Painful neck? It’s terrible, it’s annoying, and it’s pretty common.
Sometimes the pain is simply caused by a bad pillow and can disappear without treatment. Occasionally neck pain lasts for weeks or months, drastically limits your ability to move your head, and radiates into the shoulders. These could be signs of a more serious medical condition.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Acute neck pain can result when neck muscles and ligaments are subjected to quick and unnatural movements in auto accident whiplashes or trauma during sports. Chronic neck pain is often triggered by spinal disorders and diseases.
Surrounding soft tissues or bones create pressure that compresses a nerve. Once it becomes, pain can attack your neck, shoulders, arms and hand. This ache can be accompanied by muscle numbness and weakness.
DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE
Between the vertebrae of your spin exists discs of cartilage that pad the bones and protect them from shock. A degenerative disc disease can change the discs in your cervical spine in terms of shape and strength. When a bulging disc or a herniated disc results, it can press on a nerve root, causing pain, numbness and tingling.
OSTEOARTHRITIS OR CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS
This is a leading cause of chronic neck pain. It happens when the cartilage and pads of the vertebrae begin to deteriorate, and when the compressed joints in the middle of the vertebrae generate irritation and swelling. Daily overuse over several years may result to osteoarthritis. The condition also makes your spinal discs thinner and the spaces in the middle of the vertebrae narrower.
CERVICAL SPINAL STENOSIS
This is described as abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal triggered by a bone spur or a herniated disc. The two can also compress a nerve root, causing pain. The narrowing of the nerve pathways in your upper spine and the compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots is a process that takes place gradually. If nerves are under pressure, symptoms such as pain in arms, hands or legs, tingling and numbness can occur. A bone spur protrusion can constrict your spinal column too, due to normal wear and tear that occurs due to the aging process.
If a spinal disc is compressed to a point of breaking, opening and spilling its inner disc fluid into the spinal canal, that’s a herniated disc. Chronic pain may occur and travel down your arm and affect your jaw and/or head. There are variations when it comes to disc herniation, such that some can cause occasional facial numbness and others increased pressure on a nerve root. Herniated discs are a major cause of chronic neck pain and pain in other body organs.
Treatments for Neck Pain
Several methods of treating an aching neck exist. It is up to pain management specialists to determine the right treatment for you.
Intrathecal pump is a method of giving medication directly to your spinal cord. A round metal device about the size of a hockey puck is surgically placed under the skin of your abdomen. A small plastic tube is connected to the pump and delivers medication to the area around your spinal cord.
The pump slowly and consistently releases medication over a period of time. It can be programmed to release different amounts of medication at different times of the day, depending on your changing needs. When the reservoir is empty, Dr. Salazar simply refills the pump. This procedure is completely reversible if you ever decide to have the pump removed.
Intrathecal pumps work more efficiently than oral medication. In fact, your symptoms can be controlled with 1/300 the amount of medication than when taken orally. Less medication, fewer side effects.
We currently manage over 600 intrathecal drug delivery devices.
Stimwave therapy uses a wireless and fully programmable device to deliver stimulation to your nerves to treat pain at its source. The device is placed with a needle next to the target nerves. You control the stimulation with a Wearable Antenna that can be clipped to your clothing. The stimulation can be programmed to personalize your pain relief on your cell phone.
Stimwave therapy can target pain anywhere on your body. With Stimwave therapy, you can experience relief from your pain, decreased medication usage, and an improved quality of life.
Spinal Cord Stimulator
Spinal cord stimulator interrupts pain signals before they reach the brain. SCS systems have a stimulator and thin wires that are implanted into your body. The stimulator delivers tiny pulses of mild electric current through the wires to specific nerves on the spinal cord. These impulses mask pain signals traveling to the brain.
A remote control allows you to turn stimulation on and off, increase and decrease the level of stimulation, and target different pain areas in your body using settings or programs designed specifically for you. Spinal cord stimulator systems can reduce your pain by more than 50%.
Cervical epidural steroid injection
A steroid drug will be injected to the epidural space of your spine to minimize pain and inflammation. People who receive these shots normally have arthritis, spinal stenosis and/herniated discs that exert pressure on their nerves, causing pain, swelling, inflammation and discomfort. When a cervical epidural steroid injection is provided, these symptoms can disappear.
Cervical facet block (medial branch block) injection
A tiny amount of local anesthetic drug and steroid medicine is injected into certain facet joints in your cervical spine. A fluoroscopic guide may be used for proper imaging. After the shot, the facet joint is numbed and the pain is blocked. About one or two cervical facet block injections are enough in most cases.
Trigger point injections
Trigger points are alternatively called sensitive areas. They are usually found deep inside a connective tissue or muscle and ache when touched or overused. They appear in the form of knots or bands that occur when muscles are too contracted and can’t relax. There are trigger points in your shoulders and head too that can cause a lot of pain. A needle is inserted into a trigger point to deposit a local anesthetic drug and corticosteroid drug.