Urgent Care - Gardendale
210 Fieldstown Road, Suite 124
Gardendale, AL 35071
205-285-8252
 

Your cervical spine connects your brain stem to your spinal cord. It is an area rich in blood vessels and other soft tissue, such as ligament and tendons. Neck pain is slightly less common than back pain, but no less important or treatable.

Common causes of neck pain include, but are not limited to:

  • Cervical herniated disc.
  • Cervical stenosis, which is caused by a herniated disc or degenerative joint, can cause pain to radiate down the arm, and lead to shooting pain and coordination problems in the arms and legs.
  • Muscle strain degeneration of the facet joint cartilage.
  • Osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints, such as hips and knees.

A sprain of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the neck area usually causes acute neck pain. Vehicular accidents, repeated carrying of heavy items (such as luggage), or awkward sleeping positions are often the culprits. Most minor ligament or tendon injuries in the neck will subside with proper care, including rest, ice or heat application, and rehabilitation such as chiropractic care and physical therapy.

One common symptom of chronic neck pain is an ache that radiates down the arm, sometimes into the hands and fingers, accompanied by numbness or tingling. Foraminal stenosis, a condition caused by degenerative changes in the neck joints, involves a herniated disc or a pinched nerve. This in turn causes chronic neck pain.

More on Neck Pain

Neck pain is often a result of overuse of the muscles and ligaments in the neck from sports, recreational activities, work or household chores. It is generally characterized by stiffness, muscle tightness or pain with finger pressure on the areas in the neck, shoulders, upper back and/or arms. Neck pain can also be caused by stress alone. With or without an injury, already existing neck pain gets worse with stress.

A neck strain refers to the pain resulting from a spasm of the muscles or inflammation of the joints in the neck. Shooting pains through the arms, hands and fingers may indicate a pinched nerve in the neck. Mild neck strains or sprains can be treated with home remedies and over-the-counter medications. More severe cases may require prescription medication, physical therapy and, in the most severe cases, surgery. If you can take them, anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen (advil) or naproxen (aleve) are the most effective over the counter medication.

The neck houses and protects the top portion of the spine, known as the cervical spine. It is possible to fracture or dislocate bones in the cervical spine through significant impact injury such as a motor vehicle accident or diving head-first into shallow water. Cervical spine fractures can lead to paralysis. This type of injury requires immediate medical attention.