The cervical spine is actually a part of the spine that runs from side to side of the neck area. It consists of eight pairs of spinal nerves and seven vertebras that are termed C1 to C8. Herniation and stenosis are the two most common problems people have with cervical spines. Herniated Disk is actually a slipped disk that occurs when all the major parts of a disk are forced by means of a weakened part of the disk. As a result, it places pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord.
A herniated disk is the major cause of many problems in which Radiculopathy is one of them. The disk may move out of place or break open from injury or strain with the herniated disk. Due to this, pressure develops on the spinal nerves that lead to weakness, pain, and numbness. It has been observed that the lumbar area of the spine which is also stated as the lower back area is the most affected area for a slipped disk. Moreover, the thoracic disks are not involved but the cervical disks are affected.
There are various reasons for cervical spine procedures. If the person is suffering from pain in the neck and also, the upper limb is not reacting to conservative treatment, for example, oral medicines and physical therapy, an epidural injection may be done to conquer the problem. Sometimes, the local joints and disks of the spines are damaged and may irritate the nerves that exist on the spinal cord. Due to this situation, the pain that initially arises in the neck comes down to hands, fingers, shoulders, and arms.
Injections are given to some patients for around 4-5 weeks or even a few months to provide instant relief. These lumbar spine procedures may help in managing the pain until the injury that caused the nerve irritation has time to heal. During the procedure, the devices are attached to the patient’s body to help monitor your heart, blood pressure, and oxygen levels. The patient is advised to lie down on the stomach or side on an x-ray table or sit in a chair.
- 1 Causes of Cervical Spine Pain
- 1.1 Common Types of Cervical Spine Pain
Causes of Cervical Spine Pain
If you are having cervical spine pain or neck pain, then you should consult your doctor or qualified health professional. Pain like this, if left untreated, may cause serious health problems. It is critical that you get a proper evaluation and diagnosis. Sometimes cervical spine pain is accompanied by weakness in the arm or leg.
Some patients also experience changes in bladder or bowel control along with cervical spine pain. The common conditions producing this type of pain are degenerative disc disease, herniated disc, pinched nerves, neck strains, and other neck injuries such as whiplash, etc. Infections can also cause neck pain.
If you are suffering from a virus infection then your lymph gland may swell and cause pain. A person suffering from tuberculosis or a bone infection in the spine may also experience neck pain. Another cause may be conditions like fibromyalgia and polymyalgia rheumatic which directly affect the muscles of the neck.
Common Types of Cervical Spine Pain
Pain that Radiates Down the Arm
Neck pain that radiates down the arm to hand and fingers is caused by a cervical herniated disc, or foraminal stenosis, pinching a nerve in the neck. The symptoms which may develop over time are numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.
The treatment is done on the basis of how long the pain lasts, the pain intensity, and after examining the degree to which the cervical nerve and spinal cord are affected. Surgery is not needed if the pain can be cured within 6 to 12 weeks and non-surgical care like medication and physical therapy can aid in the treatment of neck pain that radiates down the arm.
Some pains which occur during or after particular activities (routines we may have been doing for many years) or having the neck in certain positions can be frequently caused by cervical foraminal stenosis. The symptoms include impingement of a nerve root on one side of the spine.
Old age is a major cause of this neck pain due to the weakening of facet joints and discs. We can diagnose the pain by MRI or a CT scan or a myelogram. If the pain is significant enough then surgery is recommended to open up the disc space and give the nerve root more room.
Arm Pain with Lack of Coordination
Neck pain that radiates down the arm can cause difficulty in the movement and coordination of arms and legs. Sometimes occasional intermittent shooting pains may be experienced, and this is commonly caused by cervical spinal stenosis with myelopathy.
The symptoms of decreasing the patient’s motor skills can only be noticed after many years of the progression of the disease. The progression of the disease may stop for years and then slowly starts again so the symptoms may not be easily identified. Surgery is needed to decompress the spinal canal.
Pain that is worse in the morning and at the End of the Day
Some patients may experience chronic cervical spine pain in the early hours of the day and in the evening after work hours. This can be due to arthritic changes in the facet joints. The degeneration in the cartilage of the facet joints causes a lot of fiction and there is the loss of motion that in turn causes the pain. Motion exercises and physical therapy can easily cure this type of pain.
Pain that Persists for More than a Few Months and May Fluctuate
Symptomatic cervical disc degeneration occurs when we do certain activities even though we were suffering from a low level of chronic pain in the neck that sometimes “flares” and gets worse. Depending on the tension caused by the activity the more pain is experienced. Meditation and rest are usually advised by doctors in this case.
Neck Pain from Cervical Spine Conditions
There are several other cervical spine conditions that may cause neck pain, but these are the main causes.