Neck Pain

Neck Pain Overview

Neck pain is a common orthopedic issue. The neck muscles can be strained from poor posture, pulled from physical activity, or other health conditions may affect it, such as osteoarthritis.

Neck pain is a common type of pain that nearly everyone experiences at some point in their life. A spine specialist should see neck pain that lasts more than a few days. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (CONA) spine specialists make accurate diagnoses and prescribe neck pain-reducing treatment plans.

Neck Pain Symptoms & Causes

Neck pain symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle tightness
  • Pain that is worse when the head is held still for prolonged periods
  • Stiffness

Common neck pain causes are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor posture
  • Weak neck muscles

Rarely, neck pain is a symptom of a more serious problem. However, there are some cases in which neck pain may point to a more serious issue; in this case, such as after a motor vehicle accident, it is vital to see your doctor. 

    Common Treatments for Neck Pain

    The most common types of mild to moderate neck pain typically respond well to self-care and exercises within two or three weeks. However, some may need some intervention with your doctor. 

    Nonsurgical treatment options treat neck pain. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA spine specialist may recommend:

    • Physical Therapy – A therapist can help teach you proper posture, alignment, and neck strengthening exercises. Heat, ice, stimulation, and others can help ease the pain and allow room for improvement. 
    • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – Electrodes are placed on the skin near the affected area and administers tiny electrical impulses to help relieve pain.
    • Short-term Immobilization – A soft collar to help support the neck may relieve pain by taking pressure off the structures in the neck. 
    • Steroid Injections – Your doctor may inject corticosteroid medications into the neck in different locations to help relieve pain.
    • Surgery – Rarely needed for neck pain; however, surgery might be an option for someone suffering neck pain due to nerve root or spinal cord compression.

    Surgery is not recommended for general neck pain. In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be offered instead for fast-acting pain relief.

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