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Pain Conditions
Neck Pain Conditions

Neck Pain Causes

Neck pain can be incredibly debilitating as it restricts the range of motion of the neck. At times, this pain may result from a stiff neck caused by an unsuitable pillow or poor sleeping posture. Such discomfort can be so intense that the affected individual is unable to turn their neck.

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Main саtеgоrіеѕ оf Neck Pain:

  • Acute Neck Pain: Typically, acute neck pain occurs as a result of whiplash from auto accidents, falls or trauma during sports.
  • Chronic Neck Pain: This type of pain can be caused by various factors, such as a pinched nerve, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, cervical spinal stenosis, herniated disc, or a strain in a neck muscle.

There are several methods available for treating neck pain. To find the best specialists in your area to examine your neck, you can consider reaching out to VIP Centers’ specialists for assistance.

Who Does it Affect?

Neck pain often affects individuals who sleep on their stomachs, as this sleeping position can lead to an uncomfortable posture for the neck. Additionally, using the wrong pillow can also trigger neck pain. It’s advisable to choose a pillow that is neither too high nor too low to help prevent neck and back pain.

What are the Primary Causes & Symptoms of Neck Pain?

Primary causes

Acute Neck Pain

  • Whiplash: Typically occurring in auto accidents, whiplash happens when the cervical spine and head are suddenly forced to move backward and then forward.
  • Sports Injuries: Trauma during sports activities can result in acute neck pain. Athletes may experience injuries to their neck muscles or ligaments, including muscle strains and ligament sprains, which can be very painful.
  • Strains & Sprains: Prolonged or repetitive neck movements in various activities can lead to muscle injuries or strains, ligament injuries or sprains, or muscle spasms. 

Chronic Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is frequently associated with degenerative disc disease, which results in the gradual wear and tear of spinal discs. This type of pain can persist for several months and may require a comprehensive pain relief program for relief. Failure to address spinal disorders and diseases promptly can lead to a deviation from the spine’s natural alignment, potentially causing compression of adjacent nerve roots, resulting in significant discomfort. Here are some diseases and conditions that can contribute to chronic neck pain:

  • Pinched Nerve (Cervical Radiculopathy): This condition involves the compression of a spinal nerve in the neck. The pressure that compresses or pinches a nerve typically originates from the surrounding soft tissues, like discs or bone. Nerve roots leave the spinal cord to extend into other areas of the body, so when one becomes pinched or irritated, it can lead to pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands, often accompanied by muscle pain, numbness and sometimes weakness.
  • Osteoarthritis or Cervical Spondylosis: A leading cause of neck pain, this condition occurs as the cartilage and pads of the vertebral joints deteriorate. Compressed joints between the vertebrae generate irritation and swelling. Osteoarthritis may result from daily overuse over several years, and may cause the spinal discs to become thinner and the spaces between vertebrae to narrow.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Primarily affecting older individuals, this disease affects the intervertebral discs. Deterioration of one or more intervertebral discs in the cervical spine due to wear and tear initiates degenerative disc disease. These discs act as cushions between the vertebrae, and their deterioration can lead to bulging or herniation, with material pressing on a spinal nerve root. This causes severe pain, numbness, and tingling, often radiating down the arm.
  • Cervical Spinal Stenosis: Abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal caused by a bone spur or herniated disc can compress a nerve root or the spinal cord itself, leading to pain. Gradual narrowing of nerve pathways in the upper spine, compression of the spinal cord, and nerve root compression can result in symptoms such as pain in the arms, hands, or legs, as well as tingling and numbness. Bone spur protrusions can further constrict the spinal column due to age-related wear and tear.
  • Herniated Disc: A herniated disc occurs when a spinal disc is compressed to the point of breaking and releases its inner disc fluid into the spinal canal. Chronic pain can radiate down the arm or hand, and even affect the jaw and head. There are variations in disc herniation, with some causing occasional facial numbness and others putting increased pressure on a nerve root. Herniated discs are a major contributor to chronic neck pain and pain in other parts of the body, especially the shoulder and arm.
  • Strain in Neck Muscles: Overuse of neck muscles can lead to painful neck injuries. This overuse can result from poor neck posture during various activities, especially in office jobs that involve computer work. Additionally, a muscle strain can be caused by an incorrect sleeping posture, often accompanied by chronic pain and stiffness. Pain may worsen during neck movements and can result in headaches, limited neck mobility, and muscle spasms.

