Neck pain refers to any stiffness, aching, or general discomfort that affects the cervical spine. The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae which are separated by intervertebral discs. The seven vertebrae run from the top of the back to the base of the skull. Many people experience neck pain at some point in their lives. At Core Rehab, our providers have years of experience diagnosing and treating neck pain. Using a combination of physical therapy and integrative pain management, our team can get you relief quickly.
Neck pain can have many different causes. Some causes of neck pain include:
Poor posture - If you sleep in an awkward position or sit in front of a computer all day, you're more likely to experience neck pain. Improving your posture and making your office more ergonomic can reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Whiplash - This non-medical term is used to describe the result of a motion or force applied to the neck, mostly seen in motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. The force applied to the neck causes it to exceed its normal range of motion, resulting in soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and ligaments) damage.
Bulged or herniated disc - A bulged or herniated disc occurs when a vertebral disc breaks through its protective outer barrier, placing pressure on the nerves. This can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in an arm or leg.
Arthritis - Arthritis is inflammation in the joints, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine is very common and worsens with age.
Fibromyalgia - Fibromyalgia is caused by overly sensitive nerves. This condition is most commonly seen in women between the ages of 35-55 and can be a cause of neck pain.
Infection - Though rare, a bacterial infection called bacterial meningitis can also cause neck pain. Bacterial meningitis can also include symptoms such as severe headaches, fevers, neck stiffness, nausea, and vomiting. If you suspect you have bacterial meningitis, go to the ER immediately.
To diagnose your neck pain, our providers will do an assessment and ask about your symptoms, including their severity, when they first started, and if certain activities like work or exercise make them worse. At times, diagnostic imaging (X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan) may be ordered to better pinpoint the source of your discomfort. The appropriate treatment will then be recommended. Our physical therapy team will incorporate therapeutic exercises, stretches, manual tissue therapy, and neuromuscular education to your plan. Occasionally, we will also include massage therapy, electrical stimulation, and mechanical traction to your treatment plan if it is recommended by our providers. If less invasive treatment is not helpful in your recovery, multiple other options are available thru the pain management physician. This combined approach ensures the best treatment plan and outcome for you.