Chronic neck pain: causes and treatment

If you have chronic neck pain, you understand how this type of pain can interfere with your everyday lifestyle. Simple activities like sleeping and driving can become difficult and painful, leading to a decrease in quality of life. For many, chronic neck pain is accompanied by related issues like headaches as well as numbness, tingling and weakness in the extremities, which only compounds the difficulty of living with this condition.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help you find relief from chronic neck pain. These treatments range from nonsurgical to surgical, but it is critical to first determine the underlying cause of chronic neck pain so treatment can be targeted appropriately.

Causes of chronic neck pain

Neck pain, especially when it is chronic, often results from a pinched or compressed nerve in the cervical (upper) region of the spine. Over time, the natural aging process wears out the parts of the spine, making them less able to withstand the weight and movement placed on them every day. Damaged spinal anatomy can narrow the already tight passages that nerves travel through in the cervical region.

Common conditions that lead to nerve compression and chronic neck pain include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis

In order to diagnose the cause of your chronic pain, you should see your doctor, who will likely perform a physical exam as well as order medical imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan.

Treatment for chronic neck pain

Once the condition is diagnosed, your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan to relieve symptoms and improve your range of motion. Typically, treatments begin conservatively with options like medication, physical therapy, heat and ice or corticosteroid injections. Many patients are able to find long-term relief of neck pain by following a treatment plan and making appropriate healthy life choices like eating properly and getting plenty of exercise.

However, if you are still enduring chronic neck pain after weeks or months of conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to treat your condition.

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery to treat the ongoing pain of a cervical spine condition. Because we take a minimally invasive approach to the spine, our surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures involve a muscle-sparing approach that allows them to be performed on an outpatient basis.

For more information about the advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery for chronic neck pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our dedicated team will be happy to help you receive a no-cost MRI or CT scan* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.