• Is anyone dealing with atrophy of neck muscles due to radiation?

    Asked by beckyschoepp on Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Is anyone dealing with atrophy of neck muscles due to radiation?

    radiation treatment done in winter of 1992 to the neck for Hodgkin's

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Becky I was treated the first time in 88, that was for Hodgkins, again in 2008 radiated for squamous cell carcinoma. I also had a radical neck disection. I am stiff, cant turn my neck very well, have cramps, and assorted other disfunctions.
      Hope your doing well!

      over 8 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      Last year I was diagnosed first with tongue cancer and underwent radiation to the left side of my face. Several months ago, my neck swelled-up and I was scared, but the doc said it was lymphedema. Thankfully it went away. But I feel like my neck has atrophied. I guess we just have to live with it. I don't know of exercises that can help. I wish you the best of luck and if you find out something that works, let me know!

      over 8 years ago
    • carolk2222's Avatar

      I am Becky. I had radiation 30 yrs ago. I have muscle deterioration in my neck and back where radiation hit my body for treatment. I have dropped head syndrome because of the muscles gone in my neck. Read my story if you get a chance. This condition from the radiation treatment is very rare and affects a very small percentage of patients. It can happen 3-30 yrs after treatment. Average is 17 yrs. I figured out what was wrong with me when I googled "Muscle deterioration post radiation"

      over 8 years ago
    • Bethking's Avatar

      Becky, I was treated for Hodgkins about 30 years ago and now experience pain in my neck and upper back (around my scapula). My scapula eventually started "winging," and I experience muscle spasms in that area. I also can't raise my arm above my shoulder level. After years of going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong, I was diagnosed with nerve damage. The doctor wasn't sure what caused it, but I suspect it was from the radiation. My head drops forward as well; I can't even raise my head when I am lying on my back. I went to a specialist in Lexington who specializes in winged scapula, and he had me see the physical therapist who works closely with him while I was there. She said the radiation basically fried my muscles and said it was like the difference between dried jerky to a steak. (Kind of grose, but it does give a good idea of the problem.) She showed me some exercises to do that are to strengthen my neck muscles. One is simply standing with my back to the wall, heels pressed to the wall as well as the back of my head. I then tuck my chin to my chest and try to press the bottom of my head to the wall. I also try to stand with my head back and chin tucked a bit throughout the day. This is hard to do, and it does hurt my back. But I do think I've noticed a slight improvement...at least it doesn't hurt as much just attempting to do it. I have had nerve blocks done, and that alleviates the pain, and I don't have headaches as much.

      I really don't think there is much more that I can do other than just keep trying to strengthen my muscles.

      Good luck to you!

      over 8 years ago

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