@LiveLoveandTrust, when my neck tension was at its worse, I used to have all kinds of crazy problems with feeling warped, having trouble thinking, being insanely exhausted, etc. My neck became super tight after a few severe episodes of VTOS symptoms. Not that it was loose before, but it became ridiculous afterwards. It's as if trauma put it into hyper-guard mode.
So based on that experience and reading your description, I get the impression that most of what you are experiencing are secondary effects of extreme neck tension. Remember the neck is full of blood vessels that feed the head and nerves that go freaking everywhere.
So... anything you can do to get the tension down is going to be helpful. On my list is:
-- hot shower on the neck. need an hour? take an hour.
-- bed-buddy wrap on the neck
-- chiro adjustments. Personally, I need these, can't go too long without.
-- *gentle* neck stretches
-- haven't tried it yet, but acupuncture has really helped a lot of people
-- topical ointments like penetrex and "muscle relief lotion" (both on amazon)
-- muscle relaxation meditation
If I was limited to only a couple of the above, I would choose the chiro and the muscle relaxation meditation (MRM) above all others.
For MRM, some key points:
-- To get the neck to relax, I have to really be able to give it up to gravity. That means lying in bed or on a recliner. Not sitting upright which means I have to engage the neck muscles.
-- Take note of the muscle you want to relax when you inhale. Then on the exhale, imagine it and/or will it to relax. You can see this is deliberate rather than general like "taking a nap" or "generic meditation". Repeat.
-- Sometimes you have to repeat and repeat. I had a bad night with a taut left SCM and I had to do the above over and over for 20 mins with no results when suddenly the SCM released. I could feel it suddenly lengthen and my pulse came into the left side of my head. It gave me a little headache at first, but suddenly instead of feeling woozy, I felt "all there". And the headache subsided after 5 mins.
The nice thing about MRM is that you can do it at home. You don't have to wait for your next medical appointment. Another nice thing is that you get better/faster/deeper at it over time.
The downside is that I do have days where MRM doesn't reduce the muscle tension as much as I want. But then the neck adjustment from the chiro does the trick. And man do I get some epic cracks when I go in with a neck I couldn't get to relax. I presume that all adds up to mean that I had a pinched nerve.
I can't get away from the idea that some of us have "post traumatic neck syndrome" whether from surgery or other insults to the body.
Let us know how it goes.