Chronic neck pain is a common problem. It’s often due to degeneration of the cervical vertebrae and inflammation in the associated connective tissue. Board-certified neurosurgeon Arien Smith, MD, FACS, of Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey, has years of experience diagnosing and treating neck pain so you can find relief. Call one of the offices in East Brunswick or Bayonne, New Jersey, or their New York City offices in Bayside, Queens, and Midtown East, Manhattan, or schedule an appointment online today.
The neck is made up of seven small bones, called vertebrae, that support the weight of your head. Between each of these vertebrae are rubbery discs that allow for mobility and shock support.
The vertebrae, discs, and surrounding connective tissue are vulnerable to degeneration or injury. Causes include:
Poor posture and the wear-and-tear of aging also contribute to strain on the cervical spine, causing pain and dysfunction. A one-off accident can cause neck pain, as can repetitive movements that stress the same muscles and connective tissue over and over again.
Dr. Smith is skilled at assessing your symptoms and isolating a likely cause for your neck pain. This informs diagnosis and leads to a quick, effective resolution.
Neck pain rarely remains isolated to just the neck area and movement of your head. You may experience severe headaches or tingling in the shoulders, arms, and fingers.
Muscle weakness and numbness that radiates down the arm may actually be due to problems in the neck.
Dr. Smith considers all the possible causes of your neck pain when making a diagnosis and recommending treatment. He may have you undergo X-rays, an MRI, CT scans, or a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) study.
Medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections can help relieve pain and restore function, but aren’t a cure for structural problems like narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis) or a herniated disc in the cervical spine.
When conservative treatments like physical therapy and injection therapy fail to relieve pain, surgery may be your best course of treatment. Damaged discs in the cervical spine that are beyond repair may require spinal fusion or artificial disc replacement surgery.
An anterior cervical discectomy with fusion involves the removal of all damaged disc material and any bone spurs. Dr. Smith may use a bone graft from your pelvis or a cadaver to fuse the vertebrae and help you find relief.
In an artificial disc replacement, the vertebrae aren’t fused but separated by a prosthetic disc to preserve your range of motion.
Some people qualify for a cervical laminoplasty to decompress the spinal cord. Instead of removing the degenerated vertebrae, Dr. Smith cuts the bone overlying the spinal cord to give the cord more space, reducing pressure on the nerves and relieving your symptoms.
If a vertebra causes your pain, you may need a cervical corpectomy. This procedure involves removing the problem-causing vertebrae to decompress your nerves.
If you suffer from neck pain that interferes with your quality of life, review your treatment options by contacting Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey. Call the nearest office or use the online tool to schedule an appointment today.