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What causes neck pain?

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Posted on Tue, 21 Jan 2014
Question: I have been having neck ache for a few months on and off, mostly when i turn to the right. When i press into my neck my muacles feel very tight. I also feel a couple of little bimps which appear hard when my neck is tende but when i lay down they are very squishy. Near back side of neck. I have been to see a harmatologist, ENT and my own gp and they all have told me there are no swollen lymph nodes. So what am i feeling? I also feel the right side feels bigger on comparioson to the left side. Its not noticable to see it jist feels it to me. I have been very stressed for a fee months and my gp has said it is tension.
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger (48 minutes later)
Brief Answer: Pain killers and further investigation. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. There are a number of causes of neck pain and as you have seen specialists and they have ruled out enlarged lymph nodes which is a good start. Simpler causes of neck pain would include sleeping awkwardly or spending long hours at a computer. Also, posture may contribute. If you think any of these may be the cause, I suggest you take simple pain-killers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen or ibuprofen gel. Perhaps change your pillow. Do not try a neck collar as there is no evidence that these help. It is better to gently exercise your neck to strengthen the muscles. A warm compress can also relieve pain. Stress and anxiety may cause neck pain and stiffness. There may be life-style adjustments you could consider in this area. If these simple measures do not help over the next 2-3 days, I suggest you see your doctor for further investigation. There is the possibility it could be early arthritis and an MRI could aid diagnosis. In addition referral to a chronic pain specialist may help you. I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Kerry Pottinger (8 minutes later)
Thanks.. Do you think if there were enlarged lymph nodes the specialists would have felt them? I saw the ENT in Sept for exam and then again in Dec. each time he said my neck just felt normal and no swollen nodes? This all started about 8 months ago after having my second baby. I spend a lot of time in same positions breast feeding him and often laying on my side holding my phone over my head to read a book etc. i also fond i have a terrible gritting my teeth on the right side when i am anxious which is a lot of the time. I am very scared of cancer and cant understand why i can feel things that feel like lymph nodes and yet every doctor i have seen has told me i have no swollen nodes.
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger (28 minutes later)
Brief Answer: You have seen the appropriate specialists so far. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for the further information. I can reassure that you have seen the appropriate specialists and they would have found any lymph nodes if they were enlarged. The addition points you make reinforce my original thoughts that pain killers, simple life-style changes and possibly further investigation would be the way forward. If I can be of further help, please contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Kerry Pottinger

Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist

Practicing since :1983

Answered : 1337 Questions

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What causes neck pain?

Brief Answer: Pain killers and further investigation. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. There are a number of causes of neck pain and as you have seen specialists and they have ruled out enlarged lymph nodes which is a good start. Simpler causes of neck pain would include sleeping awkwardly or spending long hours at a computer. Also, posture may contribute. If you think any of these may be the cause, I suggest you take simple pain-killers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen or ibuprofen gel. Perhaps change your pillow. Do not try a neck collar as there is no evidence that these help. It is better to gently exercise your neck to strengthen the muscles. A warm compress can also relieve pain. Stress and anxiety may cause neck pain and stiffness. There may be life-style adjustments you could consider in this area. If these simple measures do not help over the next 2-3 days, I suggest you see your doctor for further investigation. There is the possibility it could be early arthritis and an MRI could aid diagnosis. In addition referral to a chronic pain specialist may help you. I hope this is of help. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB FRCA