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Chronic neck pain due to staph infection
May 20, 2004

I was recently diagnosed, in February, with AIDS/HIV when I was hospitalized with a pneumonia. I was immediately given the appropriate antibiotics to fight the pneumonia and shortly there after, put on a anti-HIV medications. At one point I developed a staph infection, again I was give medication to treat this and it has since cleared. During the period that I had the staph infection, I developed chronic neck pain. It is difficult to move my head to the left or right. I was told by my doctor that this could have been caused by the staph infection and he did not seem alarmed, however, I find that if I turn in my sleep, the pain is so intense it wakes me up. This is not something that I can live with. I have started to go to a physical therapist to try to alleviate the pain. He even noticed that my right shoulder blade actually sticks out due to the way I am carrying myself. It has only been a week with the therapist, but I would like to know if this is something that will eventually go away or if there is any other type of therapy that my help. Any thoughts/suggestion would be appreciated.

Response from Dr. Pierone

It is difficult to know what happened to your neck during your hospitalization. If it is getting better with time and therapy it is very likely to continue to do so and you can stay on the same course. However, if this pain gets worse, or does not get better, it should be evaluated. Although quite rare, unremitting neck pain that occurs in association with a Staph bloodstream infection could represent spread of the Staph bacteria to the disc spaces in the spine. The typical test to look into this will be an MRI scan or CT scan of the neck and blood tests (CRP) to check for inflammation. Good luck to you and thanks for posting.

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