For the past week the right side of my neck has been hurting like crazy and my normal remedies (heat, massage, muscle relaxers) haven't been helping at all. And the neck pain that I've been experiencing all week has been different than the pain I usually experience on the left side. At first, I thought the pain was because of the weather since it started last Sunday when we had freezing rain, but after it didn't let up during the week I started coming to other conclusions.
In the past, the pain on the left side of my neck has been a burning pain that starts at the base of my skull and radiates down my neck, up my head, and across to my ear. If you remember, I had tried an epidural injection and facet joint injections to help relieve this pain that was caused by the occipital neuralgia that I was diagnosed with two years ago. (In case you missed it, you can read about why I have neck problems here).
This week, the pain on the right side has been very different than the left. The right side has been a pinching pain and when it gets really bad it just feels like someone is stabbing me in the neck. The pain also starts from the base of my skull (but on the right side) and radiates down my neck to my shoulder. Also, my skin is numb at the back of my neck on the right side. This numbness freaks me out the most.
The pain had gotten so bad mid-week that I started taking Vicodin Wednesday night. I was kinda upset at this since I had just stopped taking pain meds for my ankle. Oh well... I've also been taking a muscle relaxer since Monday to see if that would loosen it up. By Thursday nothing had changed, and I had a physical therapy appointment for my ankle that day. I was hoping that my therapist would have some answers.
I know that my neck muscles get tight and just assumed that I probably had some big knots that may need attention. My therapist looked at it and said that it didn't feel knotty to her and that my facet joint felt a little off. She was unsure whether that was “normal” for me, considering that I had surgery back there. Instead of manipulating me too much, she did an ultrasound treatment on the spot where I felt the most pinching and told me that if the pain didn't go away I should see my doctor.
After coming home, I took a double dosage of muscle relaxers and a couple of pain pills (gee, I sound like a junkie!) and called the neurosurgeon that I saw two years ago to see if there was any way I could see him. Instead, his secretary told me to see my regular doctor first, this way they could order any tests (x-rays, MRI's) and rule out if it is just a muscle spasm. I had called my pain doctor for an appointment that morning, so I was already set.
I saw my pain doctor today and she shot me up with some steroids in the back of my neck. It feels a bit better now, but the pain isn't completely gone and I can still feel the pinching. She thinks that it's probably just a muscle related thing, but ordered an x-ray to be on the safe side. She also said to keep with the medicine protocol that I had started...muscle relaxers and pain meds if needed.
We shall see how the next few days go. I have an MRI scheduled for next week, but if I miraculously get better over the weekend than maybe I can cancel it.