Go to the doctor or put it off a bit longer?

First off, excuse any rambling or typos, for I’ve taken some muscle relaxers.

A few weeks ago, and I can pin point it to the hour, I noticed a tweak in my neck. Turning my neck to one side or the other kinda hurts, looking up was fine, looking down (chin to chest) was painful. This was on August 1st. Nothing specific happened that I can recall, but I do remember it not bugging me, then an hour later I was rubbing it wondering what I did. Fast forward to last Thursday, I finally called the doctor and asked for a refill on some Soma he gave me which did a great job of clearing up a back issue I had in my back. So, that was Thursday, today is Sunday and there’s no change. With my back, it took three days of Soma and I was good to go. So far, I’ve had two weeks unmedicated plus 4 days with meds (or however the math works out) and it’s still bugging me like the day it started.

So, do I call the doc on Monday and try to get in? My fear is that it’ll take a week or two to get in, it’ll be a muscle strain that’ll clear up by then and I’ll be out $150 for him to say it’s nothing. My ‘hope’ is that I’ll get in that day, it’ll be something minor like a muscle strain and he’ll say “We’ll the Soma didn’t work, here’s some Klonapin and that should work better/Vicodin to deal with it until it releases and it should take another week or two with some ice”.

I’ve got enough Soma for another three days so I could just finish it off and see what happens (either due to the Soma or just the extra time), but of course, that means if I have to make an appointment, it’s three days further out then if I call now.

Also, the pain isn’t ‘radiating’ anywhere that I can tell, so I don’t think it’s a disc or nerve issue, so that’s good. But if it’s a muscle thing, wouldn’t it have at least started to get better over the last two weeks? It still feels exactly the same as it it did the day it started.

Also, in case anyone wants to give me an armchair diagnosis. It hurts a bit to look left or right, it’s painful to look down. The pain is in lower middle part of my neck to the right of my spine (but ‘part’ of it). When I look down, I can feel the pain ‘pulling’ further down an inch or so, so I’m guessing it’s muscle related. Also, as I said above, there’s no radiating or tingling associated with it so I don’t think it’s a disc issue. So I’m hoping he doesn’t order any radiography.
When my back was bugging me a few years ago he said he could feel a muscle that was strained but hadn’t ‘released’, but the Soma did the trick in a few days. Right now, I’m on the forth day of Soma and even with the meds in full tilt, it’s still hurting.

So, call the Doc on Monday or chalk it up to a muscle strain and give it more then 12 days to heal…but again, should it at least be starting to feel better?

I can’t give you any medical advice (IANAD and all that rot) but why not make the appointment. If you’re better in a few days then just cancel the appt.

Have you spent a lot of time out doors in the past six weeks? Have you felt like you’ve had the flu recently? I ask because how you describe your neck pain is pretty close to how my neck felt until the antibiotics I took last summer really started working after I contracted lyme disease. Neck pain is a common symptom and almost half of people never get a rash…

Also, I should add that I CAN look down, it’s just annoying and painful, it’s not that it’s impossible. It’s not that I’m sitting here wondering if I broke my neck. And I feel I should reiterate, I specifically remember it NOT hurting and then an hour later rubbing my neck wondering why it was hurting and I know I didn’t do anything odd during that time. We caught a shoplifter at work and it wasn’t bugging me then, but by the time the cops got there I was bugging me, that’s why it stands out. During that time, I didn’t lift anything, I didn’t move anything, I didn’t do anything that makes me say “Oh, that’s what it was, I’ll just wait this out”.

I’ve only seen my current doctor one time and it was for “Lower back pain” and I’d hate to have ‘drug seeker’ on my file. I HATED my last doctor, hadn’t seen him in probably 10 years and figured this (the back pain two years ago) was a good time to switch. When I made the appointment, they said (seemingly scripted for lower back pain new patients) “I need to let you know that Dr ____ doesn’t prescribe narcotics on the first visit and if you break the appointment he won’t see you again” I’m not sure if that was just for him, or if it was something they say for all new patients in his group (which probably has hundreds of GPs). Either way, I’d hate to have my file say that I saw him for LBP two years ago and then broke an appointment for neck pain now after he called in a muscle relaxant now.
If that makes sense.

I thought about that. Feel totally healthy other then this pain in my neck. I’m guessing it’s just an odd muscle strain, but like I said, you’d think after 12 days (and 4 days on a muscle relaxer) it would at least be starting to feel better. But it’s no better (or worse for that matter).

You could have what some people refer to as a “pinched nerve.” Have you tried anything other than the Soma? I think using ice or heat and some OTC anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen could be helpful for you. Of course, IANAD, but I occasionally got pretty bad neck pain and stiffness when I did a lot of keyboarding, and my doctor prescribed 800 mg of ibuprofen (yes, that’s twice the recommended dose), ice, and rest. It took a few days but worked when muscle relaxants didn’t, I assume because the pain was caused by impingement of a nerve and resulting inflammation rather than a muscle injury.

Obviously that’s a high dose of ibuprofen and you shouldn’t try this if you have any contraindications to anti-inflammatory use like a history of ulcers, etc.

I meant to mention earlier that I can’t take NSAIDs. I used to take tons of them (800mg of ibuprofen several times a day) with no problems. But now, even a single Advil will give me heartburn so bad it’ll wake me up in the middle of the night with pain radiating trough my chest and my asthma kicking in.
Also, Tylenol (which I just happened to take for a headache) did nothing for the pain.
I keep forgetting to try putting ice or heat on it.

This is just my opinion but ANY pain in your neck that hasn’t resolved itself relatively quickly sould be a sign to go to the doctor. A few weeks ago is WAY beyond relatively quickly.
Am I being overly cautious? Mabe, but it’s your NECK! It’s not your big toe!