Because neck pain can have many underlying causes, it can be hard to isolate them. Most minor cases of neck pain are often caused by a muscle strain or ligament sprain while the symptoms tend to subside in a short period of time usually. However if pain continues or reoccurs, it may be an indication of a serious condition like a herniated disc causing nerve compression in the cervical region of the spine or even arthritis. In this article we’ll explore some of the most common causes of neck pain.
If you are experiencing neck pain for more than a few days or a week, contact your doctor for diagnosis and potential treatment. This article will provide further information about the different spine conditions that can potentially lead to neck pain so you can become more involved in the diagnostic process and better get the help you need for lasting relief.
How spine conditions cause neck pain?
The neck or cervical spine is designed to allow for fine movements and motion while protecting the spinal cord and being strong enough to support the head. Factors like age, injury, posture and genetics can all lead to the degeneration of the cervical spine, such as the joints and discs. Degenerative discs and joints are not necessarily painful by themselves, but they can constrict the spinal canal and nerve-root exits, leading to painful nerve compression. Some spine conditions known as common causes of neck pain include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bone spurs
Spine specialists attempt to diagnose neck pain causes using a systematic approach that can include a physical exam, X-rays, MRI, a neurological exam, blood testing, bone scans, electromyography (EMG), discogram or myelogram.
Treatment options for neck pain
Like most spine conditions, your physician will usually recommend a course of conservative treatment options for neck pain including rest, ice packs, heating pads, physical therapy, over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine and anti-inflammatory injections.If the symptoms do not improve with the conservative approach, your physician might suggest surgery as an option.