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What causes muscle pain in the neck and lower back?

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Posted on Fri, 22 Jul 2016
Question: I have been experiencing pain in the muscles/tendons (?) along the back and sides of my neck extending from about the middle of my neck up to the level of my ears for 3-4 days. This has come and gone a couple of times this year but I've never experienced it before that. It is not incapacitating but is irritating and is not being caused by any kind of injury. Movement is when I notice it but I have no loss of movement. Initially I thought it might be due to a recent (3 months ago) change in my prescription glasses. However, I switched back to my old glasses but it seemed to have no effect on the pain.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Based on your description the most probable cause of your symptoms would be spinal degenerative arthritic changes. Over the years due to the wear and tear the spines of each of us do undergo degenerative changes, in some people more pronounced than others depending on genetic factors, type of work, trauma etc.
These changes may lead to period of local inflammation and spasms of the spinal muscles causing the symptoms you mention.
A spinal x-ray would be a cheap and good initial exam for the arthritic changes, wouldn't go into more expensive tests if no other symptoms. Regarding treatment the episodes seem rare so I would suggest only an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen for a few weeks when needed. If it doesn't alleviate the symptoms a muscle relaxant like Flexeril may be added. Physical therapy is useful as well and the only proven means of slowing down the evolution of these changes over time.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What causes muscle pain in the neck and lower back?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. Based on your description the most probable cause of your symptoms would be spinal degenerative arthritic changes. Over the years due to the wear and tear the spines of each of us do undergo degenerative changes, in some people more pronounced than others depending on genetic factors, type of work, trauma etc. These changes may lead to period of local inflammation and spasms of the spinal muscles causing the symptoms you mention. A spinal x-ray would be a cheap and good initial exam for the arthritic changes, wouldn't go into more expensive tests if no other symptoms. Regarding treatment the episodes seem rare so I would suggest only an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen for a few weeks when needed. If it doesn't alleviate the symptoms a muscle relaxant like Flexeril may be added. Physical therapy is useful as well and the only proven means of slowing down the evolution of these changes over time. I remain at your disposal for other questions.