 'documenting' their opinion...it influences everyone who reads it, namely, ur other doctors, and the radiogists opinion might be wrong. its a well known fact, that there is no definitive way to differentiate a benign from malignant nodule, other than surgically removing it and sending it to pathology. U/S is the first step, which gives clues of likelihood, nothing more....then comes FNA, which gives more clues....then, if decided, surgery will give def answers. most people who have no symptoms, and a nodule is found incidently and determined by radiological features to most probably be benign....are left alone. but a person who goes in to a doctor soley because they are having neck swelling pain, ear pain, etc...and then a nodule is found that has ANY of the features that malignant nodules have...should be biopsied. I just read that even 5mm nodules usually provide enough 'matter' to get a result. and if they dont get it the first time, you can have a bx redone.
if youre in pain, and its right in the area of the nodule, I would push for a FNA next. I myself am getting ready to battle with them about mine.
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Avatar_n_tn
ie, my radiology report shows a 5mm hypoechoic nodule, no hypervascularity. doesnt mention the shape (which it should) doesnt mention a rim or not. doenst mention calcification or not. but my right scm muscle is visibly swollen, there is pain when i touch the right side of my thyroid, my right ear hurts so bad i cant even take it anymore.... ive had mris of my neck/head...vessels appears ok, u/s said vessels are ok...no swollen nodes...so ENT tries to tell me its my cervical spine, (who the radiologist says i have a minor bulge at c5-6....so i go to neuro, they tell me there is no way c5-6 would cause my thyroid, scm and ear to hurt. its like a game these docs play....pass the patient. its infuriating.
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Avatar_m_tn
I too have recently been diagnosed with thyroid nodules.  The radiologists report was incomplete and weak.  I have significant discomfort and swelling on the right side of my neck and now the left is starting to have the same pain.  The endo dismissed it as a muscle issue but I feel strongly that it is related to the recently discovered nodules.  Swelling, discomfort, beginnings of a cough.  I have a 2nd opinion appointment later this month for a biopsy.  Hopefully this endo can diagnose the neck pain and swelling correctly.
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