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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 5431
Experience:  Neurology & Int Medicine (US Trained): 20 yrs experience
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My husband went to a chiropractor for shoulder pain that lasted

Resolved Question:

My husband went to a chiropractor for shoulder pain that lasted several months. During the treatment in August he stretched his neck. A couple of hours later my husband experienced a very strong headache and ended up in hospital where they carried out a scan and an x-ray to the neck. They told us he hadn't suffered a stroke and there was no neck injury. After waiting for months he got to see a consultant for his shoulder pain, which has since left. However, my husband has had a headache every since his visit to the chirorpractor. The consultant said the vertebrae in my husband's neck were 'swollen' but recommended he see a neurologist for the headache. We now have a letter offering a consultation end of March... We will ask to be referred to a private neurologist. We are very worried. The medicines they offer us have counter-indications for users of lythium. We don't know how to manage the pain, and are extremely worried. Can you help? what is the relationship between the pulling of the neck and the headache? Why isn't there a quicker more co-ordinated approach?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Bob :

Hi there. Can you describe where your husband's headaches are located? Do they come and go? Do they affect him every day?

Customer:

The headache is constant. It comes over from the neck to the top of the head and to the side of the face. It gets very strong in the early morning at about 4.00 am. He then gets up, drinks coffee and the headache becomes less strong. He says it feels as though he is wearing a helmet. During the day the headache lodges on the top. The neck also hurts, but the pain is less intensive than headache.

Dr. Bob :

Does the pain on the side of the face affect the eye at all?

Customer:

No.

Dr. Bob :

Hello. Sorry I missed you. Your husband may have suffered an injury to his occipital nerve. This is a nerve that comes off the upper neck (1 on each side) and supplies sensation to the upper neck and back of the head all the way to ear and the the very top of the head. When this nerve is injured or inflammed it can cause frequent headaches similar to what you describe.

Dr. Bob :

This condition may be treated with acupuncture, occupational therapy, naprapathic treament, massage, yoga, physical therapy, rest and heat.

Dr. Bob :

Medications used in the treatmenet of occipital neuralgia include anti- inflammatory medications, anti- convulsant medication, antidepressant medication, opioids and nonopioid analgesiacs and sometimes migraine meds.

Dr. Bob :

Alternatives to medications include local nerve blocks, rhizotomy, or phenol injections to deaden the nerve.

Dr. Bob :

A neurologist or pain management specialist will typically manage this condition.

Customer:

Thank you. This is very helpful information which will help us when we see a consultant, particularly as we now know there are various medicine options and treatments. I have one more question: how long does it take for an injured nerve to recover? Does it recover? Are there any vitamins or nutritional substances that assist recovery? Any local creams? My husband is doing neck exercises. Is this good?

Dr. Bob :

Nerves can repair themselves and regenerate but they do so very slowly. It can take 6 months or more, particularly if there is ongoing irritation or injury of some sort...and it is very hard to rest the neck because it holds the head up all day.

Dr. Bob :

Recovery may be aided by taking a B-complex vitamin daily. Creams that might help include Aspercreme and Zostrix, both available OTC. Gentle neck stretching daily is generally helpful, though this should ideally be done under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Dr. Bob :

Let me know if you have any follow up questions about this. If not, a positive rating would be appreciated. Hope your husband gets some relief soon.

Customer:

Thank you again for your diagnosis and advice and for giving us some hope. I am really glad I posted my question. I w

Customer:

I will certainly give you a positive rating. All the very best.

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