You don’t have to be an athlete to feel significant impact of neck pain. More than 7.6 million patients in the U.S. seek medical help annually for painful neck conditions, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Causes of neck pain vary widely, from sports injury or trauma to degenerative illness.
Types of neck pain
Each vertebra of the cervical spine, more commonly known as the neck, rests on ligaments and discs to provide essential stability for your head, as well as mobility for your entire body.
If not properly treated, cervical disc problems can result in chronic neck pain, pain radiating down the arms or legs, headaches, numbness, weakness, tingling, and difficulty moving.
Patients suffer from neck pain or cervical spine disorders of all types, including:
- Neck sprain
- Pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy)
- Neck muscle or ligament strain
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- Herniated disc
- Sports injury (concussion)
- Automobile accident (whiplash)
- Impact injury from a fall
- Congenital torticollis (twisted neck)
- Spondylosis (cervical disc degeneration)
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Spinal fracture
- Infection (meningitis)
Your next steps to stop neck pain
Most importantly, make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital – Arlington provides a world-class team of orthopedic doctors, spine specialists and orthopedic surgeons who can accurately assess your neck problem using our advanced diagnostic imaging technology.
If your neck pain is the result of a traumatic injury such as a car accident or fall, our emergency department is open 24/7/365.
Make a list of symptoms and medications
Write down when your neck pain started and if an injury or trauma was involved. Tell your orthopedic specialist what medications you are taking and what movements make your neck pain better or worse. Also mention if other areas of your body are affected by your neck disorder, such as back pain, headaches, or tingling in the legs and arms.
Discuss all possible treatment options
Once your orthopedic spine specialist has fully assessed your neck pain through a physical exam and any related tests, you will receive a diagnosis and recommended treatment options.
For mild cervical spine disorders or neck strain, your physician may recommend noninvasive treatments. Some cases of neck pain respond well to:
- Application of ice or heat
- Pain management medication
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Stretching exercises
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle adjustments, such as correct posture, ergonomic desk seating, pillows, or different sleep positions
More severe neck pain caused by sports injury, trauma or diseases such as spondylosis (cervical disc degeneration) may prompt your spine specialist to recommend steroid injections or orthopedic spine surgery.
You should consider your age, medical history, level of pain, risk factors and severity of your neck condition before having any type of surgery. Your doctor will help you make an informed decision on whether orthopedic spine surgery would be the best choice for you.
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