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Avatar universal

???? Immense Neck ache/ heavy head feeling ?????

I’m 19yrs old and have never had the problem described below before, or anything similar.
I was working on my computer during late January of this year and most likely as a result of bending over the computer for 10min+ increments on many occasions throughout the days of 1 particular week, I later began to realize that my head felt heavy.  
I have not experienced any of the tingling feelings in my hands or blurred vision or dizziness. It is very difficult for me to turn my head to the right (left hand side muscles feel very tight), but not as hard to turn it to the left. My head basically wants to face diagonally downwards (slightly to the left) and it’s a 24/7 struggle to keep it up. The intensity can very from day to day with no discernable pattern ever being noticed. Generally it will range from an almost tolerable ache (which would be 5-7 out of 10 intensity) mainly in the left hand side of my neck, to an extremely unbearable ache whereby I cannot go for very long without some support under the neck such as a folded cushion (suffice it to say that when it’s 8+ intensity that I don’t get out and about much, if at all). For the first few months it was varied in intensity, then as of June-August it was more often a 6 or 7 intensity and just recently as a result of a pulled deltoid muscle from playing golf (think that’s what I did) the intensity has climbed to maximum intensity and has stayed there for a couple of weeks. It just seems as if the body is reluctant to heal this problem once it’s reached the mildest intensity (which has been 5/10 but never seems to last very long).I have tried my best to keep exercising the neck muscles and ensuring that I keep my head upright for as long as I can, but frankly it hasn’t helped in the last 3-4months I’ve been trying that. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like someone has strapped a set of weights to my head and that the neck muscles feel stretched or very week.
I generally find that it’s even more intense when I sit down (especially at the computer).

So far I’ve tried;
Seen Physio- neck exercises and massages (massges helped a tiny bit, but nothing noticeable)
Heat packs (slightly helpful, but more so when ache is near maximum intensity)
Pain killers (no help at all)
Acupuncture (no help at all)
Changing Sleeping arrangements- pillows, mattress, body position (no help at all)
Improving Posture (even over prolonged amounts of time there was no difference)
MRI scan (bones seem fine)

I’m not going to go on and on about how disruptive it’s been and how it’s ruined everything for me, but I am desperately seeking any relevant advice that may at least partially if not entirely alleviate me of this problem.

I have a hospital appointment with a specialist very soon, but until then I’d really appreciate any suggestions you have to offer. I’ll respond to any suggestions or questions within a few hours maximum.

47 Responses
Avatar universal
I wish I could help but I've been suffering the same for a year now. I've tried all the same things as you with the same results as you. I'm now trying yoga for upper back and neck and am continuing with heat packs. i'll just have to see how it goes. I've posted a more detailed request about my own condition on this forum.
I really hope you recover soon, it's a horrible thing to have.
Let me know how your hospital appointment goes.
Take care
Avatar universal
read my posts on this site. you need to do two things: stretch the tight muscles in and around your neck---scalenes, upper traps, scms, pecs-- look up stretches for thee muscles on the net. you also must releae the trigger points in these muscle. for ths i suggest a trigger point manual by clair davies

you must alo strengthen the mid back and posterior scapular stabilizer mucles like the rhomboids---these muscles do not need to be massaged and stretched-- they need to be strengthened..

