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Rapid muscle spasms in sides of neck near jugular arteries

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Hello, I'm Katie, 17, a competitive swimmer, strong athlete, no drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. History of leukopenia. Otherwise healthy.

So I have had what I believe to be irregular heartbeats since the beginning of this junior year in high school, and it happened one day out of the blue during a swim practice. Ever since then, I may have a slight flutter, or "flopping", daily or every other day. Normally, it doesn't bother me too badly, and I believe it's mostly stress and sleep related, and also may be due to lack of proper proteins/nutrients/minerals/electrolytes, etc (I am somewhat prone to dehydration and am a bit deficient in potassium and iron). However, lately a number of health issues have come up, none of which I have really gotten checked for unfortunately, but have grown to be an annoyance. For a few weeks now, I have been having frequent headaches, one every day (the time of day varies), and I usually take care of that with one ibuprofen or Advil pill when it becomes too much to ignore. Then a few days ago, my ear suddenly "freaked" out on me (please excuse my teen language). I'm fairly knowledgeable in the medical area, and I think the symptoms I am having match up with tinnitus, pulsating tinnitus to be specific. My left ear has a constant "whooshing" sound of rushing blood that matches the rhythm of my heartbeat. It is so loud and bothersome that I hardly slept an hour the first night. After the first night that it happened, I suppose I got used to the sound and now I am able to sleep somewhat peacefully. This has happened once before, about a year or two ago, but I remember it going away in about three or four days. It has now been five and it still persists. Now, to pile on top of that, yesterday, I had a series of odd muscle spasms/twitches in the side of my neck, near the jugular artery right beside the collar bone. Usually when I have muscle twitches in my arms or legs, they go away in a mere second or two. However, the one in my neck lasted about 10 to 15 seconds, and I rested my finger on the area and I could feel it twitching persistently. The odd thing is, it felt to be around the same strength as my pulse, so for a moment I thought I was having a very bad case of the irregular heartbeats. I THINK it is just a muscle spasm...but now I'm not so sure. It happens on both sides, and has happened many times since the first time yesterday. In addition, I have been experiencing sharp, quick pains from the same area. These usually last for about a minute or so, and the sharp pains are very inconsistent in regards to intervals. It seems to shoot pain in random intervals, but it is very painful. I have a high pain tolerance, but that even made me wince.
I'm sorry for the essay of an explanation, but I cannot afford a visit to my doctor at the present time, and I was wondering if someone could help me decide whether a check with the doctor is absolutely necessary, or if these four symptoms are most likely unrelated and just the cause of stress and lack of sleep. I have been stressed with grades lately, but otherwise I do not recall anything troubling me all too greatly.
Thank you very much for your time. I hope somebody may have some answers.
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replied April 14th, 2011
Experienced User
If it doesn't get better, you may need to see a physician. One thing you might try in the meantime is Magnesium. Magnesium relaxes muscles and can calm twitching.
Oral supplements, or Epsom Salts in a hot bath might do the trick.
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replied April 14th, 2011
Thank you, I will try that. My swim practices might be straining my muscles too. Thanks for the tip!
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replied February 6th, 2012
Tietze syndrome spasm in the neck muscles seeing stars
I have the same condition plus tietze syndrome. Male, 28 years old. The spasm takes about 5-10 seconds. I also see stars occasionally.My left ear also (occasionally also my right ear) has a constant "whooshing" sound of rushing blood that matches the rhythm of my heartbeat. These symptoms have developed after I was diagnosed with tietze syndrome which is inflammation of cartilage of the 2nd rib where it connects to the breast bone. The doctors cant really find anything which makes me quite frustrated. I have been trying some relaxation methods and have visited a chiropractician who was partially helpful. Anyways wish you the best, hope you get better soon.
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replied February 6th, 2012
Oh yes, I visited my chiropractor as well and he was able to ease some of the tension that constricted my chest, diaphragm, upper back and neck, and that has helped a lot. I've never seen stars but your description is similar to mine. Mainly though, I've taught myself to stress less and allow myself to not worry about every little thing, and like you say, just relax. So many illness and symptoms and such are partially psychological these days. Thank you for your help!!
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