Cervical Pain: Types, Causes and Treatment
Cervical pain refers to pain or discomfort that occurs in the neck region, which is the part of the spine located in the upper back and connects the head to the rest of the body. It is a common issue that can affect people of all ages and may result from various causes.
The discomfort due to cervical pain can significantly impair with your daily activities and deteriorate your quality of life if not timely treated. The pain becomes more intense if you face persistent ache, a burning or stabbing pain, or a shooting pain that goes from neck to arms or shoulders. The treatment of this condition will involve a head specialist who will eliminate the critical causes of cervical pain, like cancer or infection, myelopathy, or spinal cord. They will suggest Cervical Pain treatment that may include physical therapy, muscle relaxers and pain medications, steroid injections, surgery, alternative therapies, or a Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit. You must seek immediate treatment from a head specialist if you encounter cervical pain after an accident, or a loss of bowel or bladder control.
Some of the common causes of cervical pain include:
- Muscle Strain or Sprain: Overuse, poor posture, or sudden movements can strain or sprain the muscles and ligaments in the neck, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: As people age, the intervertebral discs in the cervical spine may undergo wear and tear, leading to degeneration, which can cause pain and reduced flexibility.
- Herniated Disc: A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center of a spinal disc pushes through the disc's outer layer and presses on nearby nerves, causing pain and sometimes tingling or weakness in the arms.
- Cervical Spondylosis: This is a type of arthritis affecting the neck vertebrae, leading to pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. You must immediately visit a head specialist doctor if you are experiencing any signs of cervical spondylosis.
- Cervical Radiculopathy: Compression or irritation of the nerves as they exit the cervical spine can cause pain that radiates down the arm and sometimes into the hand.
- Whiplash: A sudden, forceful movement of the neck, often occurring during car accidents, can cause soft tissue injuries and result in neck pain.
- Cervical Strain: Straining the neck muscles due to poor posture, overuse, or injury can lead to pain and discomfort.
- Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal in the cervical region can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain and other neurological symptoms.
- Infections and Inflammation: Infections or inflammation in the neck region can also lead to pain.
Cervical pain can manifest in various ways and be categorized into different types based on its underlying cause and characteristics. Let’s look at common types of cervical pain and based on that you can consult with a head specialist doctor in Patna for accurate treatment.
- Muscle Strain or Sprain: This type of cervical pain is often caused by overuse, poor posture, or sudden movements that strain or sprain the muscles and ligaments in the neck. It is commonly referred to as "neck strain" and can lead to localized pain and stiffness.
- Cervical Radiculopathy: Cervical radiculopathy occurs when the nerves in the cervical spine become compressed or irritated, often due to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. This can lead to pain that radiates down the arm and sometimes into the hand or fingers. The pain follows the path of the affected nerve and is often accompanied by tingling, numbness, and weakness in the affected arm.
- Cervical Spondylosis: Also known as degenerative cervical osteoarthritis, cervical spondylosis is a type of arthritis that affects the cervical spine. It is characterized by the degeneration of the intervertebral discs and the development of bone spurs (osteophytes). This condition can cause neck pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. If you are experiencing this kind of restricted mobility or pain then make sure to see a head specialist near me.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is an injury to the neck that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked backward and then forward, often due to a car accident or sports injury. This rapid movement can cause soft tissue damage in the neck, resulting in pain, stiffness, and sometimes headaches.
- Cervical Strain: Cervical strain refers to a type of cervical pain caused by straining the neck muscles due to poor posture, overuse, or injury. It can lead to localized pain, tenderness, and muscle spasms in the neck.
- Cervical Disc Herniation: A herniated disc in the cervical spine occurs when the gel-like center of a spinal disc protrudes through the disc's outer layer and presses on nearby nerves. This can cause neck pain as well as pain, tingling, and weakness in the arms and hands.
- Cervical Spinal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal in the cervical region. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain, weakness, and other neurological symptoms. Neglecting cervical spinal stenosis can be very dangerous to your health. So make sure you get timely Cervical treatment in Patna.
- Cervical Infections and Inflammation: Infections or inflammatory conditions affecting the neck can also cause cervical pain.
The symptoms of cervical pain can vary depending on the underlying cause but commonly include:
- Neck pain that may be sharp, dull, or achy
- Stiffness in the neck
- Limited range of motion in the neck
- Headaches, especially radiating from the neck
- Pain that worsens with certain movements or positions
- Pain that may radiate to the shoulders, arms, or upper back
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or hands in some cases
If you are experiencing persistent or severe cervical pain or if your pain is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like weakness or difficulty with balance or coordination, it's important to seek medical evaluation and diagnosis. A head specialist doctor can determine the underlying cause of your cervical pain and recommend appropriate treatment tailored to your specific condition.
The treatment of cervical pain depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. For mild to moderate cervical pain, several conservative treatment options can be effective in relieving pain and promoting healing. However, if you are experiencing persistent or severe cervical pain or if your pain is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's important to consult a head specialist for a proper evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Here are some common treatments for cervical pain:
- Rest: Taking a break from activities that aggravate the pain can allow the neck muscles to rest and heal. Avoid prolonged sitting in front of a computer or engaging in activities that strain the neck.
- Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying a heating pad or warm compress to the neck can help relax tense muscles and improve blood circulation. Alternatively, using an ice pack wrapped in a cloth can reduce inflammation and numb the area. Use each therapy for about 15-20 minutes at a time, with a gap between applications. This kind of Cervical Pain treatment proves to be the most effective if you adopt it promptly and properly.
- Over-the-Counter Pain Medications: Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Follow the recommended dosage and consult a head specialist if you have any medical conditions or are taking other medications.
- Neck Exercises and Stretches: Gentle neck exercises and stretches can help improve flexibility and strengthen the neck muscles. A head specialist can suggest you specific exercises tailored to your condition.
- Posture Correction: Maintaining good posture can help prevent further strain on the neck. Use ergonomic supports while sitting, such as an adjustable chair and monitor height.
- Massage Therapy: Massage can help relax tense muscles and promote blood circulation in the affected area, potentially reducing pain.
- Physical Therapy: A head specialist doctor in Patna can provide specialized treatments, exercises, and manual techniques to address the underlying causes of cervical pain and improve neck function.
- Medications: In some cases, prescription medications like muscle relaxants or corticosteroids may be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.
- Cervical Traction: Cervical traction involves gentle stretching of the neck to relieve pressure on the discs and nerves.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): TENS uses a small device to deliver electrical impulses to the affected area, which may help reduce pain.
- Supportive Pillows: Using a supportive pillow that keeps your neck in a neutral position while sleeping can help improve neck alignment and reduce pain.
- Stress Reduction: Stress can contribute to muscle tension. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga may help reduce neck pain caused by stress.
- Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.
For more severe cases or when conservative treatments are not effective, your head specialist doctor may recommend further evaluation or interventions, such as advanced imaging, cervical epidural injections, or in rare cases, surgery.
It’s quite easy to neglect the significant work your neck does, until you encounter cervical pain. It is common for patients to experience limited neck movements along with restricted parts of muscle tenderness typically called trigger points. A head specialist can eliminate the cause of the damage to your spine and avoid further occurrence. The patients may face various levels of severity of this pain, from mild to severe. Each level boasts its unique ways of treatments. Make sure to thoroughly express the discomfort and symptoms of cervical pain you are facing, so that your head specialist can accurately diagnose it.