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Worsening Chronic head and neck pain

My boyfriend has had chronic head and neck pain since before 7th grade. I've watched him suffer with it from time to time and i really wish there was something i could do for him. He used to get one monthly but recently they have escalated. The last time i was out to see him he had this pain the whole week i was there. Most days he described it as achy and stiff but when it gets really bad he calls it throbbing.

It sounds like it starts in his neck, then it moves up just spreads everywhere. When i rub his head/neck for him he tells me he needs me to rub deeper (cause the pain is inside). It seems to help as long as i rub it for him.

Often times they start when he wakes up or soon before he goes to sleep. He tells me he slept on it wrong (which is partially true because if his pillow isn't just so it can trigger them as well). If he moves his head too fast it causes him pain. Cold really seems to bother it. He says heat helps. His normal "cure" (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't) is two Motrin and a mountain dew.

He also has some shoulder issues from playing tag football once. He's been told me may need surgery for it.
He also sometimes has sinus pressure from allergies. His head is always congested.

I hope I've included everything here (related and perhaps not). I just want to help him because he's done so much to help me.
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,
It is only now that I was able to see the drawing. And basing from this, it can indeed be  musculoskeletal in nature. I recommend that a imaging modalities such as x-ray be done and to include also his shoulder to rule out possible link to his previous shoulder trauma. As I have mentioned, like arthritis headaches, muscle strain caused by cervical causes may lead to pressure on nerve roots and can cause headaches, especially at the back of the head. To relax the muscle, aside from medications, ice/warm packs may provide relief.  Take care and do keep us posted.
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Avatar universal
He describes the pain as muscular
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,
According to the National Headache Foundation, neck arthritis and headaches are common health problems. Wear and tear of neck cartilage and joints can press on nerve roots and can cause headaches, especially at the back of the head. Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis can also cause spinal disruption which also causes headaches by pinching or pressing on neck and scalp nerves. if his headaches persist, he may need to have this checked before it gets worse. Take care and best regards.
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Avatar universal
I talked to him again last night and he gave me better idea of where is pain is and where his throbbing happens. The link below takes you to a picture describing what he told me.

http://www.medhelp.org/user_photos/show/122509
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Avatar universal
He's doing okay. Far as i know there was not any trauma to his head or neck in the past (at least not way back when they started in 7th grade). Since then he played football one year and i know that at least while playing that he did something to one of his shoulders.

He's only 25... i thought arthritis was something that didn't happen to people that young. He takes Motrin when he gets the head/neck aches. That seems to help. I've seen him take Tylenol too though and that does nothing for him.

He doesn't want to get further evaluation because he thinks it'll be a waste of time/money because they'll probably just tell him he needs surgery (something which he doesn't want to do). He can be so stubborn sometimes hehe.

Thanks for your reply Dr. Santos.
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Avatar universal
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hi,
How is your boy friend? Was there a previous trauma to his head or neck in the past? Pain at the back of head or neck may also be due to arthritis headaches. It intensifies on movement and is usually caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck. Anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may help but I recommend that further evaluation be done for proper management. Neurological examination and diagnostic tests such as CT scan may help determine the underlying cause. Take care and best regards.
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