Muscles causing nerve pain

Sorry gang but I just need to get some of this off my chest so please bear with me.

After a good several months stint of being pain free, it came back on me again last week. I was getting a little tender and had a small episode then while at the Chiropractor for a pinched nerve in my back he also adjust my neck, popping C1 and C2. I almost immediately went into a spasm and have had it rough for almost 5 days since.

However I have been noticing that when I start hurting my muscles around my face and neck are constricting and tightening up. I have noticed that before but not sure if the muscle contraction was causing the nerve pain or being caused by the nerve pain? I have asked the Dr.'s before and they all say it was the pain causing the muscles to tighten up. What if its not? When I started clinching over the past several days I have been jumping into a hot shower letting the heat and water pound across my face. It doesn't stop the pain immediately but the pain eventually subsides as the muscles relax. The day before yesterday I started applying a hot pack to the back of neck and across my forehead throughout the day and it seems to be helping. Sunday I was spasming about once every 1.5 hours and yesterday I spasmed 3 times throughout the entire day. Today I am writing this around lunchtime and I haven't spasmed yet today.

I also went back to the Chiro yesterday (Monday) for an xray and he found that C1 was a little out of alignment. I went ahead and let him work on my neck again as well. He did a minor adjustment without any immediate pain. I spasmed about 2 hours after I left his office yesterday.

I guess what I am getting to here is how much of this is random and how much of this could be caused by bad spine alignment and muscles? Maybe even a pinched nerve in there somewhere instead of a blood vessel being wrapped around a nerve? I work on computers daily for multiple hours through out the day (for the past 20 years) so as you can guess my posture definitely leaves a lot to be desired. Could this be another example of computers ruining our lives?

I don't know what I am going to do at this point but just wanted to write this down and get it out there. I am thinking about starting back up with the Neurologist and seriously investigating the gamma knife. Ill be damned if I let them cut me open so they can probe around but I might attempt the gamma.

Anyway thanks for listening...Mitch

atn is atypical fave pain and usually they cannot tell the cause. Have you had an MRI and did it show the nerve touching something?

I have been told over and over the neck nreves are not connected and so a neck adjustment won’t cause it. It can and for me does cause an attack due tk increased blood flow to the face and nerve.

The doctors believe that my atn is caused by calcified tissue in my face cause by blunt force trauma years ago. For what ever reason, my nerve by the tissue inflames and hits the calcified tissue and bam.

But I wonder about your theory too. The first TN episode happened right acter I finished law school and while I was studying 16 hours a day for bar. My neck and back was a mess!!!

I was in remission for three years and then after the most intense three months in my law practice and 16 hour days in a chair… Bam.

My TN is caused my an artery rubbing against the fifth cranial nerve, wearing down the myelin sheath (protective skin) on the nerve. (An MVD procedure puts a piece of Teflon felt between the artery and nerve, blocking that contact)That nerve turns into the trigeminal nerve behind the ear, then, of course it can go any of three routes from there.
I have it on both sides, so, I’ve had the MVD on left, waiting for it on my right.
The heat is always what I go forwhile I’m having an attack. I don’t know why it works but it does, it must calm down the nerve.
Also, there is a procedure chiropractors can do, to treat TN. I had been treated with it for four months, with some relief.
I’ll contact my chiropractor, let you know what it’s called.

Just talked to Chiro, he did three things,

  1. Upper Cervical Work (not sure if you could do that, given your past history)
  2. Orthogonal Techniques
  3. Something called “The BLAIR Technique”

I wish you the best!

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Thanks for everyone getting back to me. I was going through a rough spot there and still am to some degree and was looking for a shoulder to cry on more than anything. Since my post I have been working with a Chiro and he has been working on C1 and C2 for the past several weeks. It seems to be helping some because I have felt different. The only problem is the pain has now decided to switch branches on me, Yah me!!! <sarcasm>. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones that get to experience this pain in all three branches of the nerve. Not at the same time luckily but it has hit all three at one time or another since I started having pain back in 2008. Now with that said I am still not giving up on this being a structural problem. I have had scans up the wazoo, working with everyone from a dentist to the head of Neurosurgery at a prestigious hospital and no one can find anything. My next surgical step is for them to do exploratory surgery around my brain stem which is not only a "no" but a "HELL NO"!!!

