Thursday, November 26, 2020

The pain in the neck

Can someone or something literally become a "pain in the neck"? 

I have been suffering significant neck pain since March this year.  Now, before I go on, I must say that neck pain is not unusual for me.  It's something I've battled with on and off for years.  So much so that I have a million dollar pillow** to help relieve some of the pressure in the hope I'll wake up feeling somewhat normal each day. 

Anyway, over and above my normal neck problems, I have been suffering a pain in the neck since March. It's been constant and unrelenting.  From my left shoulder, up through the neck and into the base of my skull.  I have restricted movement as a result and it often causes referred headaches.  

It's a real pain in the neck to be frank. 

What has caused my pain in the neck?

Back in March I started to experience some stress over and above the normal Covid-related stressors.  An ongoing and increasingly difficult situation had me feeling extremely vulnerable and on tender hooks.  That stress caused me to tense which in turned caused my neck to seize.  Massages, muscle relaxants and ongoing physio have failed to fix it.  While I get some short term relief, I'm still struggling from the ongoing pain. 

Interestingly enough, the situation that had me on tender hooks has been resolved and life is back to being fabulous again.  So one would think that given I've got rid of the "pain in the neck" situation, I would no longer have a pain in the neck.

I spoke to a cousin last week who is experiencing a similar pain in the neck situation that I had experienced, and she too has ended up with a pain in the neck. So much so, that she can't drive. 

Is it possible that an event or situation we would commonly refer to as a pain in the neck can actually cause a pain in the neck? Is that where the idiom "a pain in the neck" actually comes from?  Are we as a species prone to holding our tension in the neck?

I know, I know. As usual, so many questions and so little time.

According to Google a "pain in the neck" is an idiom meaning an annoying person or situation (both true in my case).  Apparently the saying originated in the USA in the early 1900s.  The Macmillan Dictionary suggests that to be a "pain in the neck" is to be very annoying.  Macmillan says "You can also say be a pain in the bum or arse, but these expressions are impolite".   

I guess I should be grateful that my pain in the neck isn't actually a pain in the arse.  Working, driving, cooking and sleeping is hard enough with a pain in the neck, imagine what it would be like to do those things with an actual pain in the arse! 

No, let's not imagine. 

So what causes neck pain? According to five possible causes might be:

  1. Pinched nerve
  2. Strained muscle or tendon
  3. Some of your joins are worn down
  4. Whiplash
  5. Underlying health condition 
Nowhere does it say that a "pain in the neck" can cause a pain in the neck.  But surely it must?  Surely there is a reason we refer to someone or something as a "pain in the neck"? 

Health Direct does go that step further and suggest that tension can also contribute to neck pain. I know that's kind of a "No shit Sherlock" validation, but validation none-the-less.  A pain in the neck can cause a pain in the neck. 

Anyway, I was wondering - have you ever had a pain in the neck? 

Was it caused by a metaphorical "pain in the neck"?  

Is it possible it's not metaphorical at all and that an annoying situation or person can actually cause a pain in the neck?

Talk to me.

PS: I am off to the doctor this arvo to chat to him about it again because eight months of constant and unrelenting neck pain is really starting to wear me down. 

**Re the million dollar pillow - not actually a million dollars, but it may as well have been. It cost me over $200 ... 

Today is Thursday which means it's the day we really focus on the stuff we love about life.  Check out my fellow bloggers via the Lovin' Life Linky. No matter how many pains in the neck we experience in this world, there's always something to love. Sometimes you've just got to dig a little deeper to find them. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Funnily enough, I have neck issues. It started with pins and needles in my arm. I decided to be a responsible adult and make sure it wasn't a brain tumour or MS...and assumed it was just a disc in my neck causing a nerve issue. As I had no pain, I wasn't really too worried. It has come back as...wait for it...Arthritis. WTAF??? Not entirely sure what to do about it. I'm booked in with a physio and I'm trying to stretch it daily. The fallout from the bloods tho, has raised other issues which is requiring a lot more to do. I am feeling very sorry for myself and all I can say is 'Sucks to be old!'. Good luck at the dr and hope there's a fix in there to erase the pain

    1. I hear you on the sucks to be old...and arthritis. I have it in a few places including my dominant hand (left) two fingers which can hurt big time. And, "I" have learned now to go 'oh yes, arthritis'. Sorry about yours...and you, right now are getting oldER but not old... D

  2. Dear Leanne, yes it is a pain in the neck to have pain in the neck. Mine gets more sore, at the base of the neck at times and it links to....wait for it...using the computer mouse and staying too long at the computer. From time to time I visit a physio. I also was 'rear-ended' in my car 24 years ago and subsequent whiplash area can flare from time to time. There is NO doubt we hold our tension in our neck and head (shoulders too) and it hurts...along with as Lydia says 'arthritis' I don't take anything for the pain because I know that is not a great help. I can apply heat and take measures to relax. All the best. I reckon you have been "holding up" your entire world for some time...Denyse x

  3. Leanne, Good luck at the dr's appointment. I hope there's a fix or relief. 8 months with a pain in the neck is a long time.

  4. Hmmm. Wonder what happened to my previous comment ... I know lots of pains in the neck though thankfully hasn't translated to pain in my neck. Hope yours resolves soon.

  5. My neck and shoulder muscles are always really tight. And yes I think stress can definitely be a factor, not to mention sitting at a computer for far too long!

  6. Sorry to hear about your neck pain Leanne! I can relate because I'm suffering the same thing! I have a million dollar pillow too but it's not doing the job. I need a slimmer/thinner one so will have to go on the hunt again. What has worked for me in the past has been BOWEN THERAPY! You can Google it. The thing is, I can't claim it on my private health insurance anymore. It's been removed, along with Naturopathy, Pilates, and a heap of others. So.Annoying! SO, I haven't had a treatment in ages but I am going to have to book it, pay for it, and go as nothing else helps me. Hope your pain in the neck buggers off soon!

  7. Stress definitely causes tension, pain, headaches, neck aches etc etc. I think we store it in our bodies and it takes a long time to undo the damage. Added to that we tend to sit too much and be on our screens too much - which all make neck pain worse. Good luck with the dr's visit - maybe a cortisone injection is in your immediate future?

  8. Any ongoing issues like yours is so debilitating. I hope your DR can look further into your issues and you can get it resolved. I agree that people or situations can cause headaches, stress etc which affect our general well being. I was in a situation like this before I left work which went on for a few years. I do hope you can get an answer and relief. You can't go on like this.

  9. I hope that your doctor's appointment does go well. I hope it is not serious. It might just be stress related. Hopefully the doctor can help it get better.


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