The bones and muscles located at the top of your spine work tirelessly to keep your head steady and balanced all day. If this delicate balance is altered due to bad posture at work or sleeping in the wrong position, you may experience neck pain. Treatment for neck pain depends largely on its cause.
Causes of Neck Pain
The neck’s flexibility and the amount of work it must do to support your head contribute to the following problems:
Bone spurs and herniated or compressed discs at the top of your spine may compress nerves that branch out from your spinal cord. This can cause pain or numbness in the neck.
Age-related osteoarthritis can cause the cartilage between vertebrae to wear out, causing neck pain and bone spurs that hinder joint movement.
Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, cancer, and osteoporosis may weaken the bones in the spine resulting in neck pain.
Overusing your neck muscles can cause them to become strained and produce pain. For example, hunching over your computer, gritting your teeth, or even reading in bed may cause your neck muscles to become strained.
Auto accidents, sudden back and forth head jerks, sports-related injuries, and falls are common causes of neck injuries.
NJ Spine and Wellness specializes in sports injury treatment, car accident recovery, slip and fall treatment, as well as workers’ compensation injuries. No matter the injury, our medical staff will work hard to get you back on the road to recovery.
Diagnosing Neck Pain
Determining the cause of your neck pain is the first step in treating it. The NJ Spine and Wellness team will provide a thorough examination of the neck and spine to determine the underlying cause of your pain. Imaging tests may also be recommended to help your doctor reach a diagnosis.
These tests include:
- X-ray: An X-ray may help identify the location of nerves pinched by degeneration or bone spurs.
- CT scan: This imaging test uses x-ray images from many directions to create a detailed cross-section of your neck structure. This allows for a more detailed look at the structures surrounding the spine.
- MRI scan: A MRI will create detailed images of soft tissues, spinal bones, and the nerves branching from the spinal cord.
- Electromyography: This test will help reveal any pinched nerves causing neck pain and detect neuromuscular abnormalities.
Symptoms of Neck Pain
Neck pain can range from moderate to severe and present a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Neck stiffness
- Sharp and radiating pain
- Trouble lifting objects
Treating Neck Pain
While mild cases of neck pain may be treated through self-care at home, more severe cases may require comprehensive care from NJ Spine and Wellness.