Why do I think this is structural? Every time I have major flair ups I also have nasty neck pain and stiffness. The pain might be causing the muscles to constrict which is possible but what if its a "snake eating it's tail" scenario? The nerve comes out of the base of the skull and runs around the spinal column and wraps around the face. So what if the nerve is getting tangled up in there somewhere, which causes the pain, which causes the muscles to constrict, which causes the nerve to stay tangled up due to the tightness, etc.? That would explain when I start hurting in the middle nerve below my eye, I start stretching my face muscles and it stops to a certain degree. I have a lot of pain during this but it does eventually seem to sooth the pain. Also it would explain why jumping in a hot shower seems to help as well at times. The heat and the stretching movements are essentially releasing the tightness which is causing the pain. So over the past week I have been doing neck stretching exercises, applying a heat pack to the back of my neck, sleeping on one of those contour pillows, and the pain has gotten less. I had 2 spasms late last night after a long day which is awesome.

I will let you guys know how I progress, when/if I feel like writing.


A little update.

Its been almost two weeks now, things have calmed down and I am essentially out of pain again. Yah!!! Thank god for acupuncture. I did 3 visits over a seven day period with a new acupuncturist and it helped tremendously. These guys did something a little different this time which I found odd but the results are amazing. Before when I went to an acupuncturist they used just the needles and infrared heat on the affected areas. It helped but it would take a series of weeks to stop it to the level its stopped now. This new guy put the needles in then hooked up some kind of electric shock (TENS?) meter to the needles which sent an electro-shock directly into the pain area for about 45 minutes or so. Felt like I had battery jumper cables plugged into my face. Once the time was up they followed up with an ultrasound machine on the pain area for several minutes and ended the treatment with a back massage. I went in on a Monday, then on Thursday, was out of pain by Saturday and we did a follow up the following Tuesday.

The last appointment I had was exactly 1 week ago today. Over the past 24-36 hours though I have been feeling a little slight shock come back very infrequently. But it is there. I will probably go back in for one more visit just to make sure things have settled down.

I am still moving forward with the Neurologist though because I am sure this will come back again. I very seriously doubt the acupuncture did anything permanent. My guess is between the electro shock and the sound waves it stunned the nerves into submission for a little while. What I have on my plate with the surgery is the Neurologist wants to do a nerve block on some nerve ganglia in my cheek before going to the Gamma Knife. The only problem is by the time they got it scheduled the pain was gone. So now I have to wait for the pain to resurface so they can block the nerve to see if that helps before they are willing to do the Gamma Knife on me.

God I hate this 'effin disease. Sometimes I wonder who I wronged in a past life to warrant this curse they placed on me?

Mitch, I think you may be on to something. I had physical therapy a few years ago for numbness and tingling in my arm and it actually seemed to cure my TN for about a year. I noticed the more visits I had all of a sudden the TN pain was also gone. And yes, this is a most miserable condition, sometimes I just feel like I can't cope anymore. Thank God for family and friends. Hope you get some relief.


I had MVD surgery for TN 11 months ago. It fixed the electric shock, but now I'm left with nerve/muscle movements running through my face 24/7 non-stop. I can feel it runs up and down the right side of my face then circling around my mouth and lips. The muscles would go into spasm that my upper and lower lips move as the muscles tightened. I feel like it nerves are all tangled and twisted inside my mouth and face and it's trying to find its way out. My neurosurgeon said what I'm feeling is normal and nerves are waking up because I was completely numb after surgery. I think that's a bunch of BS because I'm no longer numb. These movements are painful and irritating and they don't stop.I can't sleep or do anything. MRI shows everything is normal.

Has anyone experienced this? My neurologist now diagnosed me with Hemifacial spasm, but my eyes are not twitching like most HFS people.

I'm 6 weeks post MVD and while I got some improvement, I have severe tinnitus, jaw, cheek nerve/muscle problems, and still have a hyperactive swallow reflex. I had TN, Vagaglossopharyngeal , and geniculate. A major vertebral artery was compressing bthe entire 9th and 10th nerve complex. Two othyer arteries were invloved there as well. The TN has come back some but not too bad. The jaw / tongue painful speaking is the toughest part. I hope it settles down over time. I also have C1 and lower cervical issues. The carotid sheath holds these nerves - and other factors may play a role in cervical causes of cranial nerve problems.