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What causes sore scalp, stiff neck and shooting pain in the head?

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Posted on Mon, 25 Jul 2016
Question: I have shooting pains in the back of my head and now in my ear, all on the right side, my scalp is really sore to touch and stiff neck.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
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Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

The fact that the ER doctors and the CT scan found nothing major is reassuring, it reinforces the fact that there is nothing major and no brain lesion behind your symptoms.

That type of pain is most probably due to inflammation of neck spinal structures, which may be related to arthritis and muscle strain. It is common that this type of pain besides the neck pain and stiffness radiates also in the head.

From a practical point of view I would recommend to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain killer such as Ibuprofen as well as a muscle relaxant such as Flexeril for a few weeks. In the overwhelming part of cases symptoms gradually improve during that time period. Later on physical therapy would be useful to prevent recurrences in the future.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (24 minutes later)
I forgot to mention that I found a tick on me six weeks ago and I had blood drawn recently just waiting on results. Would this be symptoms of lyme's disease?
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (59 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for the additional info. Lyme is a disease of varying manifestations so it should be thought in the case of a tick bite history.

If one was to attribute your symptoms to Lyme it would be in the setting of meningitis, inflammation of the layers of the brain which can manifest with headache and neck stiffness. However usually there are other manifestations as well such as fever and also other neurological symptoms such as facial palsy, symptoms which I believe would be noted in the ER. Also perhaps you had blood drawn in the ER yesterday I assume....while it wasn't specifically for Lyme there would still be changes indicating an infection such as high white blood cell count, so if that was not present it's another point against Lyme (or other types of meningitis).

Let me know if I can further assist you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What causes sore scalp, stiff neck and shooting pain in the head?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. The fact that the ER doctors and the CT scan found nothing major is reassuring, it reinforces the fact that there is nothing major and no brain lesion behind your symptoms. That type of pain is most probably due to inflammation of neck spinal structures, which may be related to arthritis and muscle strain. It is common that this type of pain besides the neck pain and stiffness radiates also in the head. From a practical point of view I would recommend to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain killer such as Ibuprofen as well as a muscle relaxant such as Flexeril for a few weeks. In the overwhelming part of cases symptoms gradually improve during that time period. Later on physical therapy would be useful to prevent recurrences in the future. I remain at your disposal for other questions.