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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

This is my first post to this forum. For the past year, I have suffered extreme muscle tension in my neck, mostly at the base of my skull. In the past it was pretty much just the tension, but recently it has become achy and painful. My head sometimes feels like it weighs 50 pounds.

My doctor started me first with anti-inflammatories which did nothing to help the tension and I had a cervical xray. The xray came back saying pretty much that I had a straigtening of the cervical spine and not much else.

I did approximately six weeks of physical therapy which consisted of moist heat, ultrasound, stretching of the neck muscles, brief massage and some strengheing exercises. While some of these things felt good, they didn't seem to help the tension problem. There is no problem with range of motion or nerve function. All tests were just fine. I just have very severe muscle tension.

In September I had a cervical MRI. It came back saying I had the straightening of the cervical spine, three or four bulging disks and some DDD. The bulging disks didn't show nerve involvement or anything else that would be causing the extreme tension.

Since then, I have tried acupuncture (without sucess) and started seeing a chiropractor (also without success). On Thursday I have an appointment for a massage. The acupuncturist tells me that he cannot feel anything structurally wrong with my neck other than it is straighter than it should be. The chiropractor feels the tense muscles are "protecting" something, but I can't figure out what.

I am at a loss of what to do and where to go to fix this. There are no spine specialists where I live. We have one orthopedic spine doctor in town, but he requires a physician referal and the wait time to get in to see him is four months. I am not sure my case is serious enough for him to even see me. I have been told that I do not have a problem that would require surgery and he is a surgeon. The chiropractor has brought up the pain management clinic. Has anyone had success in obtaining muscle tension relief from the pain management clinic? The other option might be a neurologist. Other than the muscle tension and resulting pain, I don't seem to have neurological issues. Everything seems to work just fine.

I am so tired of feeling bad. Motrin does not seem to help with the pain, and the only relief I get is from sleep. When the tension becomes absolutely unbearable, I take .25 mg. of Xanax which does seem to help a bit, but I know that this is not the solution or something I should take on a regular basis.

Does anyone have any experience with something like this that could offer suggestions as to what I should do or where I should go to figure out what is wrong and how to go about fixing it? I would truly appreciate any replies.

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