If you have pain in your neck it is likely that you need to visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment before it gets any worse. Pain in your neck, or what is formally known as pain in your cervical spine, can be caused by a number of conditions. If left untreated, even minimal pain can become permanent.
While neck pain can stem from a variety of causes, some of the most common are listed below. Talk to an orthopedic surgeon today to learn more about what may be causing your neck pain!
- Cervical Disc Herniation:
When a disc in the cervical spine gets shifted, compressed or pushed out of its proper place, a disc herniation can occur. Disc herniations are often the result of a traumatic injury – such as whiplash – but can also develop over time due to age-related degeneration and weakness in the outer layer of the disc.
Treatment: Treatments for a small disc herniation can include rest, ice, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections. For severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the herniated portion of the disc, or correct the positioning of the disc and spine.
- Cervical Stenosis and Radiculopathy:
Cervical spine stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in the cervical area of the spinal cord. It is commonly caused by the spurs that are formed as the body’s response to the degenerative effects of arthritis. Stenosis often leads to radiculopathy, or pain that results from compressed spinal nerves.
Treatment: Treatments for stenosis and radiculopathy include epidural steroid injections for pain, and physical therapy to help build strength and increase flexibility in the neck.
The most common surgeries performed for cervical stenosis and radiculopathy is a cervical laminectomy and cervical fusion. In a laminectomy, the bony fragments that are compressing onto the nerves are removed. In a cervical fusion, the disc is removed and replaced with a spacer that returns the height to the disc space, and stabilizes the cervical vertebra.
- Cervical Muscle Spasms:
A cervical muscle spasm is an involuntary twitch or spasm of the muscles in the neck, and is usually a response to an injury in the cervical spine. It can also be a sign of fatigue.
Treatment: Your doctor may recommend rest, ice, compression, and physical therapy exercises to restore strength. Patients with spasms can also benefit from acupuncture or massage therapy.
- Fracture of the Cervical Spine:
A fracture of the cervical spine is a crack or break in the bones of the neck. Fractures occur as a result of sudden impact or trauma to the neck, and should be treated by a neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon as soon as possible.
Treatment: Treatments for a fracture usually include a cast to guide the healing stages, surgery to fix the fracture and restore the structure of the spine, and/or physical therapy to rebuild strength.
For more information on the treatments available for neck conditions at Orangewood Surgical Center, call (714) 221-4236.