Waking up with a stiff neck once in a while is unpleasant enough, but chronic neck pain can be a serious quality of life issue. At Excelsior Pain Management in Austin, Texas, Harvard-trained and double board-certified pain management specialist, Jonathan Chin, MD, can relieve your neck pain using minimally-invasive techniques. Call or use online booking to schedule your appointment today.
Your neck, also known as your cervical spine, is quite flexible and supports the weight of your head. Because your neck moves so much and isn’t as protected as the rest of your spine, it’s especially vulnerable to pain and injury. When you have neck pain, it noticeably restricts your range of motion such that turning your head a certain way may feel difficult or impossible.
Many cases of neck pain result from everyday habits, such as carrying a bag, sleeping in positions that bend your neck in one direction, or frequently looking at your phone, which can pull your head forward and down. Thankfully, this means you can often prevent neck pain by changing your habits. However, neck pain can be more complex and result from underlying conditions, in which case you may need medical treatment to manage it.
Conditions that can contribute to neck pain include:
Osteoarthritis: wears down the cartilage that cushions the bones in your neck
Herniated discs or bone spurs: can irritate the nerves in your neck
Neck pain is often short-term, but if it lasts for more than two or three weeks or is making you feel weak and numb, you should schedule an appointment to see Dr. Chin at Excelsior Pain Management.
Dr. Chin will ask about your medical history, including specific questions about your neck pain such as how long you’ve been experiencing it, the intensity of the pain, and what makes it worse. He’ll also examine your neck for signs of tenderness, numbness, and muscle weakness and test how far you can move your head in each direction. If necessary, he may order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI.
The treatment for neck pain depends on its precise cause. If you have a muscle strain, you may benefit from physical therapy with a focus on correcting your posture and strengthening your neck muscles with exercises. In more serious cases, Dr. Chin may recommend injections or nerve stimulation to reduce inflammation and block pain signals from your nerves, such as:
Dr. Chin injects medication directly into the epidural space, the area around your spinal cord.
This procedure involves Dr. Chin implanting a device that uses mild electrical pulses to control pain signals from your spinal or peripheral nerves.
Electrical current from radio waves heats and destroys a specific area of nerve tissue, decreasing pain signals.
With a nerve block, Dr. Chin injects nerve-numbing medication into the targeted area to decrease or eliminate pain signals.
If you’re experiencing persistent neck pain, call Excelsior Pain Management or schedule an appointment online today.