Pain at the back of my head and down the neck Pain at the back of my head and down the neck

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Thread: Pain at the back of my head and down the neck

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
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    34

    Default Pain at the back of my head and down the neck

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    Hi everyone,
    Three days ago, when I failed my fifth rep of the third set on my overhead presses, I felt an intense pain at the back of my head, right at the base. I also had some lightheadedness at the same time. Unfortunately this wasn't recorded on video.
    The pain started right when I racked the bar, if I remember correctly. It lasted some 20-30 seconds and then reduced quite a bit.
    I took some water and did the fifth rep again, no major pain. Also finished my pulls for the day, again no noticeable pain.

    However, yesterday and today during my warmups for the squat, I get the same pain right when I come up out of the bottom or when I have finished a rep. Today the pain was a bit worse as I increased the weight. After about a minute the pain reduces substantially but radiates into my head a bit.
    I am completely pain free as I go about my daily activities.

    How long do you think I should rest for this to go away? Is an MRI required?

    Thanks for reading this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    2,201

    Default

    Itís time to make an appointment at a trustworthy Chiropractorís office. They deal with this quickly and efficiently.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Thanks Will, I honestly have no clue what that is. It seems to be unpopular in India. Saw some youtube videos, it looks like a painful massage? The sounds are certainly unique
    In the meanwhile, I had a video consult with an anasthetist, who now specializes in spine pain management. Based on my description, she says it is most likely occipital neuralgia.
    The root cause (in her opinion) could be a hard contraction of the trapezius muscle that irritated the occipital nerve.
    Told me to rest for a week and take NSAIDs.
    I think the diagnosis makes sense, I must have looked up hard in the OHP. What do you think?
    I also tried some really light power cleans (65lbs) on day 3 after the injury, and on the second set I felt this pain again.
    This time some dull pain lingered on, for two-three hours, on the left side only.
    How long do you think I should sit on my ass? Also, should I restart with the Fives (NLP)? Any particular lift that I should or should not do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Olympia, WA
    Posts
    2,201

    Default

    Occipital Neuralgia = umbrella term for pain at the base of the occiput with some radiation of symptoms.

    The problem with such a specific diagnosis is that there is no way to really determine for sure that the occipital nerves are actually irritated. Also, I'd question the proposed etiology of the injury. Your traps contract forcefully all the time without irritating the nerves at the base of the occiput. For you, it is probably best identified as myofascial pain or facet joint dysfunction, but an actual physical exam would be able to better elicit the actual pain generator.

    I am not a fan of taking a lay-off from training, except in extreme circumstances. If you take a lay-off every time something hurts, you will never be in the gym for more than a couple days. You should keep doing what you were doing prior to the injury, and just make sure that you aren't doing weird stuff with your neck during the lifts. Keeping your cervical spine in neutral during the lifts will not injure it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Thanks for the clarification, Will!
    Just a small update for someone searching the forum: the injury healed up by itself in a week or so.
    Due to the COVID situation in India, I could not go to the doctor or a massage therapist for a physical examination.
    I just took NSAIDS for 3 days. I also had a ton of work coincidentally, in the week following the injury so I could not train anyway.
    Overall, about 7 days of not going anywhere near a barbell fixed it. In hindsight, I agree with what Will advises above: the backoff is probably unnecessary.
    Thanks again for running this forum!

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