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Neck stiffness and feeling off balance after unproffesional neck massage

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Hello I’m a 21 years old female and I have been having some health problems. Back in December of 2012 I had a unprofessional “massage” done in my upper neck and after that I started feeling stiffness. In January I went to see a chiropractor which then I felt like it made things worse. I started feeling off balance, a throbbing/shaking feeling in the back of my neck, almost like if I had a heart beat there and I also have neck pain to turn to both sides. There are times when I only have extreme stiffness in my neck and I feel like that presses on my eye nerves and I can’t focus. I have also noticed that it causes blurred vision in my left eye (I have already gone to see my eye doctor), and I also feel like everything sounds really loud in my left ear it almost hurts. I kept going to the chiropractor thinking it would help me but instead it kept making those muscles throb. At one point I felt as if my brain were vibrating but after a few days that went away. Ever since then I’ve had this problem.
However, now I feel like it has extended to my upper back. I feel as if a muscle is moving back and forth in my upper back and I have been having shoulder problems as well. This makes me feel very off balance, dizzy, nausea, and I also feel like I have something pressing against my throat and down through my stomach. Further, I have days where I feel like I have a current of electricity in my legs, or sometimes in my neck. I am currently taking 500mg of magnesium which helped me for a few months, but it didn’t actually take the problem away. Do you think this is something that will keep getting worse? I have gone to see my doctor and two different neurologists. I have gotten MRI’s done on my neck and brain, a test for multiple sclerosis, and an EEG. None of these tests have shown anything. I hope to get an answer soon or if you could recommend some kind of doctor to me I am currently living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Category: Neurologist, Medical

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Category: Pediatric Neurologist
 28 Doctors Online


Thank you for posting your query.

First of all, I would like to reassure you that your symptoms and investigations do not suggest any serious neurological problem. This is because your neurological examination by two neurologists are normal, and MRI of brain and spine have also been normal.

Your symptoms are most likely related to peripheral nervous system involvement. This includes a labyrinthine or vestibular dysfunction, causing dizziness, imbalance, nausea, etc. Involvement of the nerves in the neck could cause neck pain, stiffness, restricted neck movements, pain and sensations down the spine, etc.

As of now, you require symptomatic treatment, including betahistine for relief of dizziness and vertigo, pregabalin or gabapentin to relieve the neuropathic pain, etc.

You would also benefit from physiotherapy, including gait and balance training, vestibular adaptation exercises.

I hope it helps. Please get back if you have any more queries.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant neurologist

Patient replied :

So is the labyrinthine or vestibular dysfunction a separate illness from the muscle movements in my neck? I feel that because of my neck muscles that are moving and shaking they are causing the imbalance that I feel?

Just last week I got a cold and had a lot of congestion. At one point I blew my nose and felt like everything moved which worsened everything. Why could have this worsened my symptoms?

Thank you for getting back with more details.

Neck problem and labyrinthine/vestibular problems are two separate illnesses, but both would contribute to your sense of imbalance and dizziness. so, I agree with you on that aspect.

Cough, cold, and upper respiratory infection are known to worsen vestibular functions, so, your current worsening can be explained.

However, as I mentioned earlier that these are not serious illness and would improve with treatment as advised earlier.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)

Dr. Sudhir Kumar
Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Senior Residency, Fellowship: DM, Neurology, CMC, Vellore, 2001
Junior Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, CMC, Vellore, 1998
Medical School: MBBS, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 1995
Dr. Sudhir Kumar and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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