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Stiff neck for 4 weeks??!!??!!
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Stiff neck for 4 weeks??!!??!!

I am a 40 year old, otherwise healthy, woman.  4 weeks ago today, I woke up with a stiff neck and I have had it ever since.  There are some mornings that my neck hurts so bad that my husband has to sit me up in bed.  The pain makes me scream out and it feels like I have been beaten with a metal bat.  The epicenter is the base of my skull, just to the right of the hollow.  I have the stiff neck all day long but it is much worse in the mornings.  It feels like the sensitivity often associated with a flu--it feels like my glands are swollen and sore.  I know it may be partly muscular but I don't feel that this is the underlying cause of it.  What's strange is that the day before I came down with this, I was visiting my friend whose husband was away on business.  Come to find out, her husband suffers from the exact same symptoms and has had them for 5 1/2 weeks now!  He has been seen by his M.D., been to P.T., massage therapy and even tried accupuncture-he is on pain killers.  I have been to my M.D. and my bloodwork, including Lyme, was neg. I am trying P.T. but without results.  Several people I know, including family and co-workers have had stiff necks but none have lasted as long as mine or the other person I mentioned.  Could this possibly be a strange virus that has settled into my neck??  I am SO sick of people asking me how old my mattress is or telling me I simply need a new pillow!  I feel it is too much of a coincidence that I have the same exact symptoms as my friend's husband and I was in his house the day before coming down with this. I am at my wits end! Any clues
Tags: Neck, Pain, chronic
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149081_tn?1242401432
Do you have any other symptoms besides a stiff neck such as:

-Fever
-Severe and persistent headache
-Vomiting
-Sluggishness, muscle aches and weakness, and strange feelings (such as tingling) or weakness throughout the body

  Sometimes only a stiff neck and headache are present.

    It is possbile to have viral menningitis (meningitis). There is no treatment except for pain medication and letting the virus run it's course taking aproximatley 8-12 weeks.It would be a good idea to give your doctor a call just to make sure it isn't a bacterial type.

   My friend only had what she described as the worst headache of her life and it lasted exactly 10 weeks during her bout with vm.

