Neck Pain

Neck pain is the second most common type of chronic pain in the US. Patients can feel isolated pain in the neck area or pain in both neck and shoulder areas.

Neck pain arises if any mechanical or pathological damage happens to the neck or surrounding structures of the neck. The neck is a complex structure consisting of bones, joints, nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The main job of the neck is to hold up the weight of the head. In addition to this, the neck has to form a conduit for the spinal cord, carry blood vessels to and from the brain, and it also contains passageways for air and food.

The main physical structures in the neck are the seven small interlocking bones called cervical vertebrae, numbered C1 through to C7. Each vertebra is connected to the next with facet joints. Between the two vertebrae, there are rubbery cushions called intervertebral discs that are made mostly of cartilage and act as shock-absorbers.

Because of its mobility, the neck is less stable than other parts of the body. The most common cause of neck pain comes from its soft tissues. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more prone to injuries or sudden or chronic strain. Neck problems can often present themselves as simple muscle stiffness or pain. Most often, this signal indicates an underlying concern that requires corrective measures.

Types of Neck Pain

  • Cervical spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck.
  • Abnormalities in the bone or joints
  • Activities that strain the neck – sleeping in a bad position where the neck is twisted, slouching or performing activities that can lead to neck strain.
  • Injury or trauma – a fall or an accident.
  • An infection of the neck
  • Poor Posture
  • Cervical spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck.
  • Tumours
  • Structural issues

Symptoms of Neck Pain

  • Pain in your neck that may feel sharp or dull
  • Stiffness in your neck or shoulders
  • Heaviness of the head or feeling like it needs support
  • Lower back pain or shoulder pain
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Pain between the shoulder blades

Neck Pain Treatments

Medications

anti-inflammatory medicine or Tylenol in early stages, medicine to relax the muscles and relieve the pain.

Physical Therapy

in patients that suffer from neck pain, physical therapy helps restore muscular flexibility, joint mobility, and spine motion, accelerating the stages of healing, and strengthening the muscles.

Steroids

If the pain continued to persist, the patient got an injection of medicine or steroids directly into the back. Steroids can cause some serious side effects, so such therapy is limited.

Surgery

Surgery is sometimes explored if all non-surgical options have been exhausted.