Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Odd throat and back symptoms, no insurance, income, how do I proceed?

Posted In: Medical Stories 2 Replies
  • Posted By: Hinterland
  • March 27, 2011
  • 06:49 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm a guy in my 30s. For the past few months, I've had some disturbing symptoms and I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. At first I began feeling a tingling in my back and my shoulders, which was kinda odd, but I wasn't too overly concerned. At around the same time, I noticed a small rise at the back of my neck, but since I've never paid attention before, it's probably just my actual spine, it's not fat, but the actual bone, but then that disappeared.

Then this morphed into, a constricting and painful throat, making it difficult to breathe or concentrate and making it feel like I have a tight necktie around my neck if anything such as a shirt or anything touches the neck. The muscles are also tense during this time. And, my neck feels strange and "rubbery". And, this vacillates between this constricting feeling, and when that disappears, I get the tingling in the back and shoulders again.
Also when my throat constricts, my voice goes hoarse, so I know this is not simply my imagination. Also a few mornings, I have coughed up "phlegm" but no blood, even though I do not have cold or flu symptoms. But again, not always.

Yet, when I'm concentrating on something else, the symptoms alleviate, or if I'm eating a meal, the problem seems to disappear. Whenever I google this, 9 out of 10, the result is classic symptoms of anxiety, and I have reason to be anxious. I lost my job two years ago after suffering ill health in my lower joints (ankles), I've run out of unemployment insurance, and I am living with family and it's a very tense situation, and I have zero income, and yet I have had WAY more stress than this, and it never manifested physically like this, even though I would like to believe this is simple anxiety. And, I am not "panicking" when these symptoms occur, they have occurred, which then yes, exacerbates upon itself and makes the symptoms worse.

When I wake up in the morning, I just feel "off" like something is worryingly wrong, it's hard to explain. Sometimes I feel a lump at the bottom of my throat, or sometimes not. Sometimes I feel a presence in my upper chest, sometimes not. Although of recent, the symptoms have begun to get *some* better, such as the constricting of the throat, and it is easier when things lie on my neck, but not always. Also after exercise the symptoms alleviate, but only afterwards, not during. They never disappear completely though.

I'm very fearful it is a possible thyroid condition, as I have always struggled with my weight and not been THAT much of an eater, yet my metabolism seems to be normal for me right now, if not a little bit fast. I'm eating about 1500 a day and losing about a lb a day right now, give or take, which is fast for me. Sometimes this varies. So it would seem my thyoid has not collapsed, but I'm still at a loss. And, I don't have a "buffalo hump" of fat as in Cushings, I believe that is my spine, I'm feeling as I'm losing the weight. I currently weigh in the 260s.

I did however measure myself a half inch shorter recently, so slipped disc?
Going from 5'11" to 5'10.5". Not much, but odd.

So I'm really stumped, and I know it's most likely anxiety, and that self-diagnosis is never a good idea. So I dunno if I'm being a hypochondriac, or if something is really wrong, but I would like to rule out Thyroid or Cushings, and make sure it's not something grave like cancer.

But as I said, I'm in California, and I lost my job two years ago and my health insurance. I have no cover whatsoever and no income at all. Plus, even though my throat tightens, this is not an "acute emergency", I'm not going to keel over any second, but I DO want to get it checked out, esp. if it's cancer, but I can't just walk into an ER and see an endo or something.

So help? What can I do to get this checked out? I feel really screwed at the moment. I just can't keep living my life this way. I know there's county hospitals and MISP, but basically when I looked up the qualifications for Medi-Cal, you have to be a newly arrived immigrant, a pregnant woman, or blind or have kidney problems. I have none of that, so....help, lol.

I can't really go to an ER with this, what do I do? Thanks for any advice on getting this checked out or anyone with similar symptoms or circumstances.

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2 Replies:

  • It does sound like anxiety from many different things you put in your post eg feeling better AFTER exercise. Exercising can help those with anxiety. The fact too that your symptoms improve when you are focused on something else. If a cancer caused lump at back of neck it wouldnt disappear!. Im thinking that either anxiety is making you imagine prominant lumps or your back/neck is out a bit. Going to see a good chiropractor may help this. Back/neck out.. can affect the body in other ways and can cause issues such as pain, headaches and/or anxiety. If I had the symptoms you do right now, I'd be heading to chiropractor to see if that fixes it all, the other option is going to see a doctor who may unnecessary put you on anti anxiety drugs for life when it could be to do with your back/neck. (I suggest to ring a chiropractor and ask if neck/back being out can affect voice? possibly anxiety thou can). (To find a good chiropractor.. ask around and your friends.. half of them are crap so try to get a recommendation on who to see. I suggest to also avoid ones who say it may take 10 sessions... with a good one, one will usually see results after the first 1-2 sessions and each session notice improvement).
    taniaaust1 2,267 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks, well that does give me an idea. I haven't given a chiropractor proper thought before.But as a said I need to rule out more serious problems like cancer or thyroid disease first. And, I don't have any insurance or income. Do you or anyone have ANY ideas about how to go about getting this checked out? Can't really pay for chiropractic care atm. It's not enough of an emergency to justify the ER, but I want x-rays done, it's very disconcerting and I feel very off and like something's just wrong.
    Hinterland 1 Replies Flag this Response
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