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neck pain

Understanding the Causes of Chronic Neck Pain – and How They Are Treated

Cervical spine pain, which is most often referred to as just neck pain, is one of the most common medical complaints in the United States. Finding out the underlying cause of neck pain helps determine your treatment options.

The medical professionals who are most qualified to diagnose and treat neck pain are The Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center spine specialists. Their education, experience, and skills allow them to make accurate diagnoses and create customized treatment plans.  We also have 5 offices located throughout Fairfield County, CT.


Common Causes of Chronic Neck Pain

Certain injuries and medical conditions can cause neck pain. The most common injuries include the following:

-Muscle strains

-Ligament sprains

-Cervical compression fractures

-Cervical disc herniations

-Cervical stenosis

Strains and sprains typically heal after a short period of active recovery and icing.

Compression fractures and vertebral fractures can heal according to their severity and the medical condition of the patient.  However, it is always best to contact an orthopedic spine specialist to determine the severity of the fracture and to create a treatment plan.

However, sometimes neck pain can be caused by a more serious spinal condition that should be addressed by one of our spine specialists.  These can include:

  1. Vertebral osteoarthritis. The wear and tear of vertebral bone, associated joints and soft tissue.
  2. Degenerative disc disease. The weakening of the intervertebral discs that reduce the load placed on adjacent vertebrae.
  3. Spinal stenosis. The narrowing of the spinal canal and subsequent pinching of the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots.
  4. A herniated disc. An intervertebral disc that has herniated posteriorly (towards the back of the body) into the spinal canal.

An important part of treating these conditions is recognizing their symptoms.


Symptoms of Chronic Neck Pain

Neck pain can range in severity and each patient may experience varying levels of pain based on their condition and overall pain tolerance. Other symptoms that may accompany pain include the following:


-Decreased range of motion

-Muscle tightness

-Upper extremity pain, weakness, and/or numbness

These symptoms and the condition that causes them can be controlled using appropriate treatment options prescribed by an orthopedic spine specialist.


Treatment Options for Chronic Neck Pain

The majority of cases of neck pain are effectively treated using nonsurgical treatment options. Usually, our spine specialists use a conservative initial treatment plan that includes any or any combination of the following:

-Activity modification

-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

-Pain medications

-Physical therapy

-Steroid injections and/or other interventional procedures

If neck pain does not respond to nonsurgical treatment options or increases in severity, our Orthopedic Spine Specialist may recommend surgical treatment options. Surgeries used to treat neck pain can now be performed with a minimal invasive technique. The following are the most commonly performed minimally invasive spine surgeries:

-Cervical discectomy

-Cervical disc replacement

-Nerve decompression

-Cervical fusion


Seeking Treatment for Neck Pain

Patients who are experiencing neck pain and associated symptoms are encouraged to make an appointment with one of our trusted spine specialists to learn what treatment option is perfect for their condition.  With 5 locations in Fairfield County, CT scheduling an appointment is easier than ever.