Neck, shoulder and collarbone

by Steve D.
(Farmington, NM)

In November of '18 I woke up with my neck (left side) in such pain I had to use both hands to support my head, my girlfriend had to pull me up by my elbow in order for me to sit up on the side of the bed. The slightest touch would literally send me through the roof as she was not able to even touch it let alone massage it.

I went to the chiropractor that day and he would not attempt to adjust me, he gave me a script for muscle relaxers and told me to take them for a few days and come back. I did just that and in a few days was able to move my head a little to the left and right. Went back and he was ever so slightly able to adjust me.

I have continued the chiropractor visits now once a week for 7 months and have had minimal relief. In mid-May it worsened again to the point I went to an urgent care where the Dr. gave me shots of lidocaine in my neck and shoulder. It has improved considerably since these shots but the pain persists and has moved into my shoulder and collarbone with my neck still feeling locked at my occipital and lower around the C-5 area with the muscles feeling tight and stressed and pulling on my upper pectoral next to my collarbone and lower throat area.

I have been doing the stretches that were prescribed but the relief is only temporary (a few hours) the urgent care Dr gave me a step up from flexerill to Tizanidine 4mg which tends to help, again temporarily until time for more pills.

In the last 2.5 weeks I have taken 180 aleve along with the Tizanidine to get through the day. Although it seems to be improving, I'm not sure if I am just masking the pain or if I'm truly getting better I was hoping for an outside opinion on my next step. I can't live on muscle relaxers and aleve.
Thank you for your advice in advance.
Steve D.

Hello Steve,
Firstly a few questions.
1. Has an x-ray been taken and what did it show. Could you type out the report please. If not, definitely time, including an APOM and obliques.

2. Any old significant trauma?

3. Are you a tum sleeper?

4. Is there any pain down your arm? Headache?

5. Where the collarbone meets the sternum, is there tenderness or a little lump? That pec pain is unusual.

You've had what is called a torticollis, a very stiff and painful neck, really a very vague term, the concern that it still hasn't resolved after so long and so much treatment.

General heath good?

Give me some answers, and we'll continue this.

Take a look at the 'tingling in arms and hands' page at Chiropractic Help, scroll down to T1. Does it seem to fit?

Dr B.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Chiropractic help Questions (Neck pain).

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

Are you looking for a different slant on your pain?

Do you want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.