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Persistent Stiff Neck and Shoulders

Q: About a month ago, I injured my neck and shoulders lifting heavy bundles at my job. Now, I'm constantly stiff and have been experiencing headaches on a daily basis. I've seen a chiropractor, but he hasn't helped. I don't want to have to go on disability. Is there anything else I can do?

Dr. Donnica:
Chiropractors and disability are not your only choices! To begin with, you need a diagnosis. Start by seeing an internist to rule out arthritis and to evaluate the headaches. Ask for a referral for physical therapy. A properly supervised exercise regimen should help with the muscle aches and stiffness. An occupational therapist can also train you to use safe, proper lifting techniques on the job.

Have you tried over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines (e.g. Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, etc.)? Many people avoid these medications thinking they should only take them when they have significant pain. These medications can reduce inflammation and may help your headaches as well. Massage, warm soaking baths, and getting sufficient rest should also help.

Created: 5/1/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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