Your neck is responsible for allowing you to look around and see from a wide range of angles. However, its enhanced mobility also makes it vulnerable to damage, disorders, and other concerns that can cause pain and limit movement. Neck pain can stem from injuries, degenerative and inflammatory diseases, tumors, infections, or congenital abnormalities. Seek immediate medical care for severe pain and post-trauma pain, and consider visiting a Spine Specialist if your discomfort persists, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms. Our Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons, Intervention Pain Management Specialists, and Physical Therapists can provide customized spine and pain management to help you relieve discomfort and return to normal activity. Our team will take a complete medical history, perform a physical examination, and request diagnostic tests to develop the best possible treatment plan for your unique needs. Most incidences of neck pain can be treated with non-surgical techniques, but surgical intervention may be necessary for severe cases. Contact us today for more information about neck pain and how we can help.
Your neck, which helps you look up, down, and side-to-side, needs to be very flexible to allow you to see from a wide range of angles. Your bones and soft tissues make this enhanced mobility possible. The cervical spine, which refers to the bones of the neck, are very responsive, but they can also be more vulnerable to damage, disorders, and other concerns that can cause pain and limit movement. In most cases, neck pain is a temporary issue that will subside over time. However, more serious issues require evaluation and treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
Our Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons, Intervention Pain Management Specialists and Physical Therapists are extensively trained, and they can provide customized spine and pain management to help you relieve discomfort and return to normal activity as quickly as possible.
For more information about neck pain and how to treat it, please contact out office today. We can answer your questions and help you schedule a consultation at one of our offices.
Neck pain can develop as a result of a wide range of conditions that affect the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, or joints of the neck. Discomfort typically stems from the soft tissues, either due to an anatomical abnormality, injury, or long-term wear and tear. Though uncommon, tumors or infection can occur, reducing mobility and causing pain. Neck concerns can also lead to issues in other areas of the body, including the shoulders, back, and arms.
There are a number of degenerative diseases of the neck that can cause you pain or discomfort. Some of the most common include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Over time, regular wear and tear of the joints can lead to osteoarthritis, which typically develops in mature and elderly adults. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes the lining of your joints to swell, gradually leading to bone destruction and joint deformity. With both of these conditions you may experience stiffness, pain, and reduced function.
Another cause of neck pain can be cervical disc degeneration. In between each vertebra is a squishy, shock-absorbing disc that protects the bones. Inside the disc is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus. If this soft center begins to degenerate, there is less space between the two corresponding vertebrae, which may then begin to rub painfully. Furthermore, if the disc ruptures, the contents could protrude and place pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing discomfort and reduced mobility. A ruptured disc in the neck is known as a herniated cervical disc. Cervical disc degeneration commonly occurs in women over the age of 40, but it can happen to anyone.
The neck’s primary purpose is to support the head and provide a flexible foundation so it can move. As a result, the neck is susceptible to injury from car accidents, recreational activities, falls, and other incidents that can cause damage. Our skilled orthopaedists recommend wearing a seatbelt whenever in a motor vehicle to prevent whiplash and other injuries. A collision from behind can cause the neck to hyperextend—move backward beyond the normal boundaries—or hyperflex—move forward beyond the normal boundaries. Other issues that could occur include fracture, dislocation, or paralysis.
In addition to physical injuries and disease, neck pain may occur as a result of a tumor, infection, or congenital abnormality. However, these concerns are less common.
If you experience an injury that results in severe neck pain, such as a car or diving accident or fall, you should seek out a Board Certified Spine Specialist promptly. After a serious trauma, it’s imperative to immobilize the neck to reduce the potential risk of paralysis or additional damage. If you feel pain radiating down your arms or legs, request immediate medical attention. Even if pain is minimal or nonexistent, numbness, weakness, or another sensation that radiates through the arms and/or legs following an injury should be examined.
If you have neck pain without experiencing an injury, you may still wish to see a Spine Specialist if the discomfort is:
Our Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons receive extensive training specifically in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones and soft tissues of the spine. Our skilled surgeons can diagnose, treat, and help prevent common and complex concerns of the entire spine. Our Board Certified Spine Team can address neck pain, and we have a selection of physicians who focus on issues concerning spine and pain management.
When you arrive for you initial consultation, one of our experienced Spine Specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.
During this meeting, your Spine Specialists will take a complete medical history and we encourage you to feel comfortable and be honest about any medications you’re taking and surgeries or treatments you’ve completed. We will also ask you about any past neck injuries, illnesses, pain, or other complaints.
Your doctor will then perform a physical examination of your neck, arms, and legs. He or she may explore your neck motion, check for tenderness, and review the function of your nerves, muscles, and ligaments in your neck and extremities.
Your physician may then request some tests to help diagnose your condition. We will order the minimum number of tests necessary to properly evaluate your concern. X-rays are commonly requested to view how your cervical bones look and function. In most cases the physical evaluation, consultation, and X-rays will be sufficient to develop an optimal treatment plan. In some instances, however, we may require additional tests to enhance the diagnosis. These may include:
Depending on your unique needs, your orthopaedic surgeon may also request blood tests or consult with other medical professionals to arrive at the most precise diagnosis possible.
Most incidences of neck pain can be successfully treated with one or more non-surgical techniques, including rest, prescription medication, physical therapy, exercise, and behavior modifications. Your treatment plan will depend on your diagnosis, and our Spine Specialists will review their findings and recommendations with you during your consultation.
Discomfort caused by stretching neck muscles and ligaments beyond the normal range can lead to inflammation, which can be treated with rest and by wearing a neck collar for a pre-determined period of time. Medication to reduce inflammation may also be prescribed. If you’re experiencing pain severe enough to require prescription medication, it’s important to use it as advised and to discontinue use as directed. You should also carefully follow any instructions provided by your specialist.
Rehabilitation programs can also be highly effective for persistent or chronic neck pain. This treatment plan may include specific exercises and physical therapy movements that are designed to reduce pain and prevent recurrences.
Surgical intervention is necessary for neck pain only when other treatments have not provided adequate pain relief or if the condition is severe enough to warrant an operation.
Some instances where this may occur include: when a herniated disc pinches a nerve or the spinal cord; if a bony abnormality narrows the spinal canal opening; or if you suffered a serious injury that could cause lead to partial paralysis. In cases of trauma, surgery can help to stabilize the neck to prevent additional damage.
Our extensively trained and Board Certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons specialize in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgical Procedures and are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of common and complex neck conditions.
For more information about neck pain and treatment, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our Spine Specialists, please contact us today.