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Pain migrating throughout neck like a knot in my muscle, swallowing difficulty, tooth numbness

BrianKBBrianK Posts: 1
edited 06/07/2015 - 8:49 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've been searching for something to explain my symptoms and have come up short for some time. I'm hoping somebody here may have some explanation. Forgive the length, but I want to give as thorough a description as possible.

About 4-5 years ago I had what I now believe to be a locked joint at c7/t1. Due to a lack of insurance I did not seek treatment, so the condition lasted for over a year. I wasn't formally diagnosed, so I could be wrong, but my mobility was limited and felt a constant pulling sensation in this location. One evening I was lying on a couch and felt what seemed to be the bones in this location begin to slide against one another. I then felt a loud "clunk" and then instant relief of the pressure.

I thought I felt something else that was strange at the moment but was more surprised and happy with the release of the pressure. Over time I developed a different pulling sensation that migrated around the entirety of my neck. That has existed now for about 3 years. It affects my whole neck depending on my body position. Sometimes it feels like it is rolling around throughout the whole front of my neck. At these times it greatly affects my swallowing, to the extent it sometimes feels like I'm swallowing my own neck bones.

Other times the pulling feeling settles higher up in the back of my throat, where it pulls in the area where one might commonly feel a sore throat behind the Adam's apple, or where it is you might "hock a loogie," or even somehow behind my nose. It can also run along the roof of my mouth and cause my two upper front teeth to feel numb. This numbness only occurs when the pulling is situated higher up in the back of my throat.

I've had little to no numbness or weakness in my upper extremities. The only weakness I've experienced is one incident in which I was walking and I was having the difficulty swallowing. I began to manipulate my Adam's apple area with my fingers. I slid it back and forth a little to relieve pressure and felt a strong shock in my neck. A few seconds later I felt tingling over my buttocks and legs, and the strength in my legs faded out and I nearly collapsed. I had to lean against a wall for a few seconds, and then all the strength came back. This was a solitary incident about 5 months ago and has not recurred.

I tried chiropractic treatment with little success. I went to a GP six months ago, and initially he told me it was muscle spasms. Went back after weeks of muscle relaxers with no success. Had an mri and he said I have a protruding disc and sent me to spinal surgeon. Met with spinal PA who said my c5c6 is herniated. Went through several weeks of PT and traction. This would help mildly for a day or so, but symptoms would always come back full strength.

Then I had an injection, and I knew by the time the local wore off that it didn't work at all. PA said I had to wait for it to work, but I knew it wouldn't. I was right, and went back to see her after a couple weeks. About five seconds after I came in and said it didn't work, she said surgeon looked at mri said to sign me up for fusion surgery.

I am not convinced the herniated disc is the cause of my problem. I've read many accounts of people having herniated discs with no symptoms. Everyone I've seen has told me a disc problem in that location would not cause my legs to go out. I've never seen tooth numbness as a symptom of a disc problem. I'm not getting this surgery unless I'm 100% certain the disc is the problem, and I am nowhere near that.

But I have no idea what else the problem could be. Recently I've discovered that lightly clenching my teeth can greatly limit the moving knot sensation I feel, so I've been wearing a mouth guard. It limits the pulling, but it still feels like it wants to pull against the resistance of the mouth guard. This leads me to believe the problem is somehow muscular or soft tissue. Is it possible that a muscle or some scar tissue got twisted up when things "clunked" back into place a few years ago? If that's the case, how do I convince a doctor? What could treat it? It seems nobody wants to believe me when I doubt that the disc is the problem. How could I go about diagnosing something else'? Are there different tests I could suggest that could help?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,699
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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