   Good Luck.
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149081_tn?1242401432
Just wanted to add that the only way to detect this virus is by having a spinal tap.
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Avatar_n_tn
I did have bloodwork done but everything they tested for was neg.  They tested for Lyme disease but that checked out fine too.  I don't think it's something that can be fixed with a chiro and I really think there is a connection to others that have had these same symptoms, especially my friend's husband.  I think it's too much of a coincidence that both he and I came down with a pinched nerve or happened to sleep wrong and end up with the same symptoms--mine lasting 4 weeks so far and his lasting 5 1/2 weeks!  I keep asking my friend if he's any better but he's not getting any relief.  I know his MD was going to order an MRI and I will be very interested in knowing what happens with that. I am in physical therapy 2 times a week but so far that hasn't helped at all.  They did say my lymphatic system seemed clogged...??!!  They also said it felt swollen back there where the pain is.  I will call my MD again tomorrow just to let them know I'm still not better and see what they want to try next.  I work in a doctor's office and I do know someone was in last week that had had a stiff neck for a week but I'm not sure what the doctor put down as a diagnosis.  There was also a person back during the summer that said he had had the flu and it settled into his neck and back and had not gotten better after several weeks.  At the time I didn't really think much of it but now I'm wondering if that was a connection too.  I'm just grasping at straws but I truly believe whatever I have is the same thing as the other person I've been talking about.  Also, I don't know for sure if I had a fever or not but I did develope a fever blister a couple of days ago--I only get them if I have a fever or I burn my lips in the sun, so I guess maybe at some point I've had one...??  I appreciate everyone's feedback...
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Avatar_n_tn
Headache is not always present with vm.  Usually, but not always.  Your symptoms sound exactly like meningitis.  Someone above was right, the only way to "test" for this is to do a spinal tap, which they can't do at your dr's office.  I would also think that at some point, if you had vm, you would have a fever.  However, if you are keeping yourself medicated with ibuprofen for pain, this could keep your fever from elevating.
Did your doc do bloodwork? (I can't remember if you said so or not).  If not, you need to have it checked.  
The only other option I can think of would be some injury to the nerve(s) in your neck.  Have you seen a chiropractor?  I definitely wouldn't do this until you get all illnesses ruled out.  Then I would RUN to my chiro.  and see if he can help you.  I suffer with tension in my neck and upper back, and I visit the chiro every 3 weeks.  You may feel immediate relief if this is your case.
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I do not have any other symptoms other than this horrible stiff neck and what I can only discribe as feeling as though I have been beaten in the back of my skull with a bat although my entire head is tender, it is that one spot to the right of the base of my skull that is the most sensitive.  There are also times that it feels like the fluid in my head and that area is going to explode.  There have been times when I have had to hold my head and neck and not let go because it feels like the pain is going to make me pass out.  If I were to imagine what menengitis were to feel like, I would discribe this pain however I have not had a fever and I do not feel sick otherwise.  I am on high doses of Ibuprofen and Flexerall at night.  I have not given in to pain killers but that doesn't mean I didn't need them...I've tried hard to resist them because I know they can cause long term problems that I want to avoid.  My friend's husband, in hearing my symptoms just continued to nod his head--EVERYTHING I've been feeling, he has had the same exact symptoms although he also had a bad case of the flu which I never got, thank goodness! I was never actually in his company but I was in his home and spent the day with his wife who had a milder case of a stiff neck.  Both of them are convinced it's a strange virus. I'm completely stumped and when people ask how I'm feeling, I almost want to tell them I'm fine because I'm tired of saying I'm no better!  Still, there are people that claim I just need a new pillow or I'm needing a new mattress--this is infuriating because I know that is not the cause.  This morning was a "good" morning, in that I could actually lift myself to a sitting position but yesterday morning, my husband had to gingerly sit me up as I winced and yelled out in pain.  He too had this stiff neck but it didn't seem to linger on like mine has...same with my father and two co-workers.  It's very strange and I just keep hoping that one of these mornings I will wake up and be fine.  I plan to call my Dr. again tomorrow and while I really like her and trust her, I think she's stumped too.  Incidently, I do suffer from headaches but during this 4 weeks of horrible neck pain, I have not had a single headache!!
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Avatar_n_tn
If I were you, I would start with VM.  It is a common viral infection, that is most often spread during the fall/early winter.  
Most people who are infected, never know they have it.  It can last a LONG time, and is contagious.
Please let us know what you find out.

You do need to be cautious, though.  I know you're having pain, so you're probably not moving around alot, but if it is some infection of the meninges, it causes swelling and can be dangerous.  Just be careful until you know for sure.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 43 yo woman who has had a chronic left side stiff neck for 5 months.  Sometimes it will go away enough that I can cope with everyday activities and then without any warning it comes back to the point of severe pain and restrictions of my head movement to the left side of my body but the bottom line is I have never had one day without some type of discomfort be it tolerable or severe.  I am scheduled for a MRI as my doctor thinks it may be a muscle tear.  I have no memory of doing anything that could have brought this on like this.  I do have thoracic scolosis and had a moderate neck injury 15 years ago that has caused no problems in the years following the initial injury.  I have tried warm baths, exercise, stretching and even tens unit with no relief.  I am not aware of running any type of long term fever and I do experience headaches but nothing that would stop me from any daily activities.  Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  I really have no idea how much longer I can actually handle this problem.
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Im a few weeks into this stiff neck. Painful upon waking cannot move. For what it is worth we keep horses here. Had complete bloodwork done all negative for everything from pnuemonia (pneumonia) to herpes 1 &2. I think it is viral meningitis although I didnt have the headache and fever. I just didnt feel myself for a few weeks. I also developed a stye in my eye opposite the stiff neck. Am still not fully recovered going into the 3rd week. Am on doxycycline and antibiotic eye drops. Using heating pad for the neck. All of this has improved my condition but whatever virus this is was very persistent and has a long recovery. Get well soon
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also wanted to note Ceftriaxone Sodium Injection was given the day I went to the doctor. All the anitbiotics have helped me significantly. Never any definitive source of infection.
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149081_tn?1242401432
  I would definately be checked for LYME disease. The fact that you always feel better after a dose of antibiotics & you are around animals, it;s possible you've been bitten by a tick. A western blot test is most of the time not enough. You must be tested for each coinfection as well.
  Just something to keep in mind should you not get well!

