PAINS WE TREAT
The neck—or cervical spine—is a coordinated network of nerves, bones, joints, and muscles. It has the important job of providing support and mobility for the head, but sometimes it can become painful.
Neck Pain Range Of Symptoms
Neck pain can range from being minor and easily ignored to excruciating and interfering with daily activities, such as the ability to dress, concentrate, or sleep. Sometimes neck pain can lead to a stiff neck and reduced range of motion.
The duration of neck pain is commonly classified as follows:
- Acute. Pain that lasts less than 4 weeks.
- Subacute. Pain that lasts 4 to 12 weeks.
- Chronic. Pain that lasts 3 or more months.
Neck pain may be sharp and located in one spot, or it might feel less intense but spread across a broader region. Sometimes the pain gets referred up to the head or accompanies a headache. Other times it can be accompanied by muscle spasms in the neck, upper back, or around the shoulder blade. Less commonly, shock-like pain or tingling may radiate down into the shoulder, arm, and/or hand.
Common Neck Pain Signs And Symptoms
- Stiff neck. Soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head from side to side.
- Sharp pain. This pain may be localized to one spot and might feel like it is stabbing or stinging. This type of pain typically occurs in the lower neck.
- General soreness. This discomfort is typically felt in a broader area or region of the neck. It is described as tender or achy, not sharp.
- Radicular pain. This pain can radiate along a nerve from the neck into the shoulder and arm. The intensity can vary and this nerve pain might feel like it is burning or searing.
- Cervical radiculopathy. Neurological deficits—such as problems with reflexes, sensation, or strength—may be experienced in the arm due to nerve root compression. Cervical radiculopathy may also be accompanied by radicular pain.
- Trouble with gripping or lifting objects. This problem can happen if numbness or weakness goes into the arm or fingers.
- Headaches. Sometimes an irritation in the neck can affect muscles and nerves connected to the head.
Therapeutic Injection Procedures
Some cervical spine injections may help provide neck pain relief.
- Trigger point injection. These injections are usually done with no solution injected and use a very thin needle, such as an acupuncture needle. In some cases, a very small amount of local anesthetic may be used to help calm an irritated muscle bundle or trigger point.
- Cervical epidural steroid injection. Using contrast-enhanced fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance), cortisone steroid solution is injected into the cervical epidural space, which is the outer layer of the spinal canal. The goal is to reduce inflammation of nearby nerve roots and tissues, most commonly caused by a disc herniation or other spinal degeneration.
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA). If a facet joint is the confirmed pain source, RFA may be considered. Using fluoroscopy, a special needle is placed near the facet joint’s sensory nerve to create a heat lesion that prevents pain signals from reaching the brain. RFA typically provides longer-lasting relief.
You don’t have to live with Neck pain. Make an appointment with the team at Florida Spine and Pain Institute to treat your shoulder today.