Do you suffer from chronic or acute backache, neck pain, or sciatica? You’re not alone. These pain conditions are of the most common reasons for doctor visits and missed work, with about 80 percent of Americans dealing with this problem at some point in their lives. Chronic pain conditions can be the most difficult and costly to treat. While managing pain that originates in the back can be a challenge, there are many treatment options available to you. The Pain Center is here to offer you guidance, support, and a range of treatments.
Pain issues with the spine, such as in the lower, middle, or upper back and neck, are common and can interfere with your daily activities. Injury to the back, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, obesity, and muscle strain can all cause pain. The upper back (neck or cervical spine), middle back (thoracic spine), or lower back (lumbar or sacral spine areas) can be affected, and pain can range from mild to severe.
The first step in treating pain is to understand the underlying cause.
What causes neck problems? Minor injury to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments in the neck are a common cause of pain and typically heal on their own. For example, sleeping in a bad position can cause neck pain that usually self-resolves over a short period of time. Injury, poor posture, and repetitive motions can also cause neck pain.
Other causes of pain stem from within the spine or spinal discs, for example:
● Cervical herniated disc
● Bone spur causing nerve irritation
● Arthritis in the neck
● Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal due to growth or bulging disc)
● Degenerative disc disease
Neck Pain Symptoms and Diagnosis
Neck problems can cause sensations that range from tingling or a dull ache to sudden or sharp pain that prohibits your normal activity. Pain can centers in the neck, or can radiate out to other areas such as the arms. Pain can be minor or severe, and can last a short period and self-correct, or can be chronic (long-term). Neck issues can happen suddenly through an injury such as whiplash, or can develop slowly over time.
Risk factors for developing neck pain include smoking, which can contribute to degeneration of the discs, obesity and poor posture. Labor occupations and unhealthy amounts of sleep can also contribute to pain in the neck area. Other risk factors are trauma (injury), and age-related changes to the spine such as arthritis. Symptoms may include (but are not limited to):
● Difficulty turning the head
● Neck spine pain, pain in the neck, severe neck ache
● Radiating pain to other areas of the body
● Tingling in the arms or fingers
● Numbness in the upper limbs
● Shooting pain in the neck
●Pain in the center back of neck
● Degenerative disc disease
Specialties that can help address cervical spine pain include general and family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedics, pain management, physical therapists, and chiropractors, among other groups.
To diagnose the source of your pain, your doctor or pain management specialist will ask you questions about your health and history and do a physical examination. Other tests that can help diagnose the source of your pain include X-rays, MRI scan, CT scan and blood tests.
How to Treat Neck Pain
Looking for ways to get neck pain relief? There are many treatment options and a range of therapeutic approaches.
The best pain relief method for you will depend on your individual situation, such as the cause and severity of your pain. Treatments such as ice, rest, muscle relaxants and over-the counter pain medications may give you some relief. Prescription anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDS) may be prescribed if necessary. Sometimes additional therapy is required, such as physical therapy, steroid injections, and/or nerve pain medications.