Your neck performs a monumental task that’s somewhat akin to balancing a bowling ball on your fingertips all day long. Although the seven small bones that make up your cervical spine help you hold up your head and move it with ease, even a minor variation in their relationship can cause restricted mobility and pain. Pain medicine specialist Dr. David Wu strives to help patients in Torrance, California, and the greater Los Angeles area get to the root of neck pain. To schedule a visit with Dr. Wu, call or click ‘Request Appointment’ today.
As with any joint that allows for a wide range of motion, your cervical spine is susceptible to a wide range of problems.
Muscle strain is a common cause of neck pain that often comes from spending a lot of time hunched over your computer or phone. You also can develop chronic neck pain from a misalignment in your lower back that causes your cervical spine to compensate and shift off-center.
Whiplash, which is caused by a forceful movement that makes your head rebound and compresses your neck and spine, is a common cause of trauma-related neck pain. Whiplash also may injure the surrounding tissues, leading to stiffness and restricted mobility.
Other reasons for persistent neck pain include nerve compression, which may be triggered by a herniated disc, and chronic stress, which can cause painful muscle spasms.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within the spinal canal become narrower, often putting pressure on the nerves rooted there.
Although this condition also can occur in the lower back, it’s a common neck problem. When spinal stenosis affects your neck, it’s called cervical stenosis. Cervical stenosis eventually can cause:
Early on, spinal stenosis may not cause symptoms. When symptoms begin to appear, they’re likely to gradually worsen without treatment.
Cervical radiculopathy is a common spinal condition that develops from the normal wear and tear of daily use. Many patients with this degenerative disorder don’t experience symptoms that are severe enough to warrant treatment.
When cervical radiculopathy does cause symptoms, however, it’s usually in the form of shooting pain, numbness, or weakness that radiates from your neck, through your shoulder, down your arm, and sometimes into your hand.
Because a wide range of problems can contribute to neck pain, treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis that uncovers the root of the problem.
A variety of noninvasive treatments can be very effective for managing the conditions that cause neck pain; finding the right approach depends on the cause, location, and severity of your pain.
Dr. Wu specializes in radiofrequency therapy (RFA) as a method of effectively treating neck pain. With the use of St. Jude Medical’s SimplicityTM Probe, radio wave technology decreases pain signals in a targeted nerve area.
Physical therapy can help you build strength and endurance while maintaining a flexible, stable spine, and over-the-counter pain relievers and steroid injections can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Given enough time and with the right treatment approach, most types of neck pain eventually can be resolved.