Overview of Cervical PainBy:Jamie Arnold
Cervical spine pain, also referred to as neck pain, is nearly as common as lower back pain for many people in the country. Centered around the neck and upper back, cervical pain can cause a number of issues in the flexibility and range of motion most of us are accustomed to.
For the most part, cervical pain is rooted in larger condition from the upper portion of the spine or the surrounding muscles. These flare up through several symptoms, including:
- Dull aching
- Tingling sensations
- Shooting pain
- Shoulder pain
If you experience any of the above and find it concentrating around the neck area, seek a prognosis from a qualified physician to determine the cause. Cervical pain is never a symptom that works alone; it is usually an indication of an underlying cause. To find out, your physician will also review your previous medical history and any injuries before moving onto imaging tests and considering possible surgical options.
Conditions Causing Cervical Pain
Cervical neck pain is typically an indication of a larger, underlying medical condition affecting the spine or muscles, particularly around the neck. There are many conditions that can lead to cervical pain, including:
- Degenerative disc disease: As the body grows older, the discs between the spinal vertebrae that cushion and absorb shock begin to degrade. This can also occur around the neck, causing cervical neck pain that makes it difficult to move the neck and limit the range of motion.
- Herniated disc: A herniated disc is caused by a rupture in the intervertebral discs that releases the inner shock-absorbing substance, producing pressure on the spinal nerves and causing pain. Herniated discs can occur anywhere on the spine, including the cervical area.
- Swollen neck glands: Swollen neck glands or lymph nodes can sometimes lead to cervical pain. Bacterial infections, mouth sores, and other symptoms can lead to the small glands around your neck swelling or making the throat sore, potentially leading to neck pain.
- Fibromyalgia: This is a syndrome that comprises of several forms of body pain. It is characterized by its long duration and connection to emotional and physical distress, such as fatigue or depression. The neck often becomes subject to fibromyalgia, causing sharp and pointed pain.
Treating Cervical Pain
Like many forms of back pain, cervical pain can usually be treated through a variety of home remedies and non-surgical therapy. These include:
- Heat/ice application
- Physical therapy
- Topical cooling creams
Many of these target inflammation, the initial cause of cervical pain, by cooling the surrounding muscles. If this doesn't work, a further diagnosis should be made by your doctor or physical therapist. Fortunately, most forms of cervical spine pain tend to disappear after a few days or weeks. Serious conditions that can arise from chronic cervical pain could disable movement around the neck or a widespread form of osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease. In order to make sure, seek the consult and review of a professional before embarking on a treatment plan for your cervical neck pain.