Q. What is the cause for constant neck and back pain associated with neck stiffness?

Answered by
Dr. Vaibhav Ramesh Gandhi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Nithila A

Hello doctor,

I have chronic neck and back pain that can cause either severe neck stiffness or sharp pain. Most of the pain seems to originate in the front of the neck (SCM muscle) or the cervical spine area. Pain radiates to mid-back and causes spasms of my shoulder blades. Lots of popping when turning my head. This also flares up every couple or few months to the point of being unbearable and requiring a visit to urgent care.

Lots of other symptoms some of which include, profuse night sweats, sweating during the day for no reason (profuse), weakness in shoulders and arms (very hard to play tennis anymore), occasional stiffness in ribs, tightness in chest, jaw pain and weakness, forehead numbness, random movement of limbs during day but usually at night (kind of like little seizures but has not been diagnosed) and general neck swelling (neck looks big).

I know it is a lot of symptoms, but it is so frustrating. I have a copy of a cervical MRI with me. Curious to know if these symptoms stand out as anything in particular. Working with doctor's now, but I am mentally and emotionally drained as I have been dealing with this for years with no answer, and it is difficult for the family to understand. Being an athlete could not compete in college anymore due to this. My body could not perform anymore.

Dr. Vaibhav Ramesh Gandhi

Orthopedics And Traumatology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have studied your case. Due to compression of this nerve root, there can be a sharp pain in your arm and back with a shoulder. I will advise you to send your MRI cervical spine for better diagnosis. For these symptoms, analgesic and neurotropic medication can be started. Till the time, avoid lifting weights, Sit with support to the back. You can consult a physiotherapist for help. Physiotherapy like ultrasound and interferential therapy will give quick relief. I will advise checking your vitamin B12 and vitamin D3 level.

Shoulder symptoms can be due to rotator cuff injury or arthropathy. If required MRI shoulder may help in diagnosis. I hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow-up queries, then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

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