Q. I have had pain and spasms in my neck for almost a year. I did not have an injury but did work out regularly before the symptoms started. My neck just started to hurt and then got tight. Muscle spasms then developed and if I touch certain spots near my neck, I get a sharp jolt of pain. I saw my family doctor and tried muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, but they barely helped. I also tried physical therapy for a month and then a chiropractor, but the pain did not improve much. I am frustrated, in pain and can’t work out. What is my next step?
A. It appears you have a chronic strain of your neck and trapezius muscles. This can be brought on by injury, overuse, disc problems or arthritis. Occasionally, there are areas of the tightened muscle that become hypertensive and when touched can produce a searing pain or electric shock sensation. These areas are known as trigger points. I recommend you see a spine specialist to help establish a correct diagnosis so treatment can be successfully initiated. Dr. Alan Herskowitz in Kendall has pioneered the use of Botox for trigger point problems that do not respond to the usual routine treatments.
Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.