The cervical region of the spine is referred to as the neck. This area consists of seven vertebrae, all connected on either side by facet joints, with soft, cushioning discs between them and supportive ligaments and muscles attached to them. This system supports the head and allows the neck a wide range of rotation.
Most people will experience problems with their neck at some point in their life, and without proper care, such problems can occur frequently. That’s why it is important to visit one of our top rated physical medicine doctors, led by Dr. Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD. At NY Bone and Joint Specialists, we take your neck pain seriously as we know that it can be a constant source of pain and discomfort day to day.
COMMON NECK PAIN SYMPTOMS
- Dull pain
- Sharp pain when moving the neck in certain directions
- Decrease range of rotation
CAUSES OF NECK PAIN
The most common culprit of neck pain is muscle strains and tension. Muscles may be damaged in a number of ways while performing everyday activities.
- Sitting at a desk too long
- Working at a computer for hours without breaks
- Improper posture
- Sleeping without a supportive pillow
- Straining muscles during exercise
- Overusing the muscles in strenuous activity
- Lifting or pulling heavy objects
The delicate vertebrae are also susceptible to injury such as dislocation and fractures which may even damage the cushioning discs between them. Ligaments that hold the neck system together during movement can also be torn to varying degrees when forced outside the normal range of motion. Neck injuries are commonly caused by:
In less common instances, neck pain can originate from diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system. These diseases require medical treatment:
- Degenerative Disc Disease – The cushion between the cervical vertebrae degenerate, causing the bones to grind together.
- Osteoarthritis and Arthritis – Joints wear down and cause inflammation.
- Herniated Disc – One of the cushioning discs tears or bursts.
- Cervical Spinal Stenosis – Pressure in the spinal cavity compresses and irritates nerve roots.
- Spinal Cord Compression – Compression of the cervical spinal cord due to aging.
TREATMENT FOR NECK PAIN
Independent, mild neck pain can often be treated at home. Some common methods of treating and preventing further pain are:
- Alternately icing and heating the neck
- Taking over the counter pain medication
- Resting or taking a break from strenuous activity
- Exercise within limits
- Sleep with neck supported
- Improve posture
If neck pain is consistent, recurring, severe, or accompanied by other symptoms, seeing a doctor at NY Bone and Joint Specialists is a good choice. A practitioner may recommend conservative treatments that will help repair and protect the cervical spine, such as:
- Physical Therapy – To strengthen muscles, increase mobility, and boost immunity.
- Medical Massage – To relax muscles and increase blood flow for healing.
- Acupuncture – To release muscle tension and boost immunity.
- Cervical Corticosteroid Injections – To numb chronic pain usually caused by injury or disease.
- Cervical Radiofrequency Ablation – To disrupt pain signals from continuously irritated nerve roots.
In rare cases, extreme injury or disease may require orthopedic surgery on the neck.
EXPERIENCING PAIN? DO YOU HAVE AN INJURY?
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