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What causes throbbing pain in the back of neck?

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Posted on Mon, 14 Apr 2014
Question: I have neck problems particularly when lying in bed. However when standing it feels uncomfortable and the feeling is like "buzzing" and sharp pain in the joints that jut out at the base of the neck. I do get pain in shoulders and mid to upper back when I do activities such as cutting vegetables or filing nails! (Generally finer motor skills) When in bed I have to lay on my back because I have degenerative discs in my lower back. I have used a variety of pillows but with little improvement in my neck discomfort. My biggest concern is that when I try to lay on my side to relieve my neck discomfort I suddenly start feeling a very strong throbbing pulse in the back of my neck in the same joint region which throbs down my arms as well. I have to return to my back lying and it takes a few minutes for the throbbing to subside. Is this likely to be nerve or blood related and should I see my doctor. I am a 61 year old female who played field hockey for many years at a high level. Thank you in advance for any comments.
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Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (3 hours later)
Brief Answer: Further evaluation by your doctor is needed.... Detailed Answer: Hi, I have gone through your medical history and understood your concerns. The throbbing pain in the back of your neck is nerve related and not blood related. You should see your doctor, rheumatologist and neurologist to further evaluate how far the damages have gone and to take proper treatment. Neck X-ray is necessary to be carried out and arthritis blood tests. Meanwhile, I advise to: - apply warm clothing to the painful area - apply otc analgesic cream/patches where the pain is - take calcium and vitamin D supplementation - do massaging (physio-therapy) Hope it helped! Let me know if you have further queries! Dr.Albana
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Albana Sejdini (11 hours later)
Thank you for your reply. As waiting time for my GP is usually 2 weeks should I try to get an emergency appointment or just wait for the 2 weeks? I am managing the pain and discomfort although the lack of sleep is an issue. I have also taken no time off work although I am only part-time. Could I however stress that the throbbing in my neck is not painful it is just a strong pulse/thumping like sensation that goes through my upper torso and down my arms. The pain when it comes is either sharp on the bone area or a 'heavy' aching pain right across the shoulders and through the neck.
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Answered by Dr. Albana Sejdini (21 minutes later)
Brief Answer: No need to get an emergency appointment... Detailed Answer: Hi, Although the pain is giving discomfort to you, however, from what you are describing, it is not so worrisome to get an emergency appointment. You can follow the advice giving earlier. If the discomfort will change (increase) in intensity and duration, then, should get an emergency appointment. Otherwise, wait until the next appointment with your GP and ask him/her to evaluate further your spinal cord (vertebrae). Hope it helped! Let me know if you need further assistance! Dr.Albana
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Albana Sejdini

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2006

Answered : 7218 Questions

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What causes throbbing pain in the back of neck?

Brief Answer: Further evaluation by your doctor is needed.... Detailed Answer: Hi, I have gone through your medical history and understood your concerns. The throbbing pain in the back of your neck is nerve related and not blood related. You should see your doctor, rheumatologist and neurologist to further evaluate how far the damages have gone and to take proper treatment. Neck X-ray is necessary to be carried out and arthritis blood tests. Meanwhile, I advise to: - apply warm clothing to the painful area - apply otc analgesic cream/patches where the pain is - take calcium and vitamin D supplementation - do massaging (physio-therapy) Hope it helped! Let me know if you have further queries! Dr.Albana