Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common problem affecting an estimated 80% of people at some point during their lifetime. It may simply seem uncomfortable and annoying, but it can also be a sign of an underlying condition. Plus, ignoring neck pain can increase your chances of other health complications and impact your quality of life.

At Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey, Dr. Arien Smith specializes in diagnosing and treating spine and brain disorders in children and adults, including neck pain. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait to seek medical attention for your pain.

Getting to the source of neck pain

Your neck is the delicate portion at the top of your spinal column known as your cervical spine. It contains only seven vertebrae, and these bones are the smallest in your entire spine. Even so, this structure is strong enough to support the weight of your head (10-11 pounds in adults) and flexible enough to turn and bend in multiple directions.

Unfortunately, this complex structure also leaves it vulnerable to conditions associated with injury and degeneration, like:

Poor habits such as chronic poor posture, slouching, or sleeping in awkward positions can also take a toll on your neck. 

Why you shouldn’t ignore neck pain

While neck pain can originate in your cervical spine because of injury, degeneration, and poor habits, it can also occur because of underlying medical conditions, like:

Whether your neck pain starts because of an injury or an underlying condition, your symptoms can spread and impact your quality of life. For example, in addition to the discomfort, neck pain can lead to headaches, difficulty sleeping or turning your head, and weakness, numbness, or tingling in your shoulder and arm.

If you have neck pain on a regular basis, or if you have symptoms for longer than a week that don’t improve, schedule an appointment so Dr. Smith can make a diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan.

Diagnosing and treating neck pain

Dr. Smith is a fellowship-trained and board-certified neurosurgeon with unique subspecialties in orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgery. This advanced training and experience help him get to the bottom of even the most complex neck conditions.

During your appointment, Dr. Smith performs a comprehensive evaluation and discusses your symptoms. He also may request digital imaging, like an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or a nerve study.

He designs your treatment strategy to ease your discomfort and restore function in your neck. In some cases, this could mean medications, steroid injections, or physical therapy. However, for structural problems or symptoms that don’t respond to conservative treatment, Dr. Smith could suggest robotic surgery.

Is neck pain interfering with your daily life? Call one of our offices in East Brunswick or Bayonne, New Jersey, or in Bayside, Queens, or Midtown East, Manhattan, New York. You can also schedule an appointment online anytime.

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