For about the last ten years I have had a pinched nerve in my neck. I am 40 and very active (yoga, lift weights, run, etc) It flared up on occasion when I would work out hard and I would injure my shoulder or neck, putting additional pressure on the nerve. About 18 months ago the pain got so severe that I was seriously considering surgery which would have fused some discs in my neck together (among other things). A business associate had mentioned that he had problems with his knees hurting when he drank diet coke, which i drank. As a last resort I quit drinking diet coke and about 4 weeks later the pain in my neck was down to manageable levels again. This lasted about until recently when it flared up again, I had recently started taking a new weightlifting supplement (powder) and upon closer inspection it contained aspartame. I talked to my doctor who had not heard anything about his particular side effect of aspartame, but we theorized that the additive caused small swelling to muscles which impinged my already narrow nerve openings. needles to say, I have cut aspartame back out of my diet.