Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Back Pain Forum

back spasms, stiff neck, clicking in upper back - arthritis?

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Hi I'm new to this forum and I've got a question regarding a back pain issue I've been having for almost a year now. I am 21 years old and I do not have insurance so I have been putting off going to a doctor. The pain started one day last January after I moved into my apartment. It is possible that I may have injured myself by pushing a heavy box with my foot. The day after moving in I had terrible muscle spasms in my back, but they went away after a few hours and ever since that day I have had a clicking sound in my upper back when I walk and my neck is always really stiff. I have searched the internet for answers and the best conclusion I came up with is spinal arthritis because a lot of the symptoms seem to match, but I am not sure that arthritis would explain the muscle spasms that I had that day. I am definitely going to a doc as soon as I can, but until then it would really help me out to know other opinions on this because I'm really quite anxious about it.
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replied December 2nd, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Jchartr,

Welcome to this forum!!!

Yes, you may not have insurance, however, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the worse the condition may get, and the more expensive it may be to correct the problem.

SOOOooooo, PLEASE go to a medical doctor and preferably to a neurosurgeon or spine surgeon. A specialist is much more knowledgeable about back pain. Do not delay!!

I wish you well, and do let us know how things go for you.

Take care.

RichT
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replied December 2nd, 2007
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I won't be able to go to a doctor for at least another month and I'm curious if anyone knows what else could possibly cause these symptoms. Other symptoms I have had that lead me to believe it is arthritis are numbness in the arms and lower back, pain in the ankles, and other than the stiffness of my neck it is also very tender and massaging it actually causes pain.
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replied December 3rd, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Jchartr,

I am not a doctor, however, from your description of "Numbness in the arms and lower back" is more serious than having arthritis. PLEASE, for your sake try very hard to see a neurologist without delay. I'm very concerned that you may have a pinched nerve.

May I suggest that you see if there is a medical clinic in your area where you can go to receive medical care that does not charge for its services.

RichT
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replied December 3rd, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
I am not so sure about arthritis. You began having pain the day after you moved house, you suspect you may have injured yourself while doing this, and you are only 21, you know your symptoms better than me, however what you describe could be many things, a serious investigation from a specialist such as an mri or even just an xray (MRI is much better but more expensive) could confirm whether you have arthritis or other serious condition such as bulging or ruptured disks, however sometimes x rays and MRI's dont reveal anything, in this case it could be possible that you have misaligned some of your vertebra when you moved house. I hope that you will be able to see a doctor soon .
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replied December 3rd, 2007
Thanks, I hope I can see a doctor soon too. I am just so worried about paying all that money that I don't have to get x-rays or an mri and then only to be told that the doctor's can't find anything. I know I need to have it done anyway because there is a serious chance that they will find something, but there is always that "what if" in the back of my mind. Hopefully my parents will start to understand the seriousness of the situation after I tell them what you all have said. My dad has always had problems with his back and neck and he just "deals with it" but the fact that he's got similar problems makes me think that it could be something hereditary like arthritis which is no fun to just deal with. Plus the fact that it could definitely be something more serious than arthritis is scary and I don't want to ignore it.
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replied December 5th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Jchartr,

I applaud you for thinking beyond the financial issue, for waiting will most likely only make things worse. You are very wise to put yourself and your health first.

Take care, I wish you the best. Stay in touch.

RichT
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replied February 4th, 2008
update
I went to the health center at my school and they gave me x-rays which didn't show anything, as I suspected, and the doctor said that the pain I'm having may be a muscular/ postural problem and gave me some exercises to do. I've been doing them for about 3 weeks and I haven't seen any improvement but I'm sure it will take a while.
I didn't mention this in my original post, but sometimes I experience clicking and pain in my hip that is pretty severe and that is actually one of the reasons I suspected I might have ankylosing spondylitis. The hip pain is less frequent than the neck pain, but it is a lot worse because I have to stop walking when it hits and sit down. Today I tried to work out on an exercise bike and I couldnt do more than 5 minutes because of it. I'm geting so depressed about this.
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replied February 4th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Jchartr,

To put it very "up front" - get yourself to a neurologist/spine surgeon. X-rays only show bone structure at best. I am not a doctor, however, in my humble opinion you need to have an MRI.

Search out the best spine specialist you can find (and I do mean a doctor with "M.D" in back of his/her name). Talk with people you know and find out which spine specialist they held in high regard, and which ones they did not like. If you are in an area with a professional sports team, give their office a call and find out the neurologist/spinal doctor they use for their players.

And sbout exercises - The ONLY way in my opinion that you should do exercises is under the guidance of a physical therapist. A PT will show you how to do the exercises and WATCH you do them in their facility. Even with that careful guidance, I wonder how many times I went home and did the exercises directed by my PT, only to find out at the next session I was not doing them correctly. Too many times.

I'm going to have all the GP and PCP docs down my back, but that's okay. I go to my GP for my yearly physical and when I have a cold or flu. That is IT!!!! For anything else I go to a specialist. Our bodies are why to complex for a GP to know everything in detail.

I hope you and others get the "message" in the above paragraph.

RichT
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replied March 4th, 2008
hi jchrtr1, was wondering if you got any answers. I've been having almost the same problems and thought it was the ankylosing spondilitis. I hadn't heard of it from many people, and when i saw you had it on here with the same symptoms as me, was surprised! i've spent so much money on all this and no answers yet. They think right now that i just have back spasms, and are putting me on a muscle relaxer. But i still have the clicking sound and it started out of now where like 7 months ago. Plus i ahve the difficulty breathing at times. And i'm only 28. I've been so so many doctors related to this. Plus i was having swelling of my lip and feet and hands. I think that may have been separate from all this. But prior to all these problems, i was 100% healthy. Only went to the doctor for my yearly exams. I don't know how at our age, that things could go so wrong so fast! Let me know if you ahve had any answers.
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replied March 9th, 2008
Did you have an mri done? I really want to get one done but I'm struggling to even pay rent right now and don't have insurance so that's kind of impossible for me. I'm supposed to have more blood tests done soon to rule out lupus, did you have anything like that done? I've found that neck excercises help some but it's such a slow process that it's a little bit discouraging..I stopped doing them for a while and noticed the pain came back a lot worse so I make sure to do them every day now.
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replied November 30th, 2011
Hi I have been having similar back problems
To you , one of my discs went in my lower back
And now my upper back is very stiff and my neck
Keeps sticking and I also get a pain like an electric
Shock that goes from my neck down to inbetween
My shoulder blades , I also think this could
Be arthritis, I also have the hip problem but
I'm not sure if this is clicking hip syndrome ,
If you do have arthritis you need to get it diagnosed
This can be done with a blood test tell the doctor
What you think is wrong and stick with the exercises
They should help especially if you have A S
Good luck
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