What's Making Your Neck Hurt?

Backing up your car has become challenging, as neck pain and stiffness are putting a serious damper on your ability to turn your head. Or perhaps you wake up in the morning with a sore and painful neck, making the start to your day just a little less enjoyable.

However your neck pain is showing up, it’s become a most unwelcome companion, and you want answers. You’re certainly not alone in this — about 80% of people report neck pain at some point in their lives, and 20-50% of people deal with the condition on an annual basis.

If you’re struggling with a painful and stiff neck that’s making day-to-day life difficult, we have you covered. Our experienced and skilled team here at Pain Medicine Consultant counts neck pain among our many areas of expertise.

Here are a few things we want to share with you about this common problem.

Some basic neck anatomy

Before we dive into the potential culprits behind your neck pain, it can be helpful to have a good idea of the anatomy of this area of your body. 

At the core of your neck are seven small vertebrae that connect the base of your skull to your back. Each of these bony structures features two facet joints that enable the wide range of movement that your head and neck enjoy.

Contributing to this effort are six intervertebral discs that provide shock absorption and cushioning in your neck.

While the above structures collectively make up your cervical spine, a host of muscles, ligaments, and tendons also support your neck.

Common causes of neck pain

The reason we started with a quick anatomy refresher is to illustrate that there are many possible roads to neck pain. You might have degenerative changes in your spine, or you can strain or sprain the soft tissues that hold your head up.

To give you a more specific idea, here are some of the more common causes of neck pain:

Making matters a little more complex, some of these issues involve nerve compression, which means your symptoms can leave your neck and radiate down into your shoulder and arm, and even to your hands. 

By symptoms, we’re not just referring to pain, but numbness, tingling, and weakness, as well.

At our practice, we’ve found that we can mostly group neck pain into one of two categories: degenerative and acute. So issues like stenosis, disc disease, and arthritis are due to wear-and-tear and repetitive stress, and they tend to get worse over time. 

Conversely, neck strain and whiplash are more acute and tend to get better.

Helping you find relief from neck pain

No matter how your neck pain arrived, our goal is to provide you with solutions that help you move your head freely again. Some examples of neck treatments include:

It’s difficult to say here which treatment combination is best for your neck pain. To do that, we need to see you for a thorough examination, which will include advanced imaging so we can take a look inside.

If you want us to evaluate your neck pain and get you on the road to relief, please contact us at one of our offices in Pleasant Hill, Corte Madera, or Pleasanton, California, to set up an appointment.

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