Constant Neck and Back Pain - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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Constant Neck and Back Pain

13 Replies

Hi, does anyone else have constant neck, shoulder, and back pain? I don't know if it's directly related to my ADHD or if it's because of stress? Although my stress is related to just my life of living with ADHD. Or maybe it's because I don't eat well or exercise which again, ADHD...

My pain is excruciating, nothing brings me comfort, sitting, standing, lying down all comes with so much pain. I wake up constantly because of the pain.

13 Replies
marigold22 profile image

I'm on this forum as my 40 year old son is currently on the waiting list (in the UK) to see if he's got ADHD. I've been on the thyroid forum on here for many years as I have severe hypothyroid (very low levels of thyroid hormone).When I was under medicated for thyroid, I had horrendous neck & shoulder pain. Nothing would make the pain go away. I would suggest that you get a full thyroid blood test. I hope you can manage that as you're in USA. Thyroid hormone is needed in every cell of our body to make it work properly. I actually think my son has inherited a dodgy thyroid from me, and having researched ADHD a lot, it does seem that symptoms of low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism) cross over with symptoms of ADHD. Good luck

in reply to marigold22

Thank you marigold. I've never heard about thyroid issues being common with ADHD, but will certainly look into this. Really appreciate the info. And I hope your son can get the help he needs. I'm finally trying to figure out what help I need, it's so overwhelming...

marigold22 profile image
marigold22 in reply to

There are quite a few medical papers now, though they're difficult to find, which connect ADHD with thyroid problems.

F_RN_Dx_at_39 profile image

I carry my tension in my neck and upper back. I also read that guanfacine can cause muscle pain and leg cramps. Some things are not listed on your meds as common side effects. I recommend that you do internet searches for your symptoms and the meds you're on. For instance I did a search for "Lexapro Diarrhea" and was able to identify it as the source of my issue despite having seen many doctors about it and it not being a common listed side effect.

Rodster profile image

Could you have a pinched nerve? ADHD does not cause back, shoulder or neck pain.

Gebby57 profile image

I also have neck , back and shoulder pain, it’s definitely caused from stress. These things can turn into serious issues like Fibromyalgia. A acupunturist and chiropractor keep me going. Good luck!

Freem profile image

Adhd definitely affects muscle movement and causes muscle pain. The brain also regulates muscle movement (motor regulation). And the lack of ability in the brain to regulate this properly is what long term can cause pain. Female adhd research reports a lot of Fibromyalgia in female with adhd. But muscle pain is very common with adhders overall. This is also what can cause bad handwriting, or other motor regulation like throwing a ball not too hard and not too soft. Etc. Bad examples maybe, but I hope you get my point. In the children’s psychiatric award in the hospital in my town, physiotherapists can tell by examinating children’s muscles, if they have adhd, and even if they are on medication or not. There’s quite a bit of research on this now. You can find it on the internet. Research also shows stimulants can have effect on this. I’m on Vyvanse and it helps me with so many things, but not so much my pain. In the past, before diagnosis, I did neurofeedback, and that did help my pain.

forgetsalot profile image

Chronic pain is common in people with ADHD. Our nervous systems are running on all pistons so pain can be an issue. I had back pain for 15 years until I dealt with psychosomatic issues (and I also have hypermobility) so it could be a mix of structural and nervous system. We can't always find the source of our pain on an Xray/MRI - it can be quite complex and multifacited. Trauma lives in the body. Check out Dr. Sarno's work:

Also, the film "Living Proof Stories of Hope"

And finally the organization: SIRPA - go to their resources link where they have youtube, ted talks and books.

Hope this helps!

humble-rasberry profile image

Hey! I’m sorry you are experiencing so much pain. I was a student athlete in college and suffered a bad back injury that’s now settled into just an annoying constant discomfort, so I definitely know the overconsuming feeling that it has not being able to relax.

But besides a sports injury, I think ADHD definitely plays a part. Because even if stress is not the main cause, it sure as heck will make it worse!

I don’t know if you are on medication, but when I first started medication I didn’t really notice any changes to my neck/back pain, but then when I started going in higher doses it was so uncomfortable. I didn’t even realize it was from the dosage change until I mentioned it to my psych who told me that was a sign the dose was too high. I went off the meds for a few days and it got so much better. In general stimulants have a “stiffening” affect that we might not notice as much, so it’s always important to stay hydrated and just be mindful of this. Same goes for other non-medication stims too like coffee.

I also sometimes wonder with ADHD if hyperfocusing can also lead to this. When I get into hyperfocus moments, literally nothing can break me from them. I’ve ended up with bruises on my legs from sitting in a weird way while I’m doing something that I just don’t even notice because I’m so fixated. Makes me wonder what other weird positions I’m putting my body in without realizing the strain it’s causing.

So I guess all I can say is stay hydrated and stretch! I saw another comment below talking about thyroid problems… I’m actually getting checked for that next week so we’ll have to see if there’s correlation there too :)

in reply to humble-rasberry

Hi, thank you so much for such an insightful response and sharing your own experience. I am on meds, so I'll ask my doctor about my dosage. Although to be honest I don't think my doctor knows much about treating ADHD... I am in the process of finding a new doctor.

But please keep us posted on anything that comes up with your thyroid!

humble-rasberry profile image
humble-rasberry in reply to

I’ll set a reminder on my phone to update! As much as I’m hoping nothing is wrong with my thyroid, I just want an easy answer. 😂 My dad has thyroid problems but not ADHD, and my mom has ADHD but no thyroid problems so if anything maybe it could just be weird genetics.

Also I went to my primary care doctor for ADHD first, who also had no idea what he was doing… I appreciated that he kind of just said “okay” to whatever I asked about but that meant I was doing a lot of my own research and I am not a doctor at all! A psychatrist really helped me figure out medication, but it’s also more expensive which is annoying :/ But I think it also depends on what insurance you have! Hopefully you’re able to find someone you trust!

beneathemoon profile image

Yes, my neck and shoulders stay tense and painful. My neck cracks and pops non-stop, as well. Mornings are the worst.

People with ADHD manifest physical symptoms from a lifetime of trying to be the way others expect us to be - abandoning our true selves.

Text: "When we must suppress our authentic selves to survive, the body carries the pain."
in reply to beneathemoon

Ugh yes, constant knots in my shoulders that pop all day... Glad to know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Thank you for sharing.

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