Symptoms of Neck Pain

The cervical spine, which supports your head and connects it to the body, is a complex part of your anatomy that can be a source of pain for various reasons. Neck pain often extends its impact to other areas of the body, underscoring the importance of prompt attention. Common accompanying symptoms of neck pain include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Stiffness
  • Tightness
  • Shooting pain
  • Pressure
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling
  • Pain that travels to other body parts, including the shoulder, arm and hand
  • Sharp, stabbing ache

As cervical spine pain can be triggered by various causes, individuals may experience a range of symptoms, such as backache, shoulder pain, headaches, hand or arm pain, and facial pain. Sore or tense neck muscles, as well as arm or shoulder muscles, are quite common and can lead to painful spasms when excessively contracted, limiting neck movements. This can often arise in individuals who have suffered a whiplash injury, making it extremely difficult to turn their head.

In some cases, spinal nerves can become pinched, resulting in pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the hands, arms, and shoulders. If the nerve compression is severe, similar symptoms can also be felt in the legs. You should immediately contact a pain management doctor and seek immediate medical attention for these symptoms.

Your doctor will assess whether your symptoms are directly related to neck pain or may be indicative of another underlying health problem. They will first work to identify and differentiate the type, severity, frequency, and location of your neck pain. Based on this evaluation, they will devise a cervical spine treatment program aimed at achieving positive results.

How can a doctor diagnose Neck Pain?

Pain Treatment Center

If you require medical assistance for neck pain, it’s advisable to consult with a board-certified pain doctor. An experienced physician will conduct a thorough examination of your neck, carefully identifying the root cause of your pain. At Pain Treatment Specialists, we specialize in creating customized treatment plans with minimal downtime, guiding you toward a full recovery.

Whether the source of your pain lies within a muscle, ligament, disc, joint, or nerve, our team of Ivy League-trained physicians is always available to accurately diagnose your condition and provide safe and effective treatment options.

Pain Treatment Specialists



Popular Treatments for Neck Pain

Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection

As the name suggests, a cervical epidural steroid injection is administered into the epidural space of your spine, typically using a steroid drug under fluoroscopy, also called X-ray guidance. This injection targets the epidural space where irritated nerves are located, aiming to alleviate pain and inflammation in the neck, arms, and shoulders. Individuals who receive these injections often suffer from conditions such as arthritis, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs, which exert pressure on their nerves, causing pain, swelling, inflammation, and discomfort. The administration of a cervical epidural steroid injection can help alleviate these symptoms.

Cervical Facet Block (Medial Branch Block) Injection

This minimally invasive spinal treatment is particularly effective for addressing neck pain, often chosen by individuals dealing with arthritis. During this procedure, a physician targets specific facet joints in the cervical spine and injects them with a small amount of local anesthetic and steroid medication. Proper imaging is ensured by using a fluoroscopic guide, also called X-ray guidance. Following the injection, the facet joint is numbed, providing relief from pain.

Trigger Point Injections

Trigger points, also known as taut muscle knots, are typically located deep within connective tissues or muscles and can cause pain when touched or overused. They often manifest as knots or bands in muscles that remain contracted and cannot relax due to severe spasm. These trigger points can also be found in the shoulders and head, contributing to significant pain. Trigger point injections are used to deactivate these trigger points and relieve discomfort.

The procedure involves inserting a small needle into the trigger point to deliver a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. Trigger point injections are low-risk and do not typically result in side effects. They work by rendering the area inactive and pain-free, offering longer-term pain relief with a short course of treatment. Since the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, it requires minimal time, even when treating multiple areas.

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Dr. Laura Lombardi

Pain Doctor New Jersey
Harvard Medical School

Dr. George Hanna

Pain Doctor New York
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Michael Nguyen

Pain Doctor
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Shane Volney

Pain Doctor New York
Harvard Medical School

Dr. Jeffrey Deygoo

Pain Doctor New York & New Jersey
Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Dr. Bhavika Patel

Pain Doctor New York
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Neck Pain Conditions ultima modifica: 2024-01-04T10:29:32-05:00 da David Abril