Neck pain causes

Neck pain is a common occurrence for many adults. Whether this condition is present temporarily from muscle strain or chronically from a spine condition, neck pain has the ability to prevent you from enjoying your normal daily activities.

While acute neck pain can be resolved in a few days with rest and pain medication, chronic neck pain can last several months and typically requires a treatment regimen for pain relief. If you’ve noticed your neck pain has lasted several months and has not reduced, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to determine the cause of your pain. There are several possible causes of neck pain, and by diagnosing the specific cause of your pain, your doctor can make an appropriate recommendation for treatment.

Common causes of neck pain

Chronic neck pain is often caused by a degenerative spine condition, which is a condition that develops as the spine naturally wears down with age. These conditions can cause the spine to move out of alignment and press a nearby nerve root, causing your pain and symptoms.

The most common degenerative spine conditions that cause neck pain include:

  • Degenerative disc disease in the neck — This usually develops later in life and can be hereditary.
  • Muscle strain — Perhaps you slept with your head at an awkward angle on your pillow, or you were hunched over the steering wheel for a long drive.
  • Whiplash or fractures — Damage to the cervical vertebrae can be caused by accidents or sudden, drastic shifts in speed.
  • Cervical herniated disc — This occurs when a disc extrudes into the spinal canal and irritates nerves.
  • Osteoarthritis — Also known as facet disease, in this case the cartilage that cushions the vertebrae is deteriorating and the compressed joints between the bones of your spine are causing swelling and irritation.
  • Bone spurs — A potentially painful development of osteoarthritis, bone spurs are formed when the body tries to compensate for the loss of disc cartilage.
  • Cervical spinal stenosis — The spinal column can become constricted by a bone spur or another obstruction, but this usually is a result of wear and tear on the body.

Treatment for chronic neck pain

Chronic neck pain can sometimes be treated with conservative therapies prescribed by your physician. These treatments include physical therapy and pain medication, as well as a number of other nonsurgical options specific to your condition.

Conservative treatments often take several months before lasting relief is experienced. However, if after several months you are still suffering from chronic neck pain, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive procedures are designed to help treat the most common spine conditions by removing pressure from the pinched nerve and maintaining stability in the spine. Because we approach each surgery with minimally invasive techniques, our procedures are considered safer and effective compared to traditional open neck surgery, and our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of infection.

Many of our patients are able to find relief with one of our minimally invasive decompression procedures, which removes part of the damaged disc or other spinal element from pressing against the nerve root. For other patients with more advanced spinal damage, a stabilization procedure may be used to help stabilize the spine using an artificial disc and/or bone graft.

If you would like to know if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan. Let us help you take the next step on your journey to wellness.