Best Wishes~
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I was tested for lyme and many other condtions. He drew blood did neck xrays but no clues. I still have stifness in neck, arm and chest near my neck. I think it was viral meningitis and effected the nerve endings. This is a bad virus going around. Am wondering if it was spread by either flies or mosquitoes in the barn. Thanks for answering ~~

TTA
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149081_tn?1242401432
Is it possible you've contracted a parasite from being around the barn? Maybe something intestinal?  My dad had some sort of parasite after returning from Iraq in the gulf war which didn't apear for several years later. He did a parasite flush and felt tons better.

Best Wishes
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I dont know the answer I never thought of anything like that. I can tell you the antibiotics give relief and help with symptoms. I was given a 21 day course of antibiotics. I still have daily pain in my arm and chest and stiffness in my neck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello, I am a 46 year old woman who got shingles in my back last August (over a year ago) and last sept got a fever and swollen lymph glands. after that I got a stiff neck and have been unable to move it normally for a year. In the early days I felt like I had fluid in my head and one night the pain was so bad I couldn't put my head on the pillow and ended up in hospital. They gave me diazepan which helped abou 60% but then it came back. Now my neck is less painful but it's not easy to turn my head without wincing. The face it's getting better reassures me but I'd like to be completely recovered. what happened to you in the end?
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Hi Eloise,

Im still going through it believe it or not. I just went to a neurologist and had an MRI. It is a herniated disc. I will need physical therapy. The pain from my neck is now radiating to my arm and chest.
Im taking perscription motrin which has helped. It is painful but it is not as bad as it could have been. Will try the PT.

TA
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Avatar_n_tn
If you have continued pressure, pain, stiffness etc. in your neck and head, you make want to check with a neurologist.  Especially if you experience tingling or numbness in your extemities, nystagmus, hoarseness, unexplained cough and difficulty swallowing, amoung other symptoms.  You can have one or all of these symptoms.  If so, you may have an Arnold Chiari Malformation and/or Syringomyelia.  To give a quick definition, a Chiari Malformation is where the cerebral tonsills desend into the forum magnum into your neck.  This causes a compression of the spinal cord, which can result in many neuro symptoms.  Sometimes it will also create a blockage of cerebral spinal fluid which can back up and form a pocket of fluid in your spine.  This also puts pressure on the cord and causes many symptoms.  You can have one or the other or both.  Chiari is a congenital disorder and you may not know you have it until symptoms present themselves later in life.  Syringomyelia (Syrinx) can be in association with the Chiari or can be alone as sudden onset due to trama to the spine.  You can look up both of these disorders on several web-sites.  The only way to diagnose them is through an MRI.  I was diagnosed 4 1/2 years ago and had surgery to stop the rapid progression.  I am not cured and it is a degenerative disease, however, a lot of pain and discomfort was eased due to the surgery.  It took almost 10 years for it to be discovered, which caused some nerve damage.  It's important to catch it as soon as possible.  Don't let your doctor brush you off.  This is a disorder that is fairly unknown to many physicians, and severely misunderstood and undiagnosed.
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I have had a horrific headache on the top of skull, and pain going down the spine for 4 weeks now, non-STOP. I am having an MRI tomorrow. I have been reading about VM, and am leaning towards maybe thats it, however, the same thing happened to me 3 yrs. ago but only lasted 6 days. I understand you really cant get VM twice. I was hoping it was, b/c that would mean it would eventually go AWAY! I'm at the point where i am resigning myself to this forever. This is horrendous. They are doing the MRI of the brain and cervical spine, but w/o contrast as the approvals would have taken too long from the insurance co. Does anbody know if the MRI w/o contrast is as effective in showing things? thanks
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10 years ago, I went through the same symptoms. after visiting some friends in the mountains of Virginia.  After months of every kind of specialist imaaginable, I found an Infectious disease Dr. who finally figured out what was wrong.  She had all the reports that I had been tested for everything including false Lyme disease tests.  However, she said for the most part these tests are useless because you can get a positive results if you do not have Lyme and a negative result if you do have it.  Its really a useless disease.  She was from an area up North that has a lot of Lyme disease and was very familiar.  Most Doctors around here in the South did not know that much about it. (of coarse they aren't going to tell you that!  Anyway she said that after reviewing all my tests and judging from my symptoms and the horrible stiff neck etc.  She would bet her life on it.  The tests mean nothing and until they come up with an accurate test for Lyme disease,its really useless.
She started me on an IV of Rocephin antibiotic for 30 days.  A nurse came to my house every day.  My neck problem totally cleared up.  I got so much better.  She said since I went so long undiagnosed and not properly treated, then unfortunately, I was in the "CHRONIC LYME" disease, and therefore, I would have residual problems all my life, like arthritis, fatigue, fibromyalgia etc.  If its caught in the beginning, then its treatable and cured.  This corkscrew bacteria links and hides in your body.  You may wish to contact The Lyme Disease Foundation on the Internet in Connecticut.  They sent me a video and it really  really helped.  Hope this helps you.  Good Luck and God Bless You!
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See a neurologist and/or a chiropractic! A GOOD chiropractic may be able to help you, or may at least give valuable diagnostic comments. Have you had X-rays and MRI (or CT) taken?

