Neck Pain Specialist Treatment
Dr. Mathew Tung can often diagnose the cause of neck pain after reviewing symptoms and conducting a physical exam. Depending on the onset of pain and the severity of symptoms, imaging studies may be ordered. X-rays or CT/MRI may be conducted to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other disorders. There are many treatment options to alleviate nerve pain, restore spinal stability, and relieve cord compression.
In most instances, surgery is not needed. A variety of treatments can help relieve neck pain symptoms. These include:
- Anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and pain, muscle relaxants to calm spasm, or narcotics to alleviate acute pain
- Physical therapy
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Varying degrees of pain, along with headache and stiffness, are common with soft tissue injuries. Radiculopathy, or “pinched nerve” refers to symptoms resulting from compression of a nerve root. Herniated disc and/or degenerative changes alter the anatomy of the spine, affecting the nerve root branching out from the spinal cord. When the spinal cord itself is compressed or subjected to infection or disease, the symptoms that result are termed myelopathy.
Symptoms of radiculopathy include:
- Pain that radiates to the shoulder, shoulder blade, or 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, using keys)
- Dropping objects (e.g. drinking glasses / coffee mugs)
- A feeling of heaviness or weakness in the affected arm or hand
Neck Pain Causes
Common causes of neck pain include acute and chronic cervical strain or sprain. Neck pain that develops from overuse—such as cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder, or poor posture while working at a computer—is considered neck strain. A forceful injury, such as whiplash, constitutes a neck sprain. Both types of injury can be successfully managed with conservative treatment.
Persistent or recurrent neck pain, accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms or fingers, suggests degenerative changes in the spine. Cervical spondylosis is a collective term describing wear and tear of the joints.
Causes of Neck Pain
- Herniated disc
- Vertebral compression fracture
- Injury to the bones, joints, or ligaments