this is a postural problem you probably have that is COMMON IN COMPUTER USERS BUT ALMOST NEVER DIAGNOSED BY MDS -- the head is not balanced over the pine so the musculature goes into chaos. PT a couple of times per week for an hour at a time will do squat-- you need to do the exercises and stretches a few imes per day and keep your head balanced over your spine ALL THE TIME or this problem will not go away. Jolie Bookspan ha a great website and paul d'arezzo has a great book on posture. if your MRI is negative, i dont see what else this could be.
Avatar universal
Can you provide a link to your forum post please?
Avatar universal
You seems to have a fair point there and I'll give that a go if my appointment turns up nothing. Do you happen to know what sort of scan (if any) would be able to identify the problem you've just described ?
Avatar universal
scans will not identify this problem. you will see my posts all over this forum.... i chime in when people think they have a disc or radiographic finding that is causing their pain, or if they have pain and cant seem to find a cause. based on your post, to me the problem is pretty obvious. you have tight/short muscles in the chest/front of the neck, and upper traps and loose,weakened and stretched mid back and scapular stabilizer muscles. this comes from forward head posture--especially common in computer users. work on the trigger points in the scalenes, scms, pecs, and upper traps, and do the appropriate stretches for these muscles groups. do the appropriate strengthening exercises for the mid back/rhomboids, and scapular stabilizer muscles. shoulder blade pinchng exercises are great for this. SIT UP STRAIGHT-- KEEP YOUR HEAD BALANCED OVER YOUR SPINE AT ALL TIMES
Avatar universal
Although I do bend my head forward when sitting at the computer, I was doing this for years with no problems. When I hurt my neck I was bending over in a way I rarely normally do and in the worst possible positions on too many occasions for too long during the day.
On another forum there have been suggestions that it could be a muscle spasm, what do you have to say to that?
Avatar universal
1 more thing. This problem has me so confused in terms of which part and side of the neck that it's coming from, how can I find out (the most blatant methods have prbly been tried). And is there any way at all other than verbal communication that will allow the specilist to see or feel the problem so that he can confirm what your telling me?
Avatar universal
I too was working with poor head posture for years, leaning over people a a dentist for 18 years before one day "the camel's back" broke and I was in constant pain from that point on. I agree with the info you obtained from another forum---muecle spasm---this is exactly what I described above, except that my post gives you details on precisely which muscles are probably involved. The short tight pecs, upper traps, scms and scalene are the muscles you can say are in "spasm"... The trigger points in these muscles need to be released, and they need to be stretched. The weak, elongated muscles in the back (scapular stabilizer, rhomboids, longitudinal muscles of the spine) need to be strengthened. There is no medical test for muscle imbalance syndromes/pain. the sooner you understand your problem (do the research, reading) and the sooner you realize that going to doctors wont get you anywhere, and the sooner you realize you need to work this out ON YOUR OWN (although perhaps with some good guidance from a PT knowledgable in postural pain and muscle imbalance syndromes), the sooner you will get better. Remember-- you had an MRI on your neck and there were no pertinent findings. KEEP YOUR HEAD OVER YOUR SPINE 24/7. Do the "Wall test" on Jolie Bookspan's website. hope this helps..PS-- your problem is probably coming from both sides of the neck !!!
Avatar universal
I hope you don't mind me asking loads of questions, but since your solutions seem to have the possibility of working and your answers are on par with a physiotherapist / orthopedist, I figure that I may as well learn as much about this problem as possible. Thanks for the answers.

It always feels worse on the left though, and only on the odd occasion does it feel strained on the right. Surely that explains why my neck always tilts downwards to the left and struggles to turn right (the left muscle feels like it's being torn apart when I try turning right, but when I turn left it's easy because there's no stretchy feeling). What I think I am sure of is that the right one is more or less ok, but it's slightly problematic because it's taking mostly all the load because the left one is somehow weak or damaged (the physio suggested that months ago).

The neck exercises that I did were: sterno-cleido-mastoid stretch, upper trapezius stretch, levator scapulae stretch and the neck tuck & hold. Im not sure if you understand what they are (you seem to have the equivalent knowledge of a physiotherapist so this shouldn't flummox you, otherwise you'll find diagrams on google). Is swimming better than those suggested exercises of yours or not (I'm hoping that it's not and that all I have to do are those exercises).
Avatar universal
you are on the right track with your stretches and the chin tuck/hold. good job. swimming is ok too, but the exercises that will help you the most are those that strengthen the mid back, rhomboids and longitudinal muscles of the spine. full body extension exercises/stretches, and exercises that pinch your shoulder blade togetther will help. one thing you have not mentioned is trigger point work. yu should gegt a theracane (available on the net) and clair davies book on trigger point therapy. I would almost guarantee you that you have nasty trigger points in your scalenes and SCm. you will do a heck of  alot better if you work on these every time you have a chance, and especially before your stretches. another good tip[ is to use hear before the trigger point work, and ice after you a re all done with the stretching/exercise/ so0--- heat//trigger point release/stretch/exercise/re-stretch/ice in that order is what worked best for me.

Lastly, one side feels worse than the other becaue one side prbably IS worse than the other. this is not unusual at all.
Avatar universal
Well I am certainly glad to hear that the swimming isn't the most useful. If all of these are stated in the book, then I'll be willing to buy that, the worst case scenario is that I waste £18ish or however much it costs.
So should the physiotherapist have noticed this ? (I wasn't the one who asked to move onto the orthopedist)
I assume that if this does help then I don't have to redo it, but I need to be careful with regards to posture etc. I'm still going to speak to the orthopedist at my appointment, but I may have some questions for you afterwards, regardless as to what he or she has to say (it does hurt to think that as good as your advice is, that it turns out that it isn't the problem, I've been there before countless times, but here's to hoping that it is right on the mark). I see that you often give advice on here, do you actually have a medical background of any sort with regards to this specific area, because you've stated some stuff that no-one else has?
Avatar universal
Oh yer forgot, I've ordered the thermacare heat pads, care to offer an opinion on there effectiveness and where specifically I should stick em (it shows an example of the shoulder being a place to stick it, but not the neck which is where I'd presume I would put mine. I wonder if it'll be more effective than a heatpack or deepheat?
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