FAQ’s on Neck Pain
Neck pain is a very common complaint among our patients, and one that is readily treatable after receiving diagnosis from one of our physicians. With numerous causes and very serious concerns if left unattended, neck pain is an ailment requiring immediate care to avoid potentially life-altering effects.
What are the causes of Neck Pain?
Numerous conditions may result in neck pain, including:
- Straining of the neck muscles
- Injury or trauma
- Cervical Spinal Stenosis
- Arthritic inflammation
- Bulging or herniated disc
What are the symptoms of Neck Pain?
Pain and stiffness of the neck are the most common symptoms. Patients who are experiencing feelings of numbness or weakness in the shoulders or arms may be facing a more serious neck injury and should consult a physician immediately.
How is Neck Pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis is achieved via physical exam and imaging techniques. An X-ray will be used to examine the physical structures of the neck, with an MRI or CT scan used to examine the soft tissue. A mobility test may also be given for patients with stiffness in the neck.
What are the treatment options for Neck Pain?
The type of treatment best suited to providing relief will be based on what the cause of pain is, as neck strain, injury, or symptoms due to a secondary cause each receive different methods of treatment. Sudden onset neck pain, most likely due to strain, can be treated conservatively with the following methods:
Medication: Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs can assist in relieving neck pain. Patients who do not obtain the desired level of relief with over-the-counter medications may have stronger medications prescribed to them by one of our physicians following their diagnosis.
Physical Therapy: Patients with moderate symptoms may be able to obtain relief with physical therapy practices. These include the application of a heating pad to the neck, typically in sessions lasting between 15 and 20 minutes occurring once every two to three hours. Patients may also receive neck manipulation as their physical therapy, with mechanical traction and exercise proving effective as a therapeutic tool for neck pain (Neck and arm pain: mechanical traction and exercises prove an effective treatment).
Chiropractic Treatment: Patients responding well to neck manipulation can likely receive further relief by attending one or chiropractic treatment sessions. Often, a unique session plan will be developed for the patient by our physicians detailing how many sessions to attend and the goals of treatment. Both acute pain and chronic pain can receive benefit from the application of chiropractic practices (Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain, 2014).
Patients who do not respond well to conservative methods, or who are having pain from specific causes, may require surgical correction to obtain relief. Pain caused by a herniated or bulging disc in particular will typically require invasive means to correct.
Stellate Ganglion Block: The stellate ganglion (nerve cluster) is located between the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. This ganglion is responsible for providing sensation to the surrounding cervical tissue. By blocking the ganglion, therapeutic relief can be given to any of the surrounding tissues that were acting as sources of pain for a patient.
Cervical Sympathetic Block: Only approximately 80% of all patients have the aforementioned stellate ganglion. In patients who do not, a sympathetic block in the cervical region can still be a source of relief, as it is still able to numb the surrounding cervical tissues to stop the delivery of pain signals to the brain (Cervical sympathetic and stellate ganglion blocks, 2000).
Patients who are having headaches as a secondary symptom to their neck pain may be able to obtain symptomatic relief through the use of neurostimulation (Neurostimulation for Neck Pain and Headache, 2014).