- Smoking - clearly linked to increased neck pain.
- Occupation - jobs with lots of neck motion and overhead work.
- Mental health issues - depression/anxiety.
- Injuries/trauma - car wreck or on-the-job injury.
- Loss of sensation or abnormal sensations of the shoulders, arms, or legs.
- Weakness of the arms or legs.
- Neck stiffness that progressively becomes worse.
- Loss of balance.
- Headaches, particularly in the back of the head.
- Muscle spasms.
- Loss of control of the bladder or bowels (if spinal cord is compressed).
- You may feel or hear grinding or popping in the neck when you move.
- General tiredness and anxiety - can be present.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This study can create better images of soft tissues, such as muscles, disks, nerves, and the spinal cord.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: This specialized x-ray study allows careful evaluation of the bone and spinal canal.
- Myelography: This specific x-ray study involves injecting dye or contrast material into the spinal canal. It allows for careful evaluation of the spinal canal and nerve roots.
- Electromyography (EMG): Nerve conduction studies and electromyography may be performed by another doctor to look for nerve damage or pinching.
- Operative Treatment.
- Physical Therapy.
- Homeopathic Systems.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Often prescribed with acetaminophen, drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen are considered first-line medicines for neck pain. They address both pain and swelling, and may be prescribed for a number of weeks, depending on the specific problem. Other types of pain medicines can be considered if you have serious contraindications to NSAIDs, or your pain is not well controlled.
- Muscle relaxants: Medications such as cyclobenzaprine or carisoprodol can also be used in the case of painful muscle spasms.
- Ice, heat, other modalities: Careful use of ice, heat, massage, and other local therapies can help relieve symptoms.
- Steroid-Based Injections: Many patients find short-term pain relief from steroid injections. Various types of these injections are routinely performed. The most common procedures for neck pain include:
- Cervical epidural block: In this procedure, steroid and anesthetic medicine is injected into the space next to the covering of the spinal cord ("epidural" space). This procedure is typically used for neck and/ or arm pain that may be due to a cervical disk herniation, also known as radiculopathy or a "pinched nerve."
- Cervical facet joint block: Steroid and anesthetic medicine is injected into the capsule of the facet joint in this procedure. The facet joints are located in the back of the neck and provide stability and movement. These joints can develop arthritic changes that may contribute to neck pain.
- Medial branch block and radiofrequency ablation: This procedure is used in some cases of chronic neck pain. It can be used for both diagnosis and treatment of a potentially painful joint.
- The disorder is causing spinal cord dysfunction.
- The disorder is causing prolonged arm pain or weakness.
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