Neck pain is a common, widespread problem which affects up to half of the US adults each year. The neck (cervical spine) is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. The bones and neck muscles support the head and enable motion, and abnormalities, inflammation or injury can result in chronic neck pain and stiffness. Fortunately, leading pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer effective treatment options to address neck pain and stiffness, and restore strength and mobility to the joints.
Common causes of neck pain include muscle strain, overuse injury, nerve compression, worn joints, injuries, and incorrect body posture. Medical conditions like spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, pinched nerves, and herniated discs can also cause pain. The type of pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, burning pain. It can occur anywhere in the neck – from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders, and also spread towards upper back or arms.
Signs and Symptoms
- Pain that gets worse by holding your head in one place for long periods (such as when driving or working at a computer)
- Sharp shooting pain
- Muscle tightness and spasm
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Decreased ability to move your head
- Tingling sensations
- Swishing sounds in the head
- Lymph node (gland) swelling
Diagnosis and Treatment Modalities
Diagnosing neck pain will involve a medical history, physical exam and different types of tests. The physician will ask you about your symptoms and do some basic exams to find the cause of the pain. Range of motion, posture and physical condition will be observed and your reflexes, muscle strength, pain spread and other changes will be examined. Imaging tests such as x-ray and MRI may also be recommended.
Treatment for neck pain will depend on several factors such as age, severity of symptoms, and location of the pain. Based on the diagnosis, the physician will develop a personalized treatment plan that includes a wide variety of treatment modalities.
- Chiropractic care – Chiropractic treatment helps to loosen up the joints of the vertebrae in the neck, which can reduce chronic pain and muscle spasms.
- Physical Therapy (PT) – Therapeutic exercise programs can alleviate pain and muscle stiffness in the region surrounding the neck. Strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises can improve posture and range of motion.
- Cervical epidural injections – These injections reduce inflammation around the irritated nerve and significantly improve pain and function.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Medications like analgesics, corticosteroids, muscle relaxants and antidepressants reduce inflammation and muscle spasm associated with neck pain.
- Game Ready Cold Therapy Compression System – This computer controlled modality combines active compression and cold therapies in a single treatment system. It enhances tissue healing and enables natural muscle contraction, thereby helping to reduce pain.
Proper rehabilitation is necessary to prevent further recurrence of neck pain. Exercising as advised on a regular basis, maintaining posture, and reducing emotional stress can also help.