What are the symptoms of neck pain?
Patients will typically experience pain along the neck, corresponding to the level of where the pain is being generated from. Neck pain may be felt in the shoulders, upper back or may even sometimes cause headache. Neck arthritis may result in compression of the nerves of the neck. With involvement of nerves, radiating pain may be present in the shoulder, arm or fingers.
What causes neck pain?
Neck pain is usually caused by degenerative conditions of the spine, most commonly arthritis. This arthritis involves the disc, which serves as a cushion between the vertebrae. Arthritis can also involve the neck joints, called facets. Neck pain can also be caused by an injury, such as a fall or car accident. An injury can cause pain by hurting the joints, the disc or the ligaments.
How is neck pain evaluated?
The first step in the evaluation of neck pain is a careful history and physical examination. Often, a history will give many clues as to what part of the neck is causing the pain, the joints or the disc. When conservative care with medications and therapy fails to bring relief an MRI gives doctors a look inside the neck.
How is neck pain treated?
The first step is treatment with therapy and neck exercises. Medications can relieve pain and inflammation. In patients that don’t respond a spinal pain management evaluation can be performed. In this highly specialized evaluation, we determine which of the structures in the neck the pain is emanating from. Spinal injections can bring relief and confirm the source of pain. Minimally invasive surgery is reserved only for cases that do not improve with spinal injections.
Neck Pain treatments
The following spinal injections may be used to treat neck pain:
The following minimally invasive surgical procedures may be used to treat neck pain: