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Suggest treatment for painful stiff neck after a serious cervical spine injury

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Posted on Sat, 5 Apr 2014
Question: I'm a 51 year old desk-jockey. 5'-10" 145lbs., in overall good health, smoker, and may drink a little more than I should. Starting to get out and exercising by farming. Cutting back on my bad habits. Under an enormous amount of stress at all times, due to owning a business and still dealing with 10 grown children. I have not seen a doctor in over 20 years. Never get colds, the flu, strep, or any of that stuff. I did have the Chickenpox at age 30. Have not been vaccinated for anything since I was a small child. Anyway, from time to time I have swelling of my C2 vertebrae from a construction accident 25 years ago, when a large 100lb item dropped on my head pushing my chin into my chest. Never gives me too much trouble. Never went to the doctor for it. Seemed to be cured at one point after a violent rollercoaster ride. I heard a snap, saw stars, and could not move my head for 2 days. After that, for years, it just went away. It's just been the past five it has been swelling again. For the past 3 days C2 has been very swollen, and now I have pain from the from the crown of my head, down the base of my skull into C2. The left side of my neck is stiff as a board, and it really hurts to even turn my head. Twinge type pain when I move my head. The top of my left shoulder and joint, collar bone and clavical and all involved. Even my upper side rib cage under my left arm. The pain exits my left nipple. I have been using heat packs, hot shower, rum (I know, not good). It helps a bit. But as soon as they are off, it's even worse. I have no idea what happened. I just woke like this three days ago.
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Answered by Dr. Mukesh Chugh (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: Wear cervical collar and urgent x ray Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for the query After going through the detail description, it seems you suffered serious cervical spine injury 25 years ago which may have resulted in subluxation of cervical spine which got reduced by violent ride. This is a serious problem. My advice would be wear cervical collar to stabilize the neck and take pain killer like ibuprofen. Do you have any difficulty in swallowing? Visit a doctor for X-ray cervical spine and if required MRI cervical spine. In between do not do neck massage or any exercise. In the follow up, please send the x ray picture and any further query; I shall be glad to answer them. Take care and wish you good health Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Shanthi.E
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Answered by
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Dr. Mukesh Chugh

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement

Practicing since :1997

Answered : 1619 Questions

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Suggest treatment for painful stiff neck after a serious cervical spine injury

Brief Answer: Wear cervical collar and urgent x ray Detailed Answer: Hello Thanks for the query After going through the detail description, it seems you suffered serious cervical spine injury 25 years ago which may have resulted in subluxation of cervical spine which got reduced by violent ride. This is a serious problem. My advice would be wear cervical collar to stabilize the neck and take pain killer like ibuprofen. Do you have any difficulty in swallowing? Visit a doctor for X-ray cervical spine and if required MRI cervical spine. In between do not do neck massage or any exercise. In the follow up, please send the x ray picture and any further query; I shall be glad to answer them. Take care and wish you good health Regards