Upper back/neck pain getting worse - osteopath? Please help!

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In June last year I played tennis and vividly remember trapping a nerve or pulling a muscle of some sorts in my back. Taking the naive 'it'll get better with ibuprofen' approach, I stubbornly got on with life paying no attention to the developing pain, before realising in the summer that it wasn't getting better, but worse.

Fast forward to now and I'm in a real pickle. Despite the exercises I've been doing - a combination of those suggested by the physio and pilates strengtheners - my neck and upper back pain has got really bad recently, culminating in today's pain which not even massage, hot/cold therapy and anti-inflammatories can solve. I'm really concerned that this long term problem - it's been nearly 8 months now - has developed into something more serious, and I'm massively confused what to do about it. I don't feel the physio i'm seeing truly understands the depth of the problem, but I'm dubious about seeing an osteopath or chiropractor privately. The main exercise he gave me to do forces the neck one way whilst turning the body the other, and chin tucks - the latter are painful as they feel like they're putting pressure on the spine. To be honest, I'm extremely concerned I've given myself myofascial pain syndrome, as a lot of the effects of this seem to be in play - including the increased popping of my joints. A few days ago I did some moderate lifting of furniture and the nexr morning couldn't move my neck - ever since, I've had knots in my back and neck that won't release even with a good session with the hardcore roller.

I don't suppose any of you have any advice or thoughts on what I should do? I'm pretty desperate - sport aside, it's becoming more and more difficult to do everyday things such as strum the guitar or even pick clothes off the rail.

Thanks in advance,


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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hiya Jim have you tried a tens machine they are pretty good or a magnetic belt try not to do any lifting keep mobile but there are certain things you can take for the pain co codamol tramadol diclafenic I believe gel I've tried them all muscle relaxants I havn't tried acupuncture reiki is good too hope that has helped
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    • Posted

      Hi Joanne

      Thanks for replying, I appreciate your help.

      No I haven't tried a tens machine - I do have a deep tissue massager, but that hasn't done anything to relieve the pain or stiffness.

      I won't be doing any lifting as Thursday's lifting was obviously the trigger for the pain I've got now - however, I can't go on like that forever - I play golf and tennis competitively, have an allotment, plus play the guitar etc. I know these sound like luxuries, but I'm 33 and until last year was fighting fit, I don't want to spend the rest of my thirties being limited in what I can and can't do.

      I have decided to see my local chiropractor who also dabbles in acupuncture. I was weary about doing this but I'm desperate. If it wasn't for taking a couple of strong ibuprofen last night I'm not sure I'd have been able to move today (no understatement).

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    • Posted

      Hiya jimbo I take tramadol ibuprofen and it still doesn't touch the pain I've got a muscle spasm in my neck and a bulging disc too I slipped a disc over 10 years now and my back hasn't been the same since I've got pins and needles in my legs and my back side feels like I'm sitting on glass but I won't give up seriously thinking of trying acupuncture next jo
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  • Posted

    Welcome to the club no one comes to voluntarily. You need to see your GP and get MRI scan. I tried so many things did a lot of reading while lying on my back but I havent found my way out. It has been three months. Please promise me one thing, when you manage to get free from the pain and again feel like functioning human being enjoying life, please come back and tell us smile


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  • Posted

    Hi Jim. I hope by now you have had your consultation with the chiropractor and have had some help. I am an Osteopath by the way. Both Chiropractors and Osteopaths train full time for 4 years and have to be registered. This means they are qulaified to diagnose your problem and are skilled in treating it. Don't epect a miracle - it will be a process. Tell your chiropractor everything you can think of about your pain and how it started as it will givehim/her clues on how best to treat you. Especially about what sets the pain off and what makes it better. Its best not to ignore pain. Its there for a reason. Your body will try to compensate where it can but sometimes that makes things worse - as in your case. Try to co-operate with your chiropractors suggestions - including doing all the exercises. 

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Hi Angela

      Thanks for this helpful reply.

      Since I posted the message I went to see a local chiropractor who has diagnosed me with the following:

      - abnormal muscle function

      - hypermobility

      - postural distortions

      - thoracic outlet syndrome

      Apparently I have some fixations through the cervical spine and also vertebral subluxaion complex at the neck.

      I've been for three weekly treatments whee he's given me a good cracking. I've been really focussing on heat therapy in addition to the exercises - stretching the levator scapula, 'passing the plates', three point holds - as well as constantly adjusting for posture.

      I've had varying success so far, and I was warned it would be so - today for instance, I don't feel great, and haven't since my last session on Thursday - mind, I didn't do any of the exercises on Friday. In the three days prior, I noticed some improvement - but maybe that was the result of ibuprofen gel?

      It definitely seems to be a cervical spine issue, causing upper body dysfunction. As an osteopath, what do you think to other techniques, such as acupuncture?

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