Neck pain can be caused by soft tissue injuries like sprains or strains to tendons, ligaments or muscles, but some neck pain can also arise as a result of nerve injury in the cervical spine, the upper portion of the spine that travels through the neck. Whiplash is a good example of nerve injury in the cervical spine, occurring when a sudden force causes the neck to snap forward and backward, tearing or bruising soft tissues and nerves. Slipped or herniated discs in the cervical spine can also cause neck pain, sometimes accompanied by numbness or tingling sensations that extend into the shoulders or arms. Other times, neck pain can be caused by arthritis (cervical spondylosis), cervical stenosis or degenerative diseases of the spine, or from poor posture when sitting or standing.
Physical examination of the neck is the first step in determining the cause of neck pain, and diagnostic imaging can provide more in-depth detail to identify the specific cause.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes narrowing of the spaces in the spine that carry the nerves. As these areas become narrower, they can press on the nerves in the spine, resulting in low pain as well as pain, numbness and tingling extending along the never pathway. When stenosis occurs in the area of the spine that comprises the neck, it's called cervical stenosis.
Some types of neck pain will resolve on their own with conservative treatments, like oral pain and anti-inflammatory medications, injections into the areas around the irritated nerve to reduce swelling and promote healing, and therapeutic exercises to help restore flexibility and pain-free range of motion. When symptoms are severe and more conservative approaches aren't effective, surgery may be required. Many issues requiring surgery can be treated using minimally-invasive approaches for fewer complications and faster healing.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!