Neck Pain

  • Poor posture while working at a computer or sleeping on the stomach with the neck turned to one side are examples of habitual activities that can cause acute or chronic neck strain.
  • A forceful injury, such as whiplash injury is considered a neck sprain.
  • Both types of injury can cause muscle spasms, limit range of motion, and inflict varying degrees of neck pain.

Causes

The main causes of neck pain include:

  • Injury to the bones, joints, or ligaments
  • Degenerative changes in the spine
  • Herniated disc
  • Vertebral compression fracture
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (e.g., spinal stenosis)
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis, migraine headaches
  • Infection (e.g., meningitis, mononucleosis)
  • Disease (e.g., cancer)
  • Poor posture –sleeping/ working environment.
  • Ergonomics in the workplace.
  • Fortunately, most cases of neck strain can be successfully managed with conservative treatment.
  • Persistent or recurrent neck pain may require diagnostic testing and more aggressive treatment.

Terminology

  • The portion of the spine associated with the neck is called the cervical spine.
  • Physicians differentiate between neck strain(caused by repeated actions) and neck sprain (which may be caused by something like whiplash).
  • These conditions may be acute(that is, of short duration) or chronic (of long duration).

Symptoms

  • Mild to moderate pain, along with headache and stiffness, are common with neck strain.
  • However, a stiff neck accompanied by high fever, nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light could indicate meningitis – a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Radiculopathy or “pinched nerve”:

  • refers to symptoms resulting from compression of a nerve root.
  • A herniated disc and/or degenerative changes can alter the anatomy of the spine, affecting the nerve roots branching out from the spinal cord
  • When the spinal cord is compressed or subjected to infection or inflammation, the symptoms that result are termed myelopathy.

Symptoms of radiculopathy include:

  • Pain that travels from the neck to the shoulder and sometimes down the arm
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the arms or hands
  • Weakness with or without muscle atrophy

Symptoms of myelopathy include:

  • Loss of normal motor coordination in the arms or hands
  • Difficulty with fine motor movements (e.g. writing, buttoning)
  • Difficulty grasping or holding on to objects
  • Heaviness or weakness in the upper and possible lower limbs
  • Disturbances in gait or balance

Treatment

  • The Neuro Spinal Hospital offers state-of-the-art expert care for patients suffering from neck pain. A diagnosis is made based on patient history, physical examination, and sometimes imaging or other studies (such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or electromyography tests). Surgical intervention is not always needed.
  • Conservative treatments shown to relieve pain and restore function may include the following:
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain
  • Muscle relaxants to calm spasm
  • Non-narcotic or narcotic analgesics to alleviate pain
  • Temporary use of cervical collars for support
  • Physical therapy
  • Today, patients who need neck surgery have more options than before.
  • If surgery is required, it may that the specialists at Neuro Spinal Hospital can perform minimally invasive surgical procedures making small incisions to correct the problem by minimizing damage to surrounding tissue
  • The benefit of these type of procedures is significant and recovery time is faster.

Prognosis

  • Neck pain can be safely and effectively treated by the Neurosurgical team at Neuro Spinal Hospital.
  • The patients responds to treatment is dependent on the patients overall health and severity of the neck pain prior to treatment

Risk Factors

  • Repetitive stress injuries can be associated with neck pain so patients exposed to such activities or sports may be at greater risk for neck injury and pain.
  • Accidents and trauma are also predisposing factors resulting in patients being exposed to pain.
  • Neck pain left untreated can become worse. Accidents and trauma also expose patients to a risk of neck pain.

Conclusion

  • There are many different reasons for neck pain, which may be mild or severe, even debilitating.
  • Neck strain occurs due to repetitive injury or habitual actions, while neck sprain may be caused by whiplash injuries.
  • Other causes of neck pain may be spinal conditions, migraines, or infections.
  • Expert diagnosis and the latest treatment options are offered at the Neuro Spinal Hospital.
  • Many people with neck pain are effectively treated without surgery, but when surgery is required, state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedures at the Neuro Spinal Hospital may offer patients special relief from pain.