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09-13-2008, 08:41 AM #1
Keep tweaking my neck, any advice?
Ever do that thing where you turn your head and suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your neck (on the side, kind of above where the trapezius attaches)? It hurts pretty bad for a few days, maybe a week. Sometimes its bad enough you have to cock you head to the side, and turning it is definitely out.
I've been doing this more and more the last few years. I've probably done it 6 times in the last year alone. I'm mystified, it never happens when I think it would, like crashing and stuffing my head into the snow- I'll do it while at the computer or buying groceries.
I'm fairly fit and work out and exercise a lot, but I don't do any neck exercises or stretching. I've tried... and my neck gets tweaked.
Anyone else have this, or know what to do? I missed a couple powder days last year because of it.
09-13-2008, 12:20 PM #2
I have that problem, and it's a nightmare. For me, it comes down to a buildup of stress believe it or not. I always have problems immediately before and after vacations - go figure. And like you, it doesn't happen when you'd expect it might. It happens at times when I push away from my desk and stretch -- TWEAK!!! Fack!!!
I find that regular exercise helps on both the neck pain and stress fronts... Another thing I did this year that helped during the summer was make some adjustments to my bike setup, and my neck issues have really subsided. I haven't been to my chiro in nearly a year, and I feel about as good as I have in years, although I did get hit by a car, so my lower back is kind of a disaster again.
Basically, control stress, get exercise, and see a chiro from time to time if you're into that. Good luck.
09-13-2008, 02:28 PM #3
I used to have your problem (in the brachial plexis area of the shoulder) a lot before Docs did this:
09-13-2008, 03:40 PM #4
09-13-2008, 04:13 PM #5
09-13-2008, 05:10 PM #6
Basically, he's saying you may have disc issues (herniated, compressed, etc.), and the result is a pinched/inflamed nerve. Sometimes the only fix is to open up the space again to take pressure off the nerve and the pain magically goes away. It's not the first course of treatment, but sometimes the best. I haven't got there yet. It has it's risks.
09-13-2008, 05:51 PM #7
could be disc but sounds more like facet joint issues...
09-13-2008, 05:59 PM #8
Some people are genetically susceptible to degenerating discs. My paternal grandfather, dad and brother have all had the same problem - same disc. Mine was aggravated by injuries playing hockey, skiing, motocross and mountain bike racing. As the disc compresses, the areas in the spine where the nerves go through get smaller and more prone to irritation/pinching.
There are a bunch of charts on the web that show the neural pathways from the spine. It's like reading a simple wiring diagram.
I went through four years of chiros and epidural steroid shots before the surgery. While your experience may vary, I found the chiro was making things worse. If you get these flairs enough that you can't live your life as you want, I recommend you see a neurosurgeon. Despite the title, most of them look at surgery as a last resort.
The good news is that cervical spine surgery (mine was discectomy with fusion, C5-6) is a relative cakewalk. They make a fairly small incision (maybe 5 stitches) just above the clavicle. Then they just need to move the trachea and carotid artery and it's a clear shot. Because you don't mess with a lot of soft tissue, there's not a lot of bruising and swelling.
I was up walking the next day, could dress myself the day after, and did a hilly five mile hike (no pack) the day after that. I was back on my bicycle in six weeks. Took about another three weeks to get the neck muscles to where I could tolerate 3 hours in the saddle.
09-15-2008, 12:09 PM #9
09-15-2008, 01:31 PM #10
Hmmm... I thought the problem was pulled muscles. Sounds like it could be pinched nerves - how do you tell the difference?
09-15-2008, 03:15 PM #11
See your doc, and have him get you a referral for an MRI. A chiro will tell you it's nothing he can't take care of, but don't believe that. I have a good chiro - he gave it three visits and said it's should have gotten better, but all it did was get worse, so he got the referral for me. Kudos to him for that.
Pulled muscles don't have the sudden pain you talk about when all you did was turn your head. It usually takes a little more to pull muscles. Your problem sounds exactly like mine, and it's not pulled muscles.
09-15-2008, 03:24 PM #12
On the bright side, maybe this means I'm not a pencilneck, so weak I can't support my own noggin.
09-16-2008, 07:29 AM #13
Just another perspective on this. My issue related to cervical disc herniations, along with something called end-plate disruption (cracking of the vertebral plates). The damage to my discs would cause swelling and spasming of the surrounding muscles, which created a vicious circle of pain.
I had the same problems as you - the pinched nerve in the neck would happen every couple weeks and I wouldn't be able to function for 2-3 days. It finally got so bad that I agreed to a cervical epidural injection from my orthopaedic back guy. This is a fluoroscopy guided injection done under X-ray into the epidural area of the cervical spine. It was a breeze, just some local anaesthetic, and then mild discomfort (it takes about 20 min to do the procedure) as he works the needle to where it needs to be while looking at X-rays, and a bit more discomfort (pressure) when the corticosteroid was injected.
For me, it worked wonders. Three days of increased pain, and then things settled down dramatically. The goal of the injection is to settle things down so you can then really focus on breaking the vicious cycle of pain to focus on rehab. The injection was 3 years ago (I think), and I have yet to have a recurrence."A local is just a dirtbag who can't get his shit together enough to travel."
- Owl Chapman
09-22-2008, 02:17 PM #14
Hey, I've got the titanium plate and bone graft thingy too! (C5-C6) Fine a good back doctor, they'll probably start you on physical therapy before even considering a MRI. My doc said PT resolves the issues for 90% of the people he sees. I ended up in the other 10% and had the surgery (total bill $45k, thank you, employer-provided heath insurance!). I was able to ride 100 miles the next weekend, and was back to running in 3 weeks.
09-22-2008, 02:44 PM #15
Sorry about your neck. Mine is all torqued up too. I guess I'll get it looked at some day.
This is life
What a fucked up thing we do
What a nightmare come true
Or a playground if we choose
And I choose
09-25-2008, 03:24 PM #16
I've got degenertive discs in the neck also. Been through 2 flare-ups. One many years ago and a recent one last year. I'm try to avoid the fusion as long as possible but soulds like a couple here had good results. The general order of treatment is:
I also did the disc decompression thing last year on the new machine DRX9000 I think, and it's a more sophisticated but expensive traction type treatment. I think you can get some good results from the PT with a combination of massage, ultrasound, and definately traction, but if that doesn't do it do the shots.
Also couple other things I do is drink lots of water to keep the discs hydrated and take fish oil.
My $.02 worth...