Cervical / Neck Pain Overview
With the neck, the most common problems are related to the discs located between the bones and the muscles in the neck. Neck pain or cervical pain, can lead to pain and problems in the entire body if the spinal cord is compressed. We have customized programs to reduce or eliminate neck pain all together. Neck pain can be acute, which means it only lasts a short period of time. It can also be chronic, meaning it lasts for an extended period of time, such as several weeks or longer. Most causes of neck pain are not serious, for example – poor posture while working, leaning into a computer all day, or hunching over a workbench can cause neck pain. Other common causes can be: muscle strains, worn joints, disc disorders or injuries. Many times, injuries can cause a patient to experience neck pain, such as whiplash caused by a car accident.
Cervical / Neck Pain Symptoms
Symptoms of neck/cervical pain take on many, diverse forms. They may include the following signs:
- Sharp pain, or dull pain in the neck region
- Shoulder pain, accompanying the neck pain, in some cases
- Back pain, accompanying the neck pain, in some cases
- Headaches or dizziness
Cervical / Neck Pain Diagnosis and Treatment
The providers at Michigan Spine & Pain use a variety of methods to diagnose a patient’s neck pain, such as medical history, a complete physical exam, x-rays, MRI, CT scan, electrodiagnostics, bone scans , discography and many other methods. Many patients who are experiencing neck pain can manage their pain level with traditional methods. At Michigan Spine & Pain, we use the following treatment methods to develop a treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs and condition:
- Physical Therapy. Working with a physical therapist can help build strength and endurance in order to maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine.
- Acupuncture. An acupuncture program can help a patient manage their pain in many cases. Acupuncture is a health science that can be used successfully to treat pain and dysfunction in the body. Acupuncture’s goal is to restore normalcy to the body’s energy balance by utilizing a combination of Acupoints located on the twelve meridians. This can be accomplished by a variety of means, the needle is just one.
- Injections. The epidural space is located between the spine and vertebrae. Medication such as corticsoteriod or local anesthetic is injected into this space by way of a needle. It can block the inflammatory chemicals that sensitize nerves and nerve receptors, and thus in many cases – help to reduce pain.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic care is an important part of our treatment plans at Michigan Spine and Pain. Our medical doctors recognize the benefits of chiropractic care, and work with our chiropractor to reduce pain and improve function quickly.
- Massage Therapy. During a massage, a trained, clinical massage practitioner manipulates muscles in the body. This, combined with a full pain management treatment plan, can provide relief. It is a safe procedure that is only performed by one of Michigan Spine & Pain’s licensed massage therapists.
- Pain Management. Pain Management is an overall approach and philosophy to treating chronic pain conditions. Medications can be an important part of this approach. All of the physicians at Michigan Spine and Pain are Board Certified and have years of experience with acute and chronic pain conditions.
- Pain Psychology. Pain Psychology/Social Work is integral to our treatment plans. Pain is something our patients experience 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This constant battle is depressing and debilitating. Patients and their families may also have lost income or relationships due to injury or illness. At Michigan Spine and Pain we believe it is important to address these issues along with the physical issues.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). Electrodes placed the skin near the painful areas deliver tiny electrical impulses that may relieve pain.
- Gentle Stretching. By gently moving the neck from side to side and holding for about 30 seconds, and by stretching the neck in as many directions as it will allow, can help to reduce some neck pain.
Cervical / Neck Pain Prevention
Neck pain is commonly associated with poor posture and age related wear. There are many ways that individuals can prevent neck pain. First and foremost, by always keeping the head centered over the spine, allowing gravity to work with the next as opposed to against it, progressive neck pain can be prevented. Some other simple prevention methods include:
- Adjust your desk, chair, and workspace to be ergonomically correct.
- Avoid tucking the phone between the ear and shoulder when talking.
- Stretch frequently
- Avoid sleeping on the stomach