Neck Pain

Introduction

The neck is composed of vertebrae beginning in the upper torso and ending at the base of the skull. Muscles in the neck allow for both support and motion of the head. Since the neck is less protected, as compared to the rest of the spine, is it often vulnerable to injury. Neck pain can be a temporary ailment that lessens over time, however there are instances of severe neck pain where medical intervention is required to relieve symptoms. Medical attention should always be sought when an injury causes neck pain, weakness or numbness that radiates down the arms and/or legs.

The cause of neck pain is often the result of abnormalities in soft tissue (muscles, ligaments and nerves) or in the bones and discs of the spine, abnormalities in the bone or joints, poor posture, diseases that cause deterioration, tumors and muscle strain. One of the most common causes is a sprain or prolonged wear and tear on the neck. Other causes of neck pain are injuries as the result of motor vehicle accidents, diving accidents, contact sports, and falls. Neck problems can also cause pain in the upper back, shoulders and arms.

Treatment for neck pain may include pain medication, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and/or physical therapy. If conservative management fails, interventional pain management procedures may be considered. These include trigger point injections, cervical epidural injections followed by surgical intervention. Other treatment options include range of motion exercises and cervical traction.

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