I was hoping someone could help me out. I have had pain whenever I bend my head back for about three weeks now. Multiple doctors insist it is not a disc problem, but a muscle (trapezius) strain and though the pain has gotten better, it's still there. Shouldn't a strain be healed by three weeks?
Here is my entire history with this problem.
2-3 months before the injury:
I cycled and worked out regularly. My workouts involved no weights, only body movements (pushups, theraband exercises, planks, etc). In this 2-3 month time period, I felt that while doing a pushup or plank, it would seem that my upper left trap was carrying most of the boy weight on that side. In other words, I felt like I couldn't keep my scapula down while in a plank formation and thus was putting all my body weight onto my upper trap.
I took a month off working out starting in July due to traveling. On August 12 (again, about a month since I had last worked out) I was doing some foam roller stretches before going to bed and felt a pull in my trapezius. The injury occurred when I was holding my body up with both hands planted firmly on the floor and using my arms to roll my calfs over the foam roller. In other words, I was at a 90 degree angle - hands, arms, and upper body straight - legs running horizontal to the ground.
While rolling my calves over the foam roller, I felt a little pull in my left trapezius muscle a little left of my spine and right above the inner corner of my shoulder blade.
It wasn't too painful, but it did feel like a pulled muscle. I went to bed and slept with no problems. The next day my neck was tender in the area and it only bothered me when I tilted my head back. I figured it would be gone in a few days.
3 days after injury - It still hurt to move my head back in extension (looking up to the ceiling). When I would try to do so, I would get a sharp pain right in my trap where I felt the pull.
4 days after injury - I woke up expecting the pain to be gone (as most of my other muscle pulls resolved in about 4 days), but when I extended my head, the pain was still there. The sharp pain stopped me from moving my head all the way back. I started feeling around on my trap and begun to notice that I could achieve full range of extension if I pressed on the area of my trap where I felt the pull and tilted my head back. However, if I just tilted my head back without pressing on my tarp I would get sharp pain.
7 days after injury - upon touch the area was no longer tender, but I still would get a sharp pain while extending my head. With the exception of pressing ******n the injured area, the sharp pain was still there when I extended my head.
That entire day I almost obsessively kept tilting my head back, testing my range of motion. As I kept doing it, my entire left shoulder started to ache, and then the top of my left triceps and my forearm. I got terrified that this was a disc issue and I drove to the ER.
At the ER, the doctor took an x-ray (results: vertebrae looked fine. Good space between the bones, no spurs, etc). He also did a lot of movement and range of motion tests. He tested for muscular weakness, pressed all over my spine, ect. His diagnosis was a trapezius strain and gave me a strong anti-inflammatory.
The ER doc said to follow up with my family doctor if I didn't feel better in a week. A week later I went to my family doctor. I still had the pain when bending my head back, but now I had greater range of motion before I would feel the sharp pain, and it wasn't as sharp. My family doc did range or motion tests on me and he thought it was also a strain. He noted I had bad posture and said physical therapy could be helpful.
A day later I went to a physical therapist. She also thought it is a strain. She noted that my left shoulder hung lower than my right and started me on upper trap, mid trap exercises along with serratus anterior exercises. She also had me start pec stretches. It' doesn't hurt me to do any of the exercises.
A day after that I went to a chiropractor and they also though it was a bad strain. I didn't have them do an adjustment because I didn't want to inflame the area.
My frustration is everyone thinks its a strain, but it's been 19 days since the injury and I still get pain when I tilt my head back. Granted, I can tilt my head back much further with sharp pain and my shoulder and arm only hurt (dull ache) in the morning when I wake up and start moving around or when I sit there and test my neck extension all day long, but... don't most muscle strains heal in two weeks? If it is a strain, why hasn't mine healed yet? There was no bruising when I had the injury so it can't be that bad of a strain.
Other info: I'm male, 33. I don't have any pins and needles feelings or electric sensations in my arms or hands. I sleep through the night just fine. As I said, it bothers me most in the morning when I first wake up and also when I go on walks. Sitting and lying down produce no pain unless I force head extension to the fullest. I can lift my arm and move it in any direction without pain. Shoulder shrugging produces no pain.
Bottom line: I'm worried its a nerve/disc issue. I'm worried that my "strain" hasn't healed yet and don't understand why I still have pain at extreme extension of the neck that travels to my shoulder and triceps when I force my neck back. All the information I find online says muscle strains heal in two weeks. Should I see another doctor?
I'm very grateful for any replies.