Neck and Head Pain and Other Symptoms

Patient

Q: I've had a recurring discomfort in my neck and the back of my head for the past two months. I wouldn't necessarily describe it as pain, but more like a tingling feeling. Probing the area results in an increase in the intensity of the feeling and a slight swelling feelings.

Yesterday I went in to the hospital to discuss the problem with a doctor. After an x-ray and a couple routine tests, he noticed no visible abnormalities. He surmised that the feeling was actually muscle hypertension originating in the shoulders, but that was felt in my neck/head instead. He elaborated to say that I have a slightly larger head and longer neck than most people, and that coupled with my untrained muscles may result in the neck pain. He prescribed me an anti inflammatory and a pain killer and recommended stretching the area several times daily.

It's been a little over 24 hours since I started taking the medications. The feeling in my neck/head is all but gone, leading me to assume that his diagnosis was, at least in part, correct. However, today I noticed two other issues.

The first is that there is a small spot near my ear that occasionally gives a pinprick-like feeling followed by a strange sensation when pushed. There don't seem to be any abnormal bumps, however.

The second (and possibly entirely unrelated) is a small pea-sized bump on the top left of my head that I noticed for the first time today after my evening shower. I hadn't known it existed before today. When pushed/scratched/probed, it causes a tingling sensation in the local area, a swelling feeling and general discomfort.

When I visited the hospital yesterday, the doctor said that if I was worried I could schedule an MRI to check for other issues, but that he didn't recommend it since he didn't find any problems via routine examinations and the x-ray.

My head also feels occasionally as though there is a buildup of pressure, though that may also be unrelated.

So, finally, my question: what do you make of my symptoms? Could it just be muscle hypertension like the doctor suggested and the other issues are simply coincidental and unrelated? Or should I go back to the hospital for an MRI?

It's worth noting that I am an American student studying abroad in Japan, which means there is some degree of language barrier and so I can't simply walk into a hospital and communicate easily.

Symptoms:  neck pain, bizarre tingling, swollen feeling (seemingly treated with anti inflammatory and pain medications); isolated spot on skull by base of ear that hurts a little when pushed on, even with the medication; hard pea-sized lump on top-left of head, beneath the skin, that hurts a little when pushed on; pressure buildup in head and ears
Doctor

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