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What causes pain and stiffness in neck?

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Posted on Thu, 24 Jul 2014
Question: For the last 8 months I've had this weird neck stiffness that comes and goes. It started from holding an office phone with my shoulder and neck at work. When I feel it, it doesn't really hurt, mostly just bothers. I don't really get headaches from it but I do kinda feel like the throbbing from the right (back) side of my neck radiates to the top right of my head (that cord behind the ear). Also that same area itches (not alot, but enough for me to scratch at it. Sometime it feels like someone has tiny pins poking my scalp and I scratch, its not super persistent, and doesn't really hurt just bothers.

What has me worried is that I started having balance issues, like not bad enough that I stumble, but I notice it (like having a glass of wine), maybe balance might not be the right word, maybe light "headedness" but only when I get up fast from a chair, or if I whip my head fast. No vision issues.

Heat pads or ice, and massage help. Physical activity makes it go away...e.g., when I play basketball I don't notice it. Also, I've put on a lot of weight pretty quickly, something like 80lbs over the last 2yrs, idk if that matters. Any ideas?
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Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
X-ray of neck or MRI will help in the diagnosis.

Detailed Answer:
Hello,
Thanks for your query.

Neck pain, stiffness and light "headedness" that you are having are suggestive of degenerative spondylottic changes of the cervical spine.
X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis.
Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful.
3. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
4. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
5. You can avoid using a pillow.
6. Symptomatic relief from the spinning sensation & losing balance can be achieved by taking antihistamines like BETAHISTINE, after consulting a physician.

I do hope that you have found something helpful and I will be glad to answer any further query.

Take care

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Saurabh Gupta (1 hour later)
Say I got an MRI/X-ray of my neck and they found "something" what would be the next step?
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Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta (27 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Description below.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Next step would be to start with conservative measures as mentioned above. If the symptoms persist even after these measures, surgical intervention might required depending upon the severity of condition.

Wishing yo speedy recovery..

Warm regards.



Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Saurabh Gupta

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 5930 Questions

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What causes pain and stiffness in neck?

Brief Answer: X-ray of neck or MRI will help in the diagnosis. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for your query. Neck pain, stiffness and light "headedness" that you are having are suggestive of degenerative spondylottic changes of the cervical spine. X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis. Treatment includes 1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief. 2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful. 3. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist. 4. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms. 5. You can avoid using a pillow. 6. Symptomatic relief from the spinning sensation & losing balance can be achieved by taking antihistamines like BETAHISTINE, after consulting a physician. I do hope that you have found something helpful and I will be glad to answer any further query. Take care