Hannu
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Avatar_n_tn
By the way, could it be from the sinusis? Do you have a running nose, do you feel pain in your head?

Hannu
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Avatar_n_tn
Has anyone found answers to their questions about neck pain yet?
It's been about 4 weeks since I woke up one morning with a stiff neck, and like Ljbrow, it's worse in the morning.
I've been taking muscle relaxers, I've had deep tissue massage and I'm using A535. Nothing is working. Nothing's even making it feel a little bit better. I do have a headache with it but I think that may be be a reaction to all of the painkillers in my system.
No other symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Has anyone found answers to their questions about neck pain yet?
It's been about 4 weeks since I woke up one morning with a stiff neck, and like Ljbrow, it's worse in the morning.
I've been taking muscle relaxers, I've had deep tissue massage and I'm using A535. Nothing is working. Nothing's even making it feel a little bit better. I do have a headache with it but I think that may be be a reaction to all of the painkillers in my system.
No other symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Any suggestions? I've had a really severe stiff neck for almost 2 mths now. It started out so bad I actually screamed out when I moved a certain way. It's now just really stiff and painful. I also got a sore stiff wrist around the same time. Just a few days ago I started to get ear aches as it feels like my neck is pulling my skull down.

Oddly enough I quit smoking 3 mths ago and stopped taking Zyban as an quiting smoking aid. I find the timing coincidences curious. Can anybody tell me what they think might help or what is happening?

Manerva 101
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Avatar_n_tn
It could be so many things...it may just be coincidence about your friend's husband. Or maybe it is related. I've had undx neuro problems for years. No stiff neck though. In the beginning my problems started as pain in low back, being so young I didn't know anybetter when a relative told me to go to a chiro. They made me worse. And it's not because I went to a bad one. I've been to several chiros, many very good ones. After all I've learned about the body and medicine, I would strongly advise against it. A chiro may very well give you temporary relief, but that's all it will be. Keep on with the docs. A stiff neck is usually a sign of a neuro problem. Even if this doc can't figure it out, another might. I have learned that there is so much that the field of neurology knows about, and even more it doesn't. You just have to keep trying until you find an answer.

For the record, viral men. is a valid possibility, but I think unlikely given that pain is your only symptom. Lyme is a real possiblity even if you test negative. It's so true that the diagnostic test for lyme is useless as someone else mentioned. Unless you start having more symptoms, I bet it's not lyme either.

