Ask a Neurologist and Get an Answer ASAP
Hi. Thanks for your question.
Are you available to chat?
I am a board certified neurologist in the U.S.
Hi. Are you there?
Yes, I am, thank you
You're welcome. Sorry to hear about your symptoms.
Is there any headache?
Yes, very much
And that started this morning also?
Yes, I started to get up and felt like I'd been beat up. Last night I began to feel extraordinarily tired, and went to bed early, and woke up like this.
Do you normally suffer from headaches or neck aches?
No, not at all
Is this the worst headache you can ever remember having?
No, the headache isn't as problematic as the neck and throat ache, and my joints aching.
OK. Well, based on the symptoms you are describing, this most likely represents a viral infection.
Viruses in most cases will resolve over time on their own, however, there are certain bacteria that could also produce similar symptoms.
Strep throat would be one treatable bacterial infection which could produce a severe sore throat and lymph node involvement that would cause neck stiffness and soreness.
Strep can be diagnosed in many cases with a rapid strep test.
So, with it likely being viral, there is nothing to do but wait it out, true? I'm being forced to use a cane and walker today, and it's humiliating. Where would I get a rapid strep test performed? Would I simply make an appointment with my family doctor?
With your symptoms so severe, I would suggest you visit a local urgent care today if possible. It would likely be a good idea to get the testing today to begin treatment sooner than later, in the case this is a bacterial infection.
I am concerned that your weakness is so severe, and your symptoms also do raise the question of whether there could be a meningitis developing, given the neck soreness and headache.
A physician in the ER could do the proper bedside testing and possibly blood tests to figure out if there is a high suspicion for meningitis.
Meningitis? How would I be tested for that?
Oh, I apologize, I see now where you were in the process of telling me the physician would perform a blood test.
The test for this condition is a spinal tap. However, again I am not sure how likely this is, but some exam tests, and a more thorough history by a doctor who can see you would help to figure this out.
I am not saying a spinal tap is needed, but a doctor can check to see if it is needed.
Again, I would suggest seeing an urgent care or emergency doc today, especially because you are so weak that you almost cannot walk. Let's make sure this isn't something treatable with antibiotics or which needs more testing to rule out more serious disease.
I understand. Because we live in a small rural area, urgent care isn't available, but I'm not sure I'm worthy of an ER visit. I mean, my symptoms are urgent enough for an ER visit.
Having such a rigid neck that you nearly can't turn it does make me a little concerned that it could be something besides a simple virus.
I understand your thoughts, but without a thorough exam and appropriate tests, I can't be sure an antibiotic isn't needed for this to help it get better, or if evaluation with a spinal tap is needed or not.
I understand, I realize your hands are tied with only being able to review my symptoms by what you are reading. I think, as I am not a person that usually wants to go to the ER or even the doctor, and feel bad enough that I am actually speaking to you on a site I've never been on, I should likely go to the ER. Is there some where on this site where I can follow up and let you, or the online community as it were, know how things turned out?
I would be happy to hear the outcome, but you are not obligated to. I think you would be making the right decision. If you want to let me know the outcome you can simply write back to me on our question which will still be available after we are done today.
If I have been helpful to you, don't forget to click on the happy face. Bonuses appreciated but not required. Best wishes.
Thank you very much, and I will let you know the outcome. Again, thank you very much for your time. Have a great evening.
You are most welcome. Good luck.
Thanks for the feedback. I am happy to hear that at least you received some form of treatment, so the doctor likely feels that there is some form of bacterial infection, and hopefully this will help you get better sooner rather than later. Having said that, it is important that you have a good relationship with your doctor, so if you don't feel comfortable with how you are treated, you could always consider seeing another doctor in the future.