Neck Pain

Causes | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment
Neck pain is one of the most common issues experienced by people today and most people have experienced or will experience neck pain at least once in their lives.  Neck pain is usually temporary, lasting a few days to a couple of weeks.  However, when pain lasts longer than a couple of weeks or worsens and is accompanied by symptoms such as shooting or stabbing pain in the neck or skull base region or radiates down the shoulders or arms, it’s time to consult an expert spine doctor.

Causes

Neck pain can be cause by a multitude of things, even daily activities such as lifting groceries or items above the head can cause muscles in the neck to tighten and cause pain.  Some possible causes of neck pain include:

  • Improper posture
  • Neck strain injuries
  • Herniated disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Disc degeneration
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleeping improperly

Symptoms

The main symptom of neck pain is the centralized pain in and around the neck area.  Many times people will experience pain that radiates through the shoulders, arms and back.  Common symptoms include:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Headache
  • Pain that radiates to the shoulders and arms
  • Numbness and tingling

Diagnosis

Because there are so many different causes and underlying conditions that may be causing your neck pain, your doctor will need to take a detailed medical history as well as do a physical exam.  In order to rule out conditions and pin point a diagnosis, your doctor may order X-rays, MRI or CT scans.  Nerve tests can also be done if a pinched nerve is suspected.  At SCU we have X-ray and Diagnostic Ultrasound onsite to assist doctors with their imaging requests.  Proper diagnosis is crucial in the treatment of neck pain.

Treatment

Luckily the majority of neck pain can be treated conservatively and may include rest, hot/cold compress applications, topical pain creams, over the counter medications to treat pain and inflammation.  When modified conservative treatment is needed, you doctor may suggest physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and in the most severe cases, surgery as a final option.  The treatment for neck pain will vary from person to person and is dependent on the cause of the pain.  At SCU we offer treatment options through our Spine Care which is a Center of Excellence.  The experts at SCU will evaluate each patient on an individual basis to determine which treatment option will provide the most benefit to the patient.

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