Finding relief for neck pain
What is neck pain?
If you are here, you are probably experiencing aches and pains somewhere along your neck. Many people experience neck pain and stiffness, which can develop from a range of causes and conditions. Neck pain and soreness could be a result of poor posture, recent injury, or overuse. While most neck pain is temporary and is not serious, prolonged pain may indicate serious injury or illness and should be assessed by a medical provider.
Although it is common to experience neck pain, you don’t have to live with the pain -- we can help!
The most common causes of neck pain
Bad posture, weak abdominal muscles, sleeping habits, obesity, working at a desk, looking at your mobile devices -- all of these daily activities can lead to pain or stiffness in your neck. Even stress or emotion tension can cause muscle stiffness in your neck.
Automobile accidents often result in whiplash, which results in unnatural movements that can injure the structures of your neck. Sports and exercise injuries can also lead to straining your neck and its supportive structures.
As we age, various structures in our body grow weaker and more susceptible to injury. In addition, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and other degenerative disorders can affect your spine as you age.
Anatomy of the neck
Your neck is in an area of the spine called the cervical spine. It is made up of seven vertebrae extending from the upper torso to the back of the skull. Between each vertebrae there are cervical discs that help absorb shock between the bones. There are additional supportive structures such as ligaments and muscles that all work together to support your head and allow for proper movement.
Why is my neck hurting?
Pain or stiffness in the neck can be caused by a variety of conditions, disorders, injuries and illnesses. That is why the best treatment outcomes depend on proper diagnosis. The providers at HPM are highly trained and specialize in accurate diagnosis and successful treatment of many painful conditions.
Some causes of neck pain include:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Poor sleeping position
- Sports injuries
- Herniated discs
- Neck strain
- Pinched nerves
- Viral infections (lymph node swelling and neck pain)
- Other rare conditions like meningitis, fibromyalgia, polymyalgia rheumatica
Different types of neck pain
Everyone experiences pain differently. Neck pain can range from mild to excruciating. Some people can easily ignore the pain, while others daily lives are affected. When neck pain leads to a stiff neck, your range of motion can also be compromised, making it hard to dress yourself, sleep, or concentrate on your daily activities. Neck pain is usually classified into the following types based on duration:
- Acute pain: lasts less than 4 weeks.
- Subacute pain: lasts 4-12 weeks.
- Chronic pain: lasts 3 or more months.
How is neck pain diagnosed?
Accurate diagnosis is very important when determining the best treatment plan for your neck pain. You can expect a complete medical history and physical exam to help understand your unique situation and to identify any serious conditions that may be causing your neck pain. During the exam, a health care provider may ask you questions such as:
- How long have you experienced neck pain?
- What have you tried to relieve your neck pain?
- Are there any activities that may have caused the pain?
- Does your neck pain travel to other parts of your body?
- Does anything make the pain worse or better?
Your provider will conduct a physical examination to evaluate your posture, range of motion, and overall physical condition. You can expect your provider to carefully evaluate your spine health, vertebrae alignment, and back muscles. Your provider may also order labs to help in the assessment, which may include:
- Blood tests
- CT scans
- MRI scans
- Electromyography (muscles)
- lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
Treatment options for neck pain
We understand how neck pain can be debilitating, and your quality of life is our primary concern. Once we diagnose the cause of your pain, we can work to build a custom treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. Treatments options for neck pain may include:
- Cervical epidural injection
- Cervical trigger point injection
- Cervical facet joint rhizotomy
- Cervical facet joint block
- Medial branch block
- Occipital nerve block