Just like other parts of our amazing body, the neck is a simple looking body part that is actually quite complicated.
The neck is made up of many bones and muscles that work together to support sensitve structures, such as nerves and arteries, that pass through the neck to reach other parts of the body.
Nerves can be thought of as wires or cables that leave the spine to send information to the arm causing it to move.
These same cables also allow a way for the skin to send information to the brain so you can know if there is something in your hand.
Pain lasting a significant amount of time may indicate that there is some damage to one of the main support structures of neck.
The most commonly damaged areas in these cases are:
The vertebral bodies
These are the main support bones of the neck and spine.
The intervertebral discs
These are "the cushions" between the main bones.
The facet joints
The joints of the spine that allow you to move your head from side-to-side.
Any of these structures can be damaged during a forceful event such as a car accident or a fall.
Or they may become injured slowly over time from repetitive stress or arthritis.
Injury to one of these structures may also damage or irritate nerves in the area causing weakness or pain in the arm.The first step to reducing pain is to first determine where the pain starts.
This is typically accomplished by your physician listening to how your pain started and recognizing what makes your pain worse. A thorough physical examination of your painful area will also be performed to obtain more information.
X-rays, MRI, and special nerve and muscle testing may also be used to take a better look at your condition.
Once the main problem is identified, then a treatment plan can be started to treat it at its source. Surgery is not always the answer.
Most spine surgeons would not want to operate if there is another way of treating your condition.
The reason for this is that, in most cases, spine surgery now will eventually lead to more spine surgery later. That being said, there are a few situations where spine surgery is strongly recommended...
There are many types of minimally invasive spine injections that we may be able to use to reduce the pain quickly.
Injections are typically used when the pain is so severe that it prevents you from working, performing any type of exercise, or if you cannot progress through the exercise program because of the pain.
Ultimately, it is safe to say that there is no "quick fix" to "cure" spine related pain. It will take a little time, persistence, teamwork and dedication to you health to help reduce or eliminate your pain.