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Dealing neck pain and back pain. Having muscle stiffness. Noticed lump back of the head while massaging. What can this be?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1773 Questions

I am dealing with major neck pain on my right side along with shoulder and back pain. Almost feels like whiplash (I had that years ago) or a muscle stiffness pain that I would have it I worked out to hard the day before, which I haven't. It has come on slowly and started with pain on the right side of my neck three weeks ago. When I was trying to massage it I noticed a lump on the back of my head at the bottom of my hair line on the right side. The back and neck pain came on two weeks ago along with joint stiffness in my right hand but only around my pointer and middle finger. It's even hard to hold the steering wheel to drive. I have had a low grade fever off and on for about two weeks now only between 99.2 and 100.1 and I'm also tired more than usual. I've lost weight without diet or exercise from 128 to now 106. My doc sent me to a neurologist because the stiffness in my neck is bringing on migraines, however, these migraines are different... they burn and hurt through my jaw and neck... I also have a tiny bit of swelling on the lower left side of my face that you'd never notice unless it was pointed out. I only noticed because I had pictures done and could see my smile looked funny. The neurologist felt the bump and could see the slight swelling in my face and at first he said I needed to have a cat scan and mri done, but then when he saw I have no insurance he decided to just put me back on Topamax, which I don't want to take again. I have also had my thyroid check because I am also experiencing night sweats (where I'm drenched and have to take a shower at 3am) and my vision has worsened suddenly. My thyroid came back normal and they said it might be menopause even though I'm only 36... this week I also had a test for mono that is negative, and they checked my blood cell counts for a second time. The first time my rbc count was low and they said not to worry, this week it was normal. They asked if I've been bit by a tick and I'm pretty sure I haven't and then they asked me if I am depressed which I'm pretty sure I'm not... I have nothing to be depressed about besides I don't feel good. After all of that info my question is... should I just let it be and stop going to the doctors or should I be concerned? I have considered changing doctors but if I have no reason to be concerned I'd rather not rack up medical bills. I'm just worried about having to start work next week when I feel like this because I teach dance.

Thank you, XXXXXXX
Posted Fri, 16 Aug 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 1 hour later

I have read through the details with dilegence. I could think of the following. I want you to give a serious thought about these as well. Infact you can discuss them with your GP as well.

Definitely you should not leave it here until the time the exact diagnosis is made.

1) Migraine: It can bring in the stiffness in the neck.
2) Cervical spondylosis : A simple cervical spine xray (lateral and Ap view) is better to start with.
3) Since you had bleeding ulcers in the stomach, I am worried about nutritional deficiency like Mecobalamin, Thiamine, Pyridoxine. It is suggest to test for iron deficiency.
4) Depression, Tuberculosis like infections present with Low grade fever, Night sweats, weight loss, lumps.

I still suggest you to take Topamax like acting chronic pain relievers, if not Topamax. They help in relieving the migraine and the pain going into arm. If you do not want to diagnose the problem and start definite therapy you can do trial therapy with Calcium, Vit B Complex supplements as well. Check if the symptoms are relieved in a month's time.

Ideally if the Xray Cervical spine is inconclusive, the next step is MRI of the spine.

I will be available for follow up queries that ensue.
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