Because of your friend's hubby, it's possible that you were exposed to something there. I'm not thinking so much viral. More toxin. Like had they had the house exterminated or treated for anything in which chemicals were used? Even at that it's unlikely. Again I would expect to see other symptoms if it were viral or a toxin.

My best guess...it's neuro. Something in your brain or spine. Tumor or a chiari as mentioned above, or a disc issue.  Also, low potassium or calcium can cause cramping. It's possible it's muscular in nature, in which case taking calcium and magnesium might help.

I'm sorry your in such pain. I wish you the best. Keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, my boyfriend has been suffering from a stiff neck for almost 10 months now. He is 22 this year. He's seen a neurologist who told him that it is a pinched nerve on the C6 and C5 channels. X-ray results were perfectly normal and hence he was given a painkiller. The pain killer didn't work at all so he approached a physiotherapist. For the past 10 months he's been going for physiotherapy every three weeks but the problem has persisted. We are not sure whether continuing with the physiotherapy would help. Is it normal that for problem like this, such a long period of time is necessary in some cases for the therapy to take effect? Could anyone advise me on this? I really hope that this problem would go away soon because he has been suffering constant discomfort in his neck and shoulder area, numb arms. It has been particularly distressful because he tires easily and haven't been able to sleep at ease.
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I have been suffering with constant pain in my right shoulder near my shoulder blade.  My neck is so tight and stiff from the bottom of my head all the way to my shoulders.  This has been going on for about 8 weeks.  I have had a myleogram, EMG, X-rays, MRIs on my shoulder and neck.  I have been going to PT for 5 weeks now.  The neurologist keeps has told me that he doesn't see anything, but I may have pulled or stretched a nerve and is sending me to another PT for 12 more weeks.  I haven't seen any results from the other PT.  He also suggested that I mediate, yoga, or hipnosysis. He thinks I might be stressed.   I can't get anyone to understand the pain that I am in..I get no relieve even with anti-inflammatory meds, pain meds, muscle relaxers, steriods!  What is wrong with me.. I can't fold clothes or do much of anything without my arm going numb and tingling.  My right shoulder now pops when I raise my shoulder.  Its like a grinding noise.
Do I get a second opinion?  Continue more PT?  I am at tired and in pain... Some advice please.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a stiff neck for about a year....right at the time that my ears started ringing. It started with a flu like feeling and now it feels like a nagging pain...especially in the back of my neck. I feel that it is more of a swollen lymph pain. I have had stiff necks off and on for years. When I move my head from side to side it pulls and is very painful. The glands on my right side under my ear is swollen too. It seems that my lymphs are not draining. My ears ring constantly (even though tests show that my hearing is great). I also have an arthritis feeling in my fingers. In addition, I have anxiety and insomnia as well as twitches and restless leg syndrom (syndrome). I am now taking Lyrica for the pain and anxiety. It seems to have quieted my ringing and allows me to sleep. Other than that, I eat really well and I try to exercise every day. I related to your post and wanted to tell my story in hopes that I could get some feedback.
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Avatar_n_tn
My 1 year old had these same symptoms last year- stiff neck, lots of pain, it was even turned or "cocked" to one side.  Dr's assumed it was Meninigits, but it turned out to be a rapid progression of Roto Virus.  This is very common in little ones, and usually shows up in adults as stomach cramping and flu-like symptoms.  Now my newborn has it, and wouldn't you know, I have the stiff, painful neck and swollen lymph nodes without any stomach symptoms.  He unfortunately has the severe diarrhea.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, stiff neck was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have also been sick now for months. What started what I thought the flu. With this weird tingling sensation all through out my body, to fever, nausea, dizziness, to now the worst head ache of my life that's lasted 4 weeks now and can't seem to shake it.  It came same time the stiff neck did.  Doctors tried everything, now also waiting for MRI.   Never tried spinal tap for VM though.  Looks like it maybe an option.  
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