This is a Pain in the Neck!

Information about how to manage or reduce the severity of BFS symptoms

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This is a Pain in the Neck!

Postby puggriffey on September 24th, 2004, 8:41 am

Hey all-

My latest twist with this is some persistent and really uncomfortable stiffness and cramping in my neck and throat area. Specifically, my SCM's (sternoclemastoids - which run from the base of the chin down the side of the neck to the shoulder blade - sort of where I'd imagine my aorta runs, but I'm no doctor!!) has been in and out of spasm for the past several days, and it feels like my muscles running into the back of my head are cramping sometimes as well (head doesn't want to move...)

All of this results in soreness in my neck, soreness when speaking for extended periods of time, and general crampiness, especially after sitting at my desk on the computer for extended periods of time. For some background, I have been dx'd with DDD in the C5-C6 discs and a mild herniation (with no nerve or spinal cord impingement per my MRI of three weeks ago) of the C6-C7. I get these symptoms the worst after sitting and staring at the computer, and it seems to be OK when I stand and even better when I'm walking/moving around.

I don't seem to have "difficulty swallowing" per se, but it does make it more difficult when the muscles in the neck are crampy, and sometimes the muscles in my face/jaw just plain get TIRED when chewing for long periods at a time (I had a pork chop the other night and thought my face was gonna freeze up right there...knew I hsould've been a vegetarian!)

Question: anyone else get this? I KNOW it's not A_S, as my latest EMG five days ago was again clean, and no nerve issues on NCS or neuro exam. Neuro says stress and prescribed muscle relaxant, which helps briefly, but seems to make this worse when it wears off. My friends who can relate say it's all about sitting staring in front of the computer in a poor postural position all day. Especially when stressed. I can buy into that, but I do wonder about the C-spine possibilities too.

Was hoping someone(s) out there had this ring a bell - I know it's not much about BFS or the other ugly three letter word, but I still thought I'd run it past you all.

Hope you're doing great! Smile, and enjoy your day!

JG
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Postby dont on September 24th, 2004, 8:57 am

I can't say I have that exactly but I sit at a computer all day too and I know when I am not thinking about it my posture is terrible. When I leave work my shoulders are cramped up, my TMJ is ten times worse for a few hours after leaving and of course I have the hand issues because of typing so much.

I had a PT tell me my muscles in my upper back and shoulders had become elongated due to poor posture and sitting all day and that I had a lot of muslce knots from tension etc.. It's all tied together. My MRI of my C spine showed "mild disc desiccation and bulding" BUT it also said "normal for age". I'm only 36 so does that mean I will be dried up by 50. The chiro that I went to see said that is never to be considered normal regardless of your age but we all know the controversary with Chiros so who knows. When I get these feelings after sitting all day I can also pop and crack my own neck by turning it with my hands or sometimes just by turning my head myself.

Why did you have another EMG?????????

Take care and hang in there!!

Karen
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Postby puggriffey on September 24th, 2004, 9:12 am

Latest EMG was diagnostic follow up to MRI to confirm the were no nerve or other issues related to the findings on the MRI. Also, we had scheduled to do another EMG on my upper limbs at the 6 month mark after the first one, just to make sure all was OK. It was pretty much for my peace of mind, I believe.

Thanks for the info - sounds pretty close, with maybe a little less of the full blown spasm. Anyone else?

JG
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Postby amy_twitch on September 24th, 2004, 10:39 am

JG, I've been getting off and on neck 'spasms' (???) too. Basically, the best way for me to describe it is this: If I'm sitting at a table and I decide to lean on my left elbow in the 'thinker pose'. In this pose, my left forefinger ends up being clenched just underneath my chin, and slightly to the left. Whatever muscle is right there tends to 'tense up' from time to time, and it's pretty uncomfortable. I look like an a_s_s trying to stretch it out---I just tell my kids I'm pretending to be a giraffe. It does seem to be worse if I've spent lots of time at the computer.

I also get terrible tightening in the back of my neck too....drives me nuts when it's really bad. Only thing I can offer is to ask your doc about some short-term vicodin or a muscle relaxant. I had a two week stretch of that pain in the back of my neck last year that typical tylenol or motrin didn't help. My doc said it was bad tension, and that one or two nights of taking vicodin should be enough to ease it up...and it worked.

It is a true pain in the bottom, I agree!!! Hope you get some relief soon.

Amy
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Postby puggriffey on September 24th, 2004, 1:33 pm

Thanks all - I tell you, if it's not one thing it's another...

The neck cramps/stuff is really annoying, as there's nothing you can do to "take the load off" like if it's your leg or arm...that said, my GP called and said to get a soft neck brace for a few days to ease the workload on the SCM's over the weekend...knowing how I feel right now, I think I'm going to give that a try!!

Bad tension - that's a pretty good description! I've GOT to get away from the computer for a while...

You're right on the Tylenol, etc. not being enough...I got a prescription for Zanaflex, a muscle relaxant, and it seems to help when I take it. But it doesn't last long, and when it wears off, this stuff is MUCH worse. I'm gonna stick to good old Advil, heat packs, and Icy Hot with the brace through the weekend and see how it goes...

JG
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Postby Stephanie on September 24th, 2004, 1:38 pm

I get a lot of twitches in my neck.
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Postby eleven on September 27th, 2004, 1:07 pm

when my twitching and my anxiety were at their worst, i had some serious platysma muscle spasms/cramps. I decided that mine were due to tension, and my constant subconscious tightening/clenching of my jaws. I have had TMJ since I was about 12, and it definetly worsens with stress. Muscle relaxants make me feel horrible; I try to stay away from them.
The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the crow